2 Must-Have Minerals for Fighting Breast Cancer

Most of the women are aware that genetic, environmental factors and obesity are common risk factors for Breast Cancer. Oncologists use these risk factors to scare women into accepting some expensive treatment. But very few are aware of the actual risk factors for breast cancer. If you want to prevent yourself from breast cancer or recurrence of it, you should educate yourself on the actual risk factors. In reality, the actual risk factors are imbalances in your body which you can balance before it is too late. These imbalances are due to deficiency of two minerals that are found to fight against breast cancer: zinc and selenium.

1. Zinc: Zinc plays a significant role in protein synthesis, regulating cell production and maintaining overall health of our body. Many studies have been conducted to understand the role of zinc in the body.

Zinc levels and breast cancer

According to a few researchers at Pennsylvania State University, breast glands have an exceptional demand for zinc, which is required to produce milk during lactation. So, when a nursing mother has a deficiency of zinc, it can transfer this deficiency to the infant which may impair the child’s normal growth and development. Furthermore, this deficiency of zinc can cause breast cancer. This deficiency isn't just triggering breast cancer, but it is also responsible for the growth and advancement of this disease. This deficiency of zinc also has a severe effect on the cellular functioning in the breast.

Zinc helps to reduce cancer cell growth

Research indicates that a deficiency of zinc may cause breast cancer. In a study, researchers found that individual with BRCA1 gene and high levels of zinc had reduced the risk of developing breast cancer. However, the study also revealed that individuals with low levels of zinc had an increase risk of developing this disease.

Zinc Finger Proteins act as therapeutic agents for breast

In France, researchers have found that estrogen receptor (ER) plays a protective role against breast cancer and also indicates a favourable prognosis. However, the exact mechanisms of estrogen receptor are yet to be investigated. Researchers have thrown light on the activities of ER alpha. ER is found to inhibit the invasion of breast cancer through its first zinc finger. A zinc finger is a cluster of proteins that form around a zinc ion that can attach to DNA and affect gene regulation. Thus, sufficient zinc is essential in breast tissue for the preparation of zinc finger.

Zinc and Estrogen levels

In another study, it was found that women with breast cancer have higher levels of boron, copper and calcium and lower levels of zinc. Zinc is responsible for the manufacturing and utilisation of progesterone. But due to low levels of zinc a woman’s body becomes over-sensitive towards estrogen and less responsive towards the progesterone. To create the balance between these hormones, one needs to raise the zinc levels and lower the copper, boron and calcium levels. This can help a woman in bringing mineral balance to her body which in turn will restore the hormonal balance. Thus, zinc helps to maintain hormonal balance in the body which is important for breast and overall health of the body.

The primary gene – p53 protects women from breast cancer. However, when a woman is suffering from breast cancer, this gene is thought to be mutated or altered. This happens when this gene lacks zinc, due to which it becomes suppressed and inactivated. Dysfunction of this primary gene leads to the development of breast cancer. Thus, zinc deficiency is a significant risk factor for breast cancer.

Sources of Zinc & Daily Requirement

To maintain a balanced level of this mineral in your body, you need to increase the intake of whole grains, poultry, nuts, meat, sunflower, Chia seeds, sprouted pumpkin seeds, oats, peanu,ts hemp and milk products which are an excellent source of zinc. The daily intake of zinc recommended by doctors is between 30 and 40mg per day. Excess intake of zinc can also be a problem if the intake is more than 100mg/day. The best way to keep the zinc levels in balance is by acquiring zinc complexes which you can get from zinc citrate or zinc gluconate.

2. Selenium: Selenium is another important mineral which is responsible for the production of proteins called antioxidant enzymes. They play a protective role against breast cancer and also other types of cancer.

Selenium levels and Breast Cancer

Research was conducted to understand the relationship between selenium and breast cancer. This research included 64 women with breast cancer and 127 matched controls. They were interviewed to get information regarding their dietary habits, medical history and general demographic data. Moreover, to determine the levels of Selenium in their body, they were analysed from hair to toenails. It was found that selenium intake in women with breast cancer was lower than the controls. It was also found that the traces of selenium in hair did not differ among the women with breast cancer and controls. But the selenium was significantly higher in the toenails of controls than women with breast cancer. Thus, this research confirmed that selenium reduces the risk of breast cancer. In a research, it was observed that low level of selenium in women with breast cancer was merely a consequence of cancer rather than a cause of breast cancer.

Selenium is the most powerful antioxidant produced by the body.

As an antioxidant, it plays a very important role in preventing the body from the harmful influences of free radicals. It also prevents the abnormal growth of tumours by boosting the immune cell activity and curbing the growth of new blood vessels.

Relation of Selenium, Chemotherapy & Breast Cancer

Research indicated that selenium enhances the chemotherapeutic effect. Selenium-methyl L-selenocysteine is a form of selenium which interacts with chemotherapy drugs and shows promising effects. For instance, it is found to enhance the cancer drug's – tamoxifen – ability to curb the growth of breast cancer tumors. This study was first conducted on mice who were implanted with such type of cancer. This study encouraged the development of this form of selenium specifically for breast cancer chemoprevention.

Sources of Selenium & Dairy Requirements

Selenium is found in various plant sources, fruits, meat, cereals, dairy products, seafood, grains and Brazil nuts. If you have a deficiency of this mineral, then include these in your routine diet and prevent yourself from breast cancer. The recommended daily intake of selenium for an adult is 50 to 200mg whereas for children it is 20 to 120mg.

Thus, in our body, innumerable cells undergo cancerous transformations for a thousand times in a day, and there is no specific strategy to stop this. Therefore, our goal should be to boost your body’s own defense mechanism by including these trace minerals in your diet and moving one step ahead in helping to keep yourself cancer-free.


  1. Breast Cancer
  2. American Cancer Society

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