Zinc bursts diabetes balloon
A report just released by the Australian Diabetes Council has shown that in the last five years diabetes rates have risen by an average 27 per cent across NSW and by a staggering 40 per cent in coastal areas. While the forensic investigation goes on as to why this might be so a new report has suggested that the mineral zinc could be an important part of the solution.
In type 2 diabetes a protein formed amylin forms clumps that shut down the islet cells of the pancreas that produce insulin. This in turn disrupts blood sugar control. Amylin though, is not all bad.
In healthy people amylin works alongside insulin to control blood sugar levels. However, amylin is only good in those healthy people because zinc keeps it under control. At the molecular level zinc stops amylin forming clumps. These amylin clumps form ribbon-like structures called fibrils and these fragments of these fibrils can damage the islet cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
Zinc apparently controls amylin by binding to a point near the middle of the amylin molecule. That causes the molecule to kink, or bend, which stops it forming into toxic clumps. To form fibrils zinc has to be ejected from its central spot on the amylin and that removal takes a lot of energy which makes it unlikely to happen.
Zinc levels fluctuate in any person but getting your zinc levels up will be a handy protection against diabetes. Zinc is found in oysters, beef, crab, pork, legumes, and nuts. It is involved in so many enzyme systems in your body, especially immune related ones, that even if you werenâ€™t concerned about diabetes it would still be a good idea to give your zinc reserves a boost.