We previously reported that treatment of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats with zinc plus cyclo (his-pro) (CHP) decreased fed blood glucose levels and water intake. The present study was conducted to examine the dose-dependent, acute, and chronic treatment effects of CHP on oral glucose tolerance (OGT), fed blood glucose levels, water intake, and plasma insulin levels in young and aged Sprague-Dawley (S-D) rats, nondiabetic Wistar rats, and genetically diabetic Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats. Acute gastric gavage of 10 mg zinc plus 1.0 mg CHP/kg body weight significantly improved OGT in 4- and 13-month-old nondiabetic S-D rats and in 2-month-old diabