Zinc (Zn) Supplementation for Type 2 Diabetes: Might be a Prevention of Heart Disease
There's no cure for type 2 diabetes, but there's plenty you can do to manage — or prevent — the condition. Start by eating healthy foods, getting plenty of exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. If diet and exercise aren't enough, managing your blood sugar with medication can help you continue to live a healthy and active life.
The pancreas secretes insulin, but the body is partially or completely unable to use the insulin. This is sometimes referred to as insulin resistance. The body tries to overcome this resistance by secreting more and more insulin. People with insulin resistance develop type 2 diabetes when they do not continue to secrete enough insulin to cope with the higher demands.
If left untreated, it may result in blindness, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and amputations. Only half of the people who have diabetes have been diagnosed, because in the early stages of diabetes there are few symptoms, or the symptoms may be the same as symptoms of other health conditions.You can make a big difference in reducing or preventing the damage that diabetes can do. The earlier you know you have diabetes, the sooner you can make these important lifestyle changes.
About 17 million Americans (6.2%) are believed to have diabetes. About one third of those do not know they have it.About 1 million new cases occur each year, and diabetes is the direct or indirect cause of at least 200,000 deaths each year.The incidence of diabetes is increasing rapidly. This increase is due to many factors, but the most significant are the increasing incidence of obesity and the prevalence of sedentary lifestyles.
In middle-aged people with type 2 diabetes, an inadequate blood level of zinc -- a micronutrient with antioxidant activity -- appears to increase the risk of heart attack and death from heart disease, a Finnish study hints.
"Theoretically our results are in favor of the possibility that zinc supplementation might be useful in preventing (heart-related) complications in patients with type 2 diabetes," the study team writes.
Dr. Minna Soinio from University of Turku and colleagues assessed death due to coronary heart disease and the incidence of heart attack in relation to serum zinc levels in 1,050 people, aged 45 to 64, who had type 2 diabetes for 8 years, on average.
During 7 years of follow up, 156 of the subjects died from heart disease and 254 had a fatal or non-fatal heart attack, the investigators report in the journal Diabetes Care.
According to the researchers, the average blood zinc level was significantly lower in men and women who died from heart disease than in those who did not. Among individuals with the lowest blood zinc levels, 21 percent died from heart disease compared with 13 percent of those individuals who had higher zinc levels.
Rates of fatal and nonfatal heart attack were also higher in subjects with the lowest zinc levels compared to those with higher concentrations (30 percent versus 22 percent).
Studies looking at whether zinc supplementation would benefit people with type 2 diabetes, a group at high risk for heart disease, are warranted, Soinio and colleagues conclude.
Zinc is an essential element, necessary for sustaining all life. It is estimated that 3000 of the hundreds of thousands of proteins in the human body contain zinc prosthetic groups. In addition, there are over a dozen types of cells in the human body that secrete zinc ions, and the roles of these secreted zinc signals in medicine and health are now being actively studied. Intriguingly, brain cells in the mammalian forebrain are one type of cell that secretes zinc, along with its other neuronal messenger substances. Cells in the salivary gland, prostate, immune system and intestine are other types that secrete zinc.
Zinc is a common element in the natural environment. Apart from artificially reduced zinc metal, it exists in the divalent state Zn (II) in the environment and it is an essential element for most organisms. It is well known that zinc deficiency causes numerous effects in humans, including neurosensory changes, growth retardation and delayed wound healing, but most people obtain sufficient amounts of zinc from their diet.
Healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent type 2 diabetes. Even if diabetes runs in your family, diet and exercise can help you prevent the disease. And if you've already been diagnosed with diabetes, the same healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent potentially serious complications.