Thursday, January 25, 2007

No Proof Zinc Helps Prevent Diabetes

(HealthDay News) -- Despite claims by zinc supplement manufacturers that the pills can help prevent type 2 diabetes, there is no proof for that notion in randomized clinical trials, a new report concludes.

But even though there is no evidence from clinical studies, that doesn't mean that zinc has no role in diabetes prevention, say the authors of a research review article in the current issue of The Cochrane Library journal. Laboratory research suggests that zinc does help promote the production and action of insulin, the review authors point out.

The problem is a lack of good clinical trials on the issue, the review authors said
They analyzed 192 clinical trials involving zinc, insulin and their use in type 2 diabetes.

However, just one of the studies met their content and quality criteria for inclusion in the review. That four-week study of 56 obese women found that zinc did not have an effect on factors associated with the development of diabetes.

"It is important to recognize that this systematic review was left with one trial that treated 56 people with either zinc or a placebo for four weeks and found no effect. This single trial is too small and too short to really tell us anything about the effectiveness of zinc," Dr. John Buse, an American Diabetes Association spokesman who was not involved in the review, said in a prepared statement.

"Basically, we know nothing that can definitively guide clinicians in providing advice regarding zinc supplementation in diabetes," Buse said.

More information
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about preventing diabetes.

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