Recently Diagnosed or Relapsed? Stop Looking For a Miracle Cure, and Use Evidence-Based Therapies To Enhance Your Treatment and Prolong Your Remission

Multiple Myeloma an incurable disease, but I have spent the last 25 years in remission using a blend of conventional oncology and evidence-based nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle therapies from peer-reviewed studies that your oncologist probably hasn't told you about.

Click the orange button to the right to learn more about what you can start doing today.

Multiple Myeloma Therapy- Zinc

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“Iovino, who’s also a blood stem cell transplant physician, had shown in a previous study that zinc could boost immune recovery in patients undergoing stem-cell transplants for the blood cancer multiple myeloma…”

A prognosis for multiple myeloma focuses on how long a newly diagnosed MM (NDMM) patient lives, on average, once he/she is diagnosed with this incurable blood cancer. NDMM patients’ understand that conventional MM oncology focuses on:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation and
  • Chemotherapy

These conventional therapies are what the FDA focuses on. That’s what they do. Fine.

Inevitably, NDMM patients are at a loss for what to do before and after their surgery, radiation and chemo. Everyone agrees that chemo and radiation can hammer their immune system.  Yet their oncologist doesn’t offer therapies to bring their immune system back to normal.

As a long-term mm survivor myself, I would argue that

  • multiple myeloma diet and nutrition
  • mm supplements
  • managing the patient’s autologous stem cell transplant experience

is/are every bit as important to the prognosis of the mm patient as killing the patient’s monoclonal proteins are.

According to the articles linked and excerpted below, zinc is needed to boost immune function (T-cells in particular) for the patient who has undergone chemo, radiation and especially aggressive chemo in the form of an autologous stem cell transplant.

As a long-term mm survivor, I tend to focus on healthy, clean nutrition to bolster my immune system. I admit, however, that I do add nutritional supplements to my regimen when I think my diet isn’t enough.

Numerous studies confirm that curcumin, resveratrol, green tea extract, omega-3 fatty acids and more kill monoclonal proteins. Zine boosts the bodies production of t-cells.

To learn more about both conventional and evidence-based non-conventional therapies for the newly diagnosed mm patient, click the blue bar at the top of the page. Learn about the MM cancer coaching program. I think you’ll be glad that you did.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Hang in there,

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

Burst of accumulated zinc shows how the mineral boosts immune function, suggesting ways to improve health

In mice, zinc helps thymus of the immune system regrow and immune-cell recovery after bone marrow transplant

“Using mice, the team discovered that zinc is needed for the development of disease-fighting immune cells called T cells and prompts regeneration of the thymus, the immune organ that produces T cells…

Thymic regeneration and immune function, and zinc…

Since the scientists knew that low levels of zinc are linked to fewer infection fighting T cells and a shrunken thymus, where T cells develop…

Iovino, who’s also a blood stem cell transplant physician, had shown in a previous study that zinc could boost immune recovery in patients undergoing stem-cell transplants for the blood cancer multiple myeloma…

Zinc is critical for T-cell development and thymic regeneration…

He also found that zinc deficiency slows recovery of T-cell numbers after mice receive immune-destroying treatments akin to those given to patients about to receive a blood stem cell transplant.

Conversely, extra zinc speeds this process, and T cells recover faster than normal…

“What we think is going on is, as you give zinc supplementation, that gets accumulated within the developing T cells. It gets stored and stored and stored, then the damage comes along and the zinc is released…”

Zinc and Cancer

Zinc is an essential mineral important for growth and development, immune function, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, cell division, and wound healing.1

Supplementation with zinc has been studied primarily as a component of a multivitamin for chemoprevention against several different cancer types. Zinc supplementation alone has also been evaluated as a preventative for radiotherapy-induced side effects among patients with head and neck cancer (HNC). This fact sheet is a review of study data about the relationship between zinc supplementation and cancer incidence and outcomes.

Cancer Prevention


The double-blind Supplementation in Vitamins and Mineral Antioxidants (SU.VI.MAX) study evaluated the effect of a multivitamin on health outcomes, including the risk of developing skin cancer or prostate cancer.2

The study randomly assigned 13,017 participants aged 35 to 60 to an antioxidant supplement comprised of zinc (20 mg), selenium, β-carotene, and vitamins C and E, or placebo once daily for a median follow-up of 7.5 years.

The study demonstrated a significant decrease in total cancer incidence and total mortality among men, but not women, with antioxidant supplementation compared with placebo.3 This benefit was, however, no longer evident 5 years after supplement discontinuation.

In the SU.VI.MAX study, the incidence of any type of skin cancer was significantly higher with antioxidant supplementation compared with placebo among women (1.3% vs 0.7%; P = .02), which was driven by a higher number of melanomas (0.3% vs 0.08%; P = .01), whereas the number of nonmelanoma skin cancers was similar between groups (0.8% vs 0.5%; P = .15).2

Among men, there was no significant difference in incidence of any type of skin cancer between the antioxidant and placebo arms.

