When you think of treatments for Type 2 diabetes, very few ever consider something like zinc. Yet, this little known supplement can offer substantial benefits for diabetics doing what they need most … balancing out blood sugar levels.
With approximately 27 million Americans having been diagnosed with diabetes, and another 1.7 million new cases being recorded every year, there is a great demand for something to help relieve the symptoms of this dreaded disease. Zinc has emerged as a great way to combat it.
Zinc is not only one of the ingredients in your multi-vitamin but it, alone, is responsible for conducting over 300 enzyme functions throughout the body. This is important since many of these enzyme functions are part of blood sugar maintenance.
To get the full effect of what zinc can do, you have to look at the pancreas. This organ stores massive quantities of zinc. The mineral is necessary for the life of the beta cells which secrete insulin. When something comes along to change the balance of these cells, such as Type 2 diabetes, then these beta cells begin to change. As they change, they are no longer able to easily store zinc, which translates into insulin problems.
It appears zinc is important for preventing insulin resistance, as a low zinc level seems to be connected with increased insulin resistance. Lower levels may affect the ability of the islet cells of the pancreas to produce and secrete insulin in Type 2 diabetes. Zinc appears to have a protective effect against the destruction of the beta cells as well as anti-viral effects.
But zinc also possesses other outstanding qualities. This antioxidant mineral is well-known for its ability to improve male sexual health by protecting the prostate gland and for warding off impotency. Zinc also plays important roles in immune function: it also improves mental clarity and focus. But other benefits help everyone … not just those with diabetes. These can include helping to fight the common cold. A deficiency in zinc could mean a lot of trouble where wound healing and acne outbreaks are concerned.
Zinc supplementation has been shown to improve insulin levels of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics. Oral zinc supplements might help you improve your overall skin tone, heal bedsores, surgical incisions, burns and other minor skin irritations. Zinc could also improve you fat-burning capabilities.
If you are not one to take supplements there's good news. Zinc is available in many of your favorite foods. Foods that are rich in zinc are:
- sunflower and pumpkin seeds,
- nuts, especially almonds,
- seafood, particularly oysters and shellfish,
- beef such as turkey, lamb, and dark chicken meat.
Your doctor can advise you on what the optimal level of zinc should be for you. Maintaining proper zinc levels will not only help with various aspects of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, but in many others areas of your overall health.