How does ZINC relate to diabetes?

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By Pavan Kaushik 

Diabetes might be one of the most talked about diseases across the world and especially in India, but awareness about the same can well be estimated by the fact that India today has more people with type-2 diabetes. The WHO also estimates that 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle-income countries and projects that such deaths will double between 2016 and 2030.

HOW DOES ZINC RELATE TO DIABETES? Interestingly, ZINC has long been an ingredient used in older insulins, such as Regular, NPH, and Lente. ZINC is also necessary for the formation of insulin in the pancreas’s beta cells. For these reasons, researchers have looked at the role of zinc supplementation in the prevention and treatment of Type 2 diabetes— but unfortunately, without success.

However, new light has been shed on the role of ZINC in diabetes. In this month’s issue of Diabetes Care, Finnish researchers followed 1,050 adults with Type 2 diabetes for seven years. During that time, 156 participants died from heart disease and 254 had fatal or nonfatal heart attacks. Blood ZINC levels were lower in people who died from heart disease compared to those who survived; also, ZINC levels were lower in those who had heart attacks. The authors of this study speculate that, possibly because ZINC has antioxidant properties, supplementation may be useful in warding off heart disease in people with Type 2 diabetes.

This is an another example of usages of ZINC.

(Author is the Head Corporate Communications at Hindustan Zinc)

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