What is the link between zinc and type 2 diabetes?

Zinc is an important nutrient that can support the immune system and may reduce the risk of certain diseases. Some evidence suggests that zinc may be beneficial in managing type 2 diabetes. Other research points to a potential link between zinc deficiency and diabetes. However, more research is needed.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting more than 37 million American people. It occurs when a person does not respond normally to insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar.

Zinc is a nutrient found naturally in many foods, such as beans, meat, and fish. People can also take it as a dietary supplement. It helps support a number of functions in the body, most notably by helping the immune system, as it has antioxidant properties. Although zinc deficiencies are rare in the United States, they can occur if a person’s diet lacks adequate nutrition.

Due to the possible health benefits of zinc, some evidence suggests that it might have a protective effect against diabetes and improve prognosis for people living with the condition.

In this article, we discuss the possible connection between diabetes and zinc, including whether zinc can help control type 2 diabetes.

More research is needed to understand the association between zinc and type 2 diabetes. Some evidence suggests that there may be a link between zinc deficiencies and the development of diabetes. Research also suggests that zinc supplementation helps reduce risk factors for developing diabetes and helps manage the condition.

A study 2020 found that people with diabetes are more likely to have a zinc deficiency than those without the condition. The researchers also suggest that people with poor glycemic control also had lower zinc levels. Similarly, a studio 2021 also states that low zinc levels are a good indicator of problems with glycemic control in older adults with type 2 diabetes.

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As such, this may suggest that zinc supplementation may help with diabetes control as adjunctive therapy. A studio 2022 indicates that zinc may help due to its antioxidant properties. related, a 2019 meta-analysis found that zinc supplementation can improve glycemic control, leading the authors to conclude that zinc supplementation could prevent and help control diabetes.

Another 2019 meta-analysis also suggests that a moderately high intake of dietary zinc may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 13%. A 2020 systematic review and meta-analysis indicates that prolonged intake of low doses of zinc through supplements and foods may reduce risk factors for the condition.

Therefore, zinc could benefit diabetes control. However, lower zinc levels may coincide with non-nutritious eating habits that may contribute to the development of the condition. As such, more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between diabetes and zinc.

Although zinc is present in many foods, some research estimates that approximately 17% of people worldwide have a zinc deficiency. Generally, most people can consume an adequate amount of zinc from dietary sources. such foods can include:

  • Red meat
  • poultry
  • shellfish, such as oysters, crab, and lobster
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • Beans
  • walnuts
  • whole grains
  • dairy products

Zinc is also available in supplements that people can take in addition to dietary sources to ensure sufficient intake of the nutrient. However, before taking supplements, it may be advisable to seek the advice of a doctor.

It is important that people get an accurate impression of their dietary needs for zinc. Although zinc is a very important dietary element, consuming too much can lead to zinc toxicity, which can cause problems. A 2022 paper lists the following as possible side effects of excessive zinc intake:

  • gastric irritation
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • gastric bleeding
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In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) point out that a regular excessive intake of 150–450 milligrams a day of zinc can lead to:

  • low copper levels
  • changes in iron function
  • reduced immune function
  • reduced levels of “good” high-density lipoprotein cholesterol
  • urogenital problems

In addition to its possible beneficial effects on diabetes, evidence indicates that zinc may have many other health benefits.

Evidence indicates that the body uses zinc for many different purposes, included wound healing, cell growth and cell division. Sufficient levels of zinc are necessary for a properly functioning immune system and could help prevent serious complications of diseases such as pneumonia, malaria and diarrhoea. In addition, it is also essential for growth and development.

In some cases, it is possible for a person to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by implementing certain lifestyle changes. This may include regular exercise and maintaining a moderate weight.

Similarly, a studio 2020 notes that incorporating healthy lifestyle choices can also help control type 2 diabetes or potentially put it into remission. In addition to weight control and regular physical activity, she recommends eating a nutritious diet, quitting smoking if appropriate, and managing stress.

In some cases, a person may also require medicines to help them manage the condition. A doctor might recommend appropriate medications to help people control their blood sugar levels and delay or prevent the harmful effects of diabetes.

Click here to learn more about managing type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that can significantly affect an individual’s health. Some research suggests that adequate levels of zinc might help prevent the development of diabetes and make the condition easier to control. However, more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between zinc and diabetes.

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While more research is still needed, evidence indicates that incorporating healthy lifestyle changes, which may include a nutritious diet with sufficient zinc, may help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and help control sugar in the blood.