More patients survive (live) if given a Zinc supplement after medical treatment for advanced head and neck cancer

December 04, 2007

Scientists and physicians from various research institutions and hospitals in Asia split patients with (very dangerous) head and neck cancers into two groups; both groups received radiation treatment for their cancer, but one group was placed on inactive placebo while the second group received a Zinc supplement. Both groups of 50 patients were very similar in the characteristics of their cancer, their medical histories, and treatment details. By the third year there was slightly better 3-year survival in the Zinc group with better local free survival.

However, in the patients with very advanced cancer, stages III-IV, had a much better survival rate when given Zinc after their chemotherapy and radiation which was given concurrently.

Stage III is either locally advanced or it has spread to nearby lymph nodes and stage IV has metastasized to other parts of the body and is usually considered inoperable. The study is published on line ahead of print in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.

Zinc supplementation reduces the risk of developing pneumonia or needing antibiotics in the elderly and protects them from dying

In a year long study conducted in 33 Boston area nursing homes by researchers from Tufts University and Boston University it was found that Zinc protected elderly patients from developing pneumonia. The patients were supplemented with a low potency multiple supplying 50% of the RDA for essential vitamins and minerals that included Zinc and this level provided adequate Zinc for some patients but not others; in other words it brought serum Zinc within a normal range for some but not all of these elderly patients. For comparisons sake some patients received inactive placebo. Those residents that achieved normal Zinc levels suffered with fewer cases of pneumonia and required almost 50% fewer new antibiotic prescriptions, had shorter bouts of pneumonia, and had fewer days with antibiotic use compared to those residents with still low Zinc concentrations. Those who achieved better levels of Zinc were less likely to die. The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 2007.