Zinc deficiency and diabetes has received a lot of attention in the recent years. Two common questions people ask me are: Can Zinc deficiency contribute to the development of diabetes? Can Zinc supplementation help diabetics?
Zinc Deficiency And Diabetes
Several animal studies have shown Zinc deficiency to be associated with high risk of Type 2 as well as Type 1 diabetes, but there are very few human studies. In one such study (1), researchers investigated the relationship between dietary intake of Zinc, and diabetes and coronary artery disease in 1769 rural individuals and 1806 urban individuals in India. The authors concluded that low dietary zinc was associated with an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and coronary artery disease in urban subjects only.
In another study (2), “Nurses’ Health Study,” in which 82,297 women in the USA were followed for 24 years, researchers concluded that higher Zinc intake may be associated with a slightly lower risk of Type 2 diabetes in women.
Can Zinc Supplementation Help Type 2 Diabetes?
In an animal study (3), researchers gave Zinc orally to Type 2 diabetic mice for 4 weeks. They observed a significant improvement in blood glucose level as well as a reduction in insulin resistance. In addition, Zinc treatment caused weight loss and a decrease in high blood pressure (hypertension) in these mice. In another study (4), Zinc supplementation was shown to alleviate diabetic peripheral neuropathy in diabetic rats.
How about human studies? In one study (5), authors analyzed all of the published studies in humans for the effects of Zinc supplementation on diabetes and cholesterol. Compared to a placebo, Zinc supplementation caused a mean drop of 18.13 mg/dl in fasting blood glucose, 34.87 mg/dl in 2-hour post-meal blood glucose, and a 0.54% reduction in HbA1c (Hemoglobin A1C). In addition, Zinc supplementation caused a mean decrease of 11.19 mg/dl in LDL cholesterol. Studies also showed a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressures after Zinc supplementation.
To learn more about Vitamins and Herbs that can help Type 2 Diabetes, refer to my book, “Reverse Your Type 2 Diabetes Scientifically.”
1.Singh RB1, Niaz MA, Rastogi SS, Bajaj S, Gaoli Z, Shoumin Z. Current zinc intake and risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease and factors associated with insulin resistance in rural and urban populations of North India. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Dec;17(6):564-70.
2. Sun Q1, van Dam RM, Willett WC, Hu FB. Prospective study of zinc intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Diabetes Care. 2009 Apr;32(4):629-34
3. Adachi Y1, Yoshida J, Kodera Y, Kiss T, Jakusch T, Enyedy EA, Yoshikawa Y, Sakurai H. Oral administration of a zinc complex improves type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndromes. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Dec 8;351(1):165-70.
4. Liu F1, Ma F, Kong G, Wu K, Deng Z, Wang H. Zinc supplementation alleviates diabetic peripheral neuropathy by inhibiting oxidative stress and upregulating metallothionein in peripheral nerves of diabetic rats. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2014 May;158(2):211-8.
5. Jayawardena R1, Ranasinghe P, Galappatthy P, Malkanthi R, Constantine G, Katulanda P. Effects of zinc supplementation on diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2012 Apr 19;4(1):13. doi: 10.1186/1758-5996-4-13.