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Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2010 Dec 19;2:70. doi: 10.1186/1758-5996-2-70.

Trace elements in glucometabolic disorders: an update.

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1
INSERM U870, INSA Lyon, 6 Bld J, Capelle, F-69621 Villeurbanne (France. nicolas.wiernsperger@free.fr.

Abstract

Many trace elements, among which metals, are indispensable for proper functioning of a myriad of biochemical reactions, more particularly as enzyme cofactors. This is particularly true for the vast set of processes involved in regulation of glucose homeostasis, being it in glucose metabolism itself or in hormonal control, especially insulin. The role and importance of trace elements such as chromium, zinc, selenium, lithium and vanadium are much less evident and subjected to chronic debate. This review updates our actual knowledge concerning these five trace elements. A careful survey of the literature shows that while theoretical postulates from some key roles of these elements had led to real hopes for therapy of insulin resistance and diabetes, the limited experience based on available data indicates that beneficial effects and use of most of them are subjected to caution, given the narrow window between safe and unsafe doses. Clear therapeutic benefit in these pathologies is presently doubtful but some data indicate that these metals may have a clinical interest in patients presenting deficiencies in individual metal levels. The same holds true for an association of some trace elements such as chromium or zinc with oral antidiabetics. However, this area is essentially unexplored in adequate clinical trials, which are worth being performed.

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