The SU.VI.MAX study demonstrated a nonsignificant decrease in prostate cancer incidence among men who received the antioxidant supplement compared with placebo (hazard ratio [HR], 0.88; 95% CI, 0.60-1.29), which was particularly evident among men with a normal prostate-specific antigen (PSA) at baseline (HR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.29-0.92).4 The benefit was not observed among men with an elevated PSA at baseline (HR, 1.54; 95% CI, 0.87-2.72). This finding is in contrast with a systematic review and meta-analysis that included 3 different studies, which demonstrated no associated with prostate cancer and zinc supplementation (odds ratio [OR], 1.18; 95% CI, 0.71-1.96).5

Other Cohort Studies

A pooled analysis of the INHANCE consortium, which included 12 case-control studies with 7002 cases of HNC and 8383 controls, evaluated self-reported use of supplements and risk of HNC.6 There was no association between ever using a zinc supplement and the development of HNC after adjustment for multiple potential cofounders including other vitamin use, smoking, age, alcohol use, and fruit/vegetable intake.

An analysis of the prospective NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study included 490,593 subjects aged 50 to 71 with no history of cancer and evaluated the risk of upper gastrointestinal cancers with multivitamin and single supplements with 11 years of follow-up.7 Zinc supplementation was not associated with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, esophageal adenocarcinoma, or gastric cardia adenocarcinoma, but was associated with an increased risk of gastric noncardia adenocarcinoma (HR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.01-1.63).

Clinical Trial

A double-blind trial randomly assigned 411 patients who underwent polypectomy for large bowel adenomas to receive antioxidant supplementation with selenium, zinc (30 mg), and vitamins A, C, and E, or placebo once daily for 5 years.8 Antioxidant supplementation resulted in a significant decrease in adenoma recurrence, with a 15-year cumulative rate of 48.3% compared with 64.5% with placebo (HR, 0.59; P = .009). The risk reduction with antioxidant supplementation was similar for small tubular and advanced adenomas.

Outcomes After Anticancer Treatment

Several studies evaluated the use of zinc monotherapy or in combination with vitamins and outcomes after anticancer treatment and demonstrated improvement in recurrence and survival in some populations.

Megadose vitamins, including vitamins A, C, E, B6, and zinc (90 mg) reduced the recurrence of bladder cancer compared with the same vitamins taken at the recommended daily allowance (RDA) level in a double-blind clinical trial.9 The 5-year estimates of tumor recurrence were 41% and 91% among patients who received the megadose and RDA vitamins, respectively (P = .0014).

The Linxian General Population Trial evaluated the effect of supplementation of 29,584 healthy adults from China for 5.25 years with 4 different combinations: retinol and zinc; riboflavin and niacin; vitamin C and molybdenum; β-carotene, vitamin E, and selenium. There was no significant difference in lung cancer–related death rates during the trial and 10 years after the study ended.10

Supplementation with the retinol and zinc combination, however, significantly reduced liver cancer mortality among patients aged younger than 55 (HR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.34-1.00), but not among older patients.11

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial demonstrated that zinc supplementation trended toward an improvement in 3-year local-free survival (LFS) compared with placebo (P = .092), particularly among patients with stage III to IV disease (P = .003), but there was no effect on 3-year overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS), or metastases-free survival.12

A cohort of patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma from this study, however, demonstrated significantly prolonged 5-year OS (P = .044), LFS (P =. 007), and DFS rates (P = .033) with zinc supplementation compared with placebo.13

Prevention of Chemotherapy-induced Toxicities


Several randomized, controlled trials demonstrated reduced severity of mucositis among patients with HNC who received zinc supplementation compared with placebo.

A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 30 patients demonstrated reduced severity, longer time to development, and earlier improvement of mucositis with zinc sulfate compared with placebo.14 Another trial also found reduced severity of mucositis with zinc supplementation compared with placebo among patients with HNC who underwent radiotherapy, but not among those with nasopharyngeal carcinoma.15,16

A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 40 patients with HNC who received radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy demonstrated reduced prevalence (40% vs 70.5%, respectively; P < .0001), severity (P = .0001), and lower Oral Mucositis Assessment Scale (OMAS; P = .0001) with zinc supplementation (30 mg) compared with placebo starting 10 days before treatment and for 2 weeks after treatment completion.17

Two other randomized, placebo-controlled studies, however, found no significant difference in incidence or severity of mucositis with zinc supplementation.18,19


A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 169 patients with HNC found no difference in radiotherapy-induced taste alterations (dysgeusia) among patients who received zinc or placebo supplementation.20,21

Another randomized, placebo-controlled study, however, demonstrated mitigated worsening and quicker recovery of taste acuity with zinc sulfate compared with placebo among patients receiving radiotherapy.22


Though the data remain mixed, there is no strong evidence for the risk reduction of several different types of cancer with zinc supplementation as part of a multivitamin.

Several studies demonstrated improved outcomes in terms of radiotherapy-induced mucositis or taste alteration with zinc sulfate supplementation among patients with HNC, though these findings are inconsistent.

Overall, the evidence for the benefits of zinc to prevent cancer or mitigate anticancer treatment toxicity is mixed, though zinc supplementation is well-tolerated and does not appear to cause harm.

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