Could zinc hold one of the keys to a cure for type 1 diabetes?
Researchers in Dusseldorf, Germany, have successfully prevented streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes in mice with water that had zinc sulphate added to it. STZ is an agent that is damaging to islets.
According to research reported in the August 2000 issue of Diabetologia, mice were given free access to zinc-sulphate-enriched water beginning one week before injections began and continuing throughout the experiment period.
Mice treated with zinc-sulphate-enriched water did not begin to develop high blood sugars until 10 weeks after the first injection of STZ. However, while treatment with zinc-sulphate-enriched water significantly reduced blood-glucose concentrations during the 23-week observation period, mean concentrations were slightly higher than the threshold of 250 mg/dl level.
The researchers say zinc sulphate is essentially non-toxic in humans, adding that the enriched drinking water was well-tolerated. They add that intervening with zinc sulphate “can also be considered for other models of type 1 diabetes and for humans at risk for developing this disease.”