Sarah Lim is a junior doctor at Goulburn Valley Health, Victoria, Australia. She aspires to become a regional General Practitioner and has great interest in pursuing research in preventive medicine, especially Diabetes. This was her first research project, which she presented at an Annual Regional Research Fair 2017, in the presence of state-wide established researchers, stakeholders, senior clinical specialists and academics, and other non-clinical academics. An independent judge panel awarded her the Best Oral Presenter from all other established and experienced oral presenters. Sarah yearns to present this very interesting findings internationally to promote this topic and contribute to diabetes prevention globally.


Background: Previous studies demonstrated lower serum zinc among prediabetics and diabetics, compared to normoglycaemics. There is no current epidemiological data available in regional Australia examining the association between serum zinc and glycaemic status. This study was conducted to determine the relationship between serum zinc, glycaemic status and Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA-2) parameters in a regional Australian hospital population.
Methods: A retrospective review was conducted among all adult patients who presented to a regional Australian hospital between June 2004 and April 2017. Patients were included if they had either fasting blood glucose (FBG) and serum zinc; or FBG, serum zinc and fasting insulin done. Serum zinc, FBG, fasting insulin, lipid profile, vitamin D and other demographic information were collected. Beta-cell function, insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity were calculated using the HOMA-2 calculator. All data were analysed using Stata 11.
Results: A total of 313 patients’ record was retrieved. According to American Diabetic Association classification, 74.8% (234) were normoglycaemics, 18.8% (59) prediabetics and 6.4% (20) diabetics. Data for 84 patients were available to calculate HOMA-2 parameters. Mean serum zinc was found to be lower in prediabetics than normoglycaemics (14.68 ± 3.05 Vs 14.96 ± 4.01 uMol/L). In simple linear regression among all participants, higher serum zinc was associated with an increased insulin sensitivity (coefficient 2.67, 95% CI: -1.3 and 6.7), decreased insulin resistance (coefficient -0.03, 95% CI: -0.12 and 0.57) and decreased beta-cell function (coefficient -3.2, 95% CI: -6.2 and -0.2).
Conclusion: Consistent with the current literature, we observed lower serum zinc in prediabetics than normoglycaemics. Higher zinc levels are associated with greater insulin sensitivity and lower insulin resistance. Low serum zinc may have a role in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance. Further evaluations are warranted regarding zinc supplementation in prediabetics to prevent or delay the progression to Type 2 Diabetes.