Research has indicated that zinc, a powerful trace element responsible for more than 300 enzyme functions, can counteract the negative effects of diabetes mellitus. According to study results, zinc improves glycemic control in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Zinc naturally encourages insulin secretion and may help improve blood glucose levels. But zinc may play a role for additionally, lesser known reasons as well.
“Zinc supplementation of animals and humans has been shown to ameliorate glycemic control in type 1 and 2 diabetes, the two major forms of diabetes mellitus … Zinc seems to exert insulin-like effects by supporting the signal transduction of insulin and by reducing the production of cytokines, which lead to beta-cell death during the inflammatory process in the pancreas in the course of the disease.”
The pancreas is an endocrine gland responsible for producing numerous hormones, including insulin. The insulin is secreted by beta cells, which must always have high concentrations of zinc to work optimally. If the cells are unable to store zinc due to beta cell issues and polymorphisms, however, type 2 diabetes may be the result.
“…Furthermore, zinc might play a role in the development of diabetes, since genetic polymorphisms in the gene of zinc transporter 8 and in metallothionein (MT)-encoding genes could be demonstrated to be associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The fact that antibodies against this zinc transporter have been detected in type 1 diabetic patients offers new diagnostic possibilities.”
Over 25 million people in the United States are stricken with diabetes. This is a staggering 8.3% of the population. In addition to hampering everyday life, diabetes is capable of causing a host of serious health complications including kidney failure, blindness and lower-limb amputations. As a major cause of stroke and heart disease, diabetes ranks number 7 in the list of top killers in the United States. While research continues, natural remedies are available, many of which can cure or prevent diabetes.
Zinc Health Benefits
In addition to assisting with diabetes, zinc is extremely important for tissue development, skin repair and bone health. As we age, we need more and more zinc in order to keep the body healthy. Zinc helps maintain a healthy immune system improves brain function, prevents hair loss, improves impotence and prevents loss of taste and smell.
Foods Rich in Zinc
It is recommend that everyone ingest plenty of zinc, whether diabetic or not. Although you can take a high-quality zinc supplement, there are a number of foods that contain zinc. These foods include:
- Wheat germ
- Cocoa powder
- Sunflower seeds
- Pine nuts