alternative and complementary medicine new medical research on zinc and diabetes
  Zinc and Diabetes
From   Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D., Ph.D.

Zinc and Diabetes

Diabetics should probably take zinc supplements! Zinc plays a key role in the regulation of insulin production by pancreatic tissues and glucose utilization by muscles and fat cells.1 The abilities to synthesize and secrete insulin and use glucose are impaired in the zinc deficient state.2,3 Intestinal zinc absorption rates and plasma zinc levels in diabetic patients are reduced.4,5,6,7 Zinc is involved in the regulation of insulin receptor-initiated signal transduction mechanisms3 and insulin receptor synthesis.8

The prostate gland contains the highest amount of zinc of all the organs,9,10,11,12 as well as the highest amounts of substances that stimulate the intestinal absorption of zinc (prostaglandins,13,14 arachidonic acid,15,16 L-histidine,17 and testosterone.18

Prostate extract is a more effective stimulator of intestinal zinc absorption than arachidonic acid or zinc alone.18 Dietary feeding of excess zinc did not improve the clinical manifestations of diabetic rats, but feeding rabbit prostate extract did.18 Rats' diets were already adequate for zinc.

Among humans with type II diabetes, aged 60 to 75 years, who were given Pro-Z (prostate powder and zinc) for three months, Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) values decreased significantly compared to pre-treatment baselines.19; For those patients whose fasting blood glucose decreased, the drop was significant.19 Nevertheless, a small subset of patients increased their fasting blood glucose on Pro-Z.18; Plasma zinc increased in the Pro-Z treated group without changing calcium and magnesium concentrations.18 Urinary glucose concentrations were significantly lower in the treated patients.

Blood LDH increased 24% among treated patients versus 8% in controls.18 ALT levels increased 22% in placebo-treated patients.18 Both changes were significant.18 Blood cholesterol and LDL levels decreased with marginal significance in treated patients.18 The cholesterol to HDL ratio significantly increased in the placebo group.18 No other changes were seen in liver, kidney, and lipid blood chemistries.

  1. Song MK, Rosenthal MJ, Naliboff BD, Phanumas L, Kang KW. Effects of boirne prostate powder on zinc, glucose and insulin metabolism in old patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Metabolism 1998; 47(1):39-43.

  2. Huber AM, Gershoff SN. Effect of zinc deficiency in rats on insulin release from the pancreas. J Nutn 1973; 103:1739-1744.

  3. Ezaki O. 11b group metal ions (Zn++, Cd++, Hg++) stimulate glucose transporter activity by post-insulin receptor kinase mechanism in rat adipocytes. J Biol. Chem 1989; 264:16118-16122.

  4. Rosner F, Goefien PC. Erythrocyte and plasma zinc and magnesium levels in health and disease. J Lab Clin Med 1968; 72:213-219.

  5. Kinlaw WB, Levine AS, Morley JE. Abnormal zinc metabolism in type III diabetes mellitus. Am J Med 1983; 75:273-277.

  6. K(lrich S, Huid-Jacobsen K, Vaag A. 65Zn absorption in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus assessed by whole body counting technique. Clin Chim Acta 1990; 189:13-18.

  7. Chooi MK, Todd JK, Boyd ND. Influence of age and sex on plasma zinc levels in normal and diabetic individuals. Nutr Metab 1976; 20:135-142.

  8. Chen H, Walker GE, Taylor SI. Proximal enchancer of the human insulin receptor gene binds the transcription factor SP1. Diabetes 1994; 43:884-886.

  9. Awer S. Zinc and zinc ligands in human seminal plasma. III. The principal low molecular weight zinc ligand in prostatic secretion and seminal plasma. Acter Physiol Sand 1982; 116:67-73.

  10. Pekary AE, Sharp B, Briggs J. High concentrations of p-Glu-His-Pr-Ntlz (thyrotropin-releasing hormone) occur in rat prostate. Reptides 1982; 4:915-919.

  11. Millar MJ, Elcoate PV, Mawson CA. Sex hormone control of the zinc content of the prostate. Can J Biochem Physiol 1957; 35:865-869.

  12. Song MK, Adham NF. The role of prostaglandin E2 in zinc absorption in the rat. Am J Physiol 1978; 234:E99-E105.

  13. Song MK, Adham NF. Evidence for an important role of p4rostaglandin E2 and F2 in the regulation of zinc transport. J Nutre 1979; 109:2151-2159.

  14. Song MK, Mooradian AD. Intestinal zinc transport influence of streptozotocin-induced diabetes, insulin, and arachidonic acid. Life Sci 1988; 109:2151-2159.

  15. Song MK, Littner MR, Adham NF. Effect of oral administration of arachidonic acid on prostaglandin and zinc metabolism in plasma and small intestine of the rat. Prostaglandins Leukot Med 1984; 17:159-166.

  16. Song MK, Lee DBN, Adhan NF. Influence of prostaglandins on unidirectional zinc flexes across the small intestine of the rat. Br J Natn 1988; 59:417-428.

  17. Song MK, Kim YY, Heng MCY. Prostaglandin interacts with steroid sex hormones in the regulation of intestinal zinc transport. Comp Biochem Physiol 1992; 101A:477-481.

  18. Song MK, Rosenthal MJ, Kang KW. Animal prostate extract ameliorates diabetic symptoms by stimulating intestinal zinc absorption in the rat. Diabetes Res 1996; 31:157-170.

  19. Song MK, Rosenthal MJ, Naliboff BD, Phanumas L, Kang KW. Effects of bovine prostate power on zinc, glucose and insulin metabolism in old patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Metabolism 1998; 47(1):39-43.

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