In the right amounts, zinc is a nutritionally essential mineral that is vital for our immune systems. Zinc deficiency may the cause of impaired growth and development in children, pregnancy complications, age-related macular degeneration, and increased susceptibility to infections.
Though Zinc is readily available in supplement form in most pharmacies and supermarkets, it is commonly found in foods such as red meat, eggs, and seafood. It can also be found to a lesser extent in whole grains, nuts and legumes.
When the body’s delivery of zinc to the cells is out of whack it could lead to complications. As it turns out, controlling the delivery of zinc to cells might improve treatment for some types of aggressive breast cancer.
Here is where it gets a little scientific, so get ready. Researchers recently identified the switch in the body that releases zinc into cells. It may not sound all that exciting, but this new information about an old “go-to” could have important implications for people who are battling a number of diseases.
Our bodies actually regulate their own zinc levels through transporters which move the zinc both in and out of our cells. Women who have breast cancer that is resistant to the popular drug tamoxifen tend to have higher levels of intracellular zinc. Additionally, women with aggressive breast cancers tend to have higher than average levels of CK2, the protein “switch” which opens the transporter allowing the zinc to flow to the cells.
So, in theory, if we can stop the switch and slow the transport of zinc, then we might be able to stop the spread of cancer and have better results with drugs such as tamoxifen. This means that drugs that block the release of zinc could also possibly help to block cancer development too.
Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
So, what can you do with this information now? If you are concerned at all about your zinc intake, you could consider speaking with your healthcare practitioner with any questions, especially if you have a personal or family history of breast cancer.