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LMU 37 – Optimizing Zinc Status to Counter Cancer Risk: Insights from Recent Research


LMU 37 – Optimizing Zinc Status to Counter Cancer Risk: Insights from Recent Research

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (December 2016)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (January 14, 2017)


The focal point of this research update revolves around a published paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, dating back to December 2016. The study illuminates the intricate relationship between nutritional status, gene mutations, and cancer risk. This exploration sheds light on the potential of small nutritional adjustments in shaping our vulnerability to cancer and the aging process.

Debunking Genetic Predisposition: A Paradigm Shift

Contrary to conventional wisdom, which often attributes cancer risk to hereditary factors, research underscores that a mere 15-20% of cancer cases are attributed to genetic inheritance. The lion’s share of cancers arises from gene mutations that transpire during everyday life.

Unveiling the Arsenal Against Gene Mutations

The emerging narrative underscores the substantial influence we wield in curtailing gene mutations, thereby significantly mitigating cancer risk. Employing a multi-faceted approach, elucidated across various sections of the Meschino Wellness Platform, offers a potent shield against gene mutations that underlie cancer’s inception.

Zinc: A Keystone in Gene Mutation Prevention

Amidst the array of nutritional players, zinc emerges as a pivotal component in forestalling DNA strand fractures that lay the groundwork for gene mutations culminating in cancer. Zinc’s role extends beyond fracture prevention; it augments DNA damage repair enzymes, bolsters cellular antioxidant defences, and mitigates inflammation. This confluence intertwines with cancer prevention, decelerated cellular aging, and inflammation reduction. Given its involvement in nearly 3,000 proteins, zinc orchestrates the regulation of myriad cellular functions.

Addressing Zinc Deficiency: A Crucial Directive

Disturbingly, U.S. studies unveil a concerning statistic – approximately 12% of the population, and potentially up to 40% of the elderly demographic, confront the risk of zinc deficiency. This predicament results from insufficient dietary zinc intake coupled with diminished nutrient absorption inherent to the aging process.

Decoding Research Insights: A Glimpse into the Study

The bedrock of this discourse lies in a randomized, controlled study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study engaged 18 male participants who consumed a diet supplying 6 mg of zinc daily for two weeks. Subsequently, a dietary regimen infusing 10 mg of zinc daily was adopted for the ensuing four weeks. This nominal 4 mg escalation in zinc consumption yielded striking disparities. The transition to the 10 mg phase induced a marked reduction in DNA strand fractures within blood leukocytes, a surge in DNA repair mechanisms, elevated antioxidant defences, and an invigorated immune response. These pivotal markers collectively culminate in a reduced cancer risk profile and a potential defence mechanism against virulent infections.

Insights and Implications: An Interpretive Outlook

This study unveils a significant dimension – marginal nutrient deficiencies pervading the populace. Zinc stands as a beacon, but a constellation of nutrients, including iron, vitamin D, folic acid, calcium, vitamin A, magnesium, and vitamin B12, frequently grapple with suboptimal intakes. This underscores the strategic role of well-designed multiple vitamin and mineral supplements in complementing a robust dietary foundation. Most multiple vitamins harbor 12-15 mg of zinc, a commendable dosage. Overzealous supplementation beyond these parameters should be undertaken only under medical guidance, as excessive zinc intake can precipitate toxicity and associated immune impairment.

Concluding Perspectives: Anchoring Nutrition to Cancer Prevention

In the realm of cancer prevention, this research reverberates the significance of nutrition’s underpinning role. By attaining a nuanced comprehension of gene mutations’ sway and zinc’s counteractive prowess, we gain a powerful ally in our endeavors to thwart cancer and enhance holistic wellness.


  1. Zyba S, Shenvi S, Killillea DW, Holland TC, Kim E et al. A moderate increase in dietary zinc reduces DNA strand breaks in leukocytes and alters plasma proteins without changing plasma zinc concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr. Dec. 21, 2016:


Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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