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Zinc, selenium and red clover help prevent prostate cancer

New studies show that zinc, selenium with vitamin E and red clover subdue cancer-cell growth or reduce risk overall.

Doctors in a zinc study explained that healthy prostate tissue has 10 times more zinc than other body soft tissues, and that prostate cancer cells have low zinc levels and can’t store the mineral. Researchers followed over 35,000 men, aged 50 to 76, for four years and found that those who consumed at least 15 mg of zinc per day from supplements and/or diet were much less likely to develop advanced prostate cancer compared to men who got less zinc.

In a selenium and vitamin E study, scientists cited earlier research showing that selenium curbs abnormal, potentially cancerous cells and wanted to find out how. The doctors gave 39 men with prostate cancer 200 mcg of selenium per day, 400 IU of vitamin E per day, these two nutrients together or a placebo for about one month before scheduled surgery to remove the prostate gland. Examining prostate tissue samples after surgery from men who took selenium and vitamin E together, doctors found healthier, more normal activity in the gene that contains the code for a tumor-suppressing protein compared to that gene in the tissue of other men.

In a lab study of red clover, researchers explained that in prostate cancer, male sex hormones such as testosterone can aggravate the disease. In a prostate cancer cell culture, doctors artificially raised levels of testosterone and prostate-specific antigen—a marker for prostate cancer—to recreate the negative cell environment that encourages the cancer to grow. Scientists then exposed the cells to red clover extract and saw these negative effects reverse. Researchers concluded, “Something is happening in the prostate tissue microenvironment that is illustrating a potential cancer prevention effect from this supplement [red clover].”

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