A new study suggests that men who take high levels of supplemental zinc are at increased risk of prostate cancer.
In a study it was observed that men who took more than 100 mg of zinc supplements in a day (100 mg of zinc is eight times the recommended amount) or have been using zinc supplements for more than 10 years are more prone to develop prostate cancer. There was no increased risk in men who took up to 100 mg of zinc per day. But men taking more than this amount were found to be 2.29 times at greater risk of developing prostate cancer. Also, the longer zinc was used and the more it was taken, the greater was the risk of advanced prostate cancer.
Researchers believe that zinc probably increases prostate cancer risk as it is known to increase blood levels of insulin like growth factor and testosterone (a male sex hormone), both of which are related to prostate cancer.
Men who took in the most zinc also used significantly more calcium, vitamin E, iron and folate. It is also possible that one of these nutrients played a role in the findings. Although this type of study cannot prove a cause and effect relationship, it is enough to question such high intakes of zinc. Hence, it is usually advisable that men should avoid taking any supplements having zinc content more than the recommended dietary amounts. Always check with your doctor before starting any such supplement.