Harvard Men's Health Watch

Zinc and prostate cancer

The dietary supplement business is a multibillion-dollar industry. You can buy supplements in virtually every supermarket and drugstore in America, to say nothing of the growing number of health food stores and "body shops" that specialize in them. The array is bewildering, and dramatic health claims and testimonials add to the confusion — and the temptation. But despite their variety, supplements have two things in common: Few have been studied scientifically, and none is regulated by the FDA.

A large number of supplements are sold to protect the prostate and promote its healthy function. Many contain zinc. About 15% of all Americans take supplements that contain zinc — and many men who take them are getting much more zinc than recommended.

Is zinc good for your prostate? Doctors don't know, but two studies provide information on the question.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »