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Metabolism. 1994 Dec;43(12):1558-62.

Hyperzincuria in individuals with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: concurrent zinc status and the effect of high-dose zinc supplementation.

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Department of Nutrition, University of Massachusetts, Amherst 01003-1420.


The urinary excretion of zinc in individuals with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) is approximately doubled. In the absence of a compensatory mechanism, this hyperzincuria should induce a deficient or marginal Zn status. We examined parameters of Zn status in plasma and in blood cells with respect to urinary Zn losses and Zn supplementation. We measured Zn levels in the urine, plasma, and erythrocytes of 14 IDDM subjects and 15 nondiabetics who kept dietary records for 3 consecutive days. Subsequently, six IDDM subjects and seven nondiabetics were supplemented with 50 mg Zn daily for 28 days. We measured the above parameters, as well as mononuclear leukocyte Zn (MNL-Zn) and the plasma subfraction of albumin-bound Zn (alb-Zn). The total plasma Zn-binding capacity was also assessed. Plasma copper and erythrocyte Cu were monitored as indicators of potential Zn toxicity. Individuals with IDDM displayed the expected hyperzincuria, but had normal blood Zn parameters. Zincuria increased by a similar amount in both groups during supplementation, as did the MNL-Zn content. However, erythrocyte Zn (e-Zn) was refractory, so a trend toward lower e-Zn among IDDM subjects persisted during Zn supplementation. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) increased markedly in the Zn-supplemented IDDM group. Despite their chronic hyperzincuria, individuals with IDDM appear not to be Zn-deficient. Large-dose Zn supplementation increases MNL-Zn and induces an undesirable elevation of HbA1c in all individuals. This is especially disconcerting for those with IDDM, and may reflect an exacerbation of a chronic "Zn diabetes." These data suggest a potential for toxicity from large-dose Zn supplementation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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