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Atherosclerosis. 2011 Nov;219(1):231-9. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2011.07.097. Epub 2011 Jul 26.

Oral zinc supplementation does not improve oxidative stress or vascular function in patients with type 2 diabetes with normal zinc levels.

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Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.



There is considerable controversy about what constitutes optimal zinc intakes in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Several studies suggest that higher zinc intakes improve vascular function and decrease oxidative damage. We aimed to assess the effects of zinc supplementation using a range of reliable biomarkers of oxidative damage and vascular function in patients with type 2 diabetes.


Forty male type 2 diabetic patients were supplemented either with 240 mg/day of zinc as zinc gluconate (n=20) or with placebo (n=20) for 3 months. Blood and spot urine samples were taken at baseline, days 3 and 7, months 1, 2 and 3 during supplementation and 1 month after cessation. Serum zinc, reliable biomarkers of oxidative damage (F(2)-isoprostanes, neuroprostanes, cholesterol oxidation products, allantoin) as well as hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid products and vascular-related indices (augmentation index, pulse wave velocity and aortic pressure) were measured.


Despite significantly higher levels of serum zinc in the treatment group, markers of oxidative damage, levels of hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid products and vascular indices were unchanged by zinc supplementation during the four-month study period.


Improving the zinc status in patients with type 2 diabetes with normal zinc levels did not have any impact on oxidative damage and vascular function, and such supplementation may not be generally beneficial in these individuals.


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