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Are You Getting Enough Zinc to Manage Diabetes?



A recent study has shown getting adequate zinc in your diet may lower diabetes progression risk and other diseases associated with poor blood circulation and inflammation. [1] The individuals who received 20 mg zinc had lower fasting glucose levels as well as lower glucose levels 2-hours after eating, significantly decreased Insulin Resistance, and improved beta-cell function.


Could increasing your intake of foods high in zinc help prevent or control diabetes, improve circulation and lower inflammation? Zinc deficiency has been linked to diabetes in multiple research studies[2] showing the benefits of both increasing plant foods with a higher concentration of zinc and supplementation of zinc.


Here are some food sources that are well balanced with the other nutrients necessary for proper absorption of zinc:

There are many other vegetables (especially green vegetables) that contain zinc in smaller amounts than listed in table above.


Beef and shellfish also contain significant amounts of zinc, however the fat in these products create inflammation making it harder for the zinc to be absorbed. Beef and shellfish also contain higher copper levels which compete with zinc for absorption sites in the gastrointestinal tract and the high protein content can bind the zinc so that it is not absorbed.


The recommended daily amount needed are in the table below:

More that 40mg is not beneficial as it can create a copper deficiency. Zinc is involved in enzyme activity and plays a role in the regulation of the immune system, reproductive system, health of the skin, vision, and nutrient absorption in the gastrointestinal tract (GI) and blood circulation.


Low intake or absorption is associated with increased risk for diabetes, cancer, poor appetite, loss of taste/smell, metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance, depression/anxiety, and heart dysrhythmia.


The take home message is: Eat a variety of plant sources of zinc. If you are struggling to eat enough plant sources take a zinc supplement with a meal.


If you would like more information regarding vitamins, minerals, or herbal supplements call to schedule an appointment at 479-363-6585 or book an appointment online here.

[1] Ranasinghe P, et al. J Diabetes. 2017;doi:10.1111/jdb.12621. [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407731/


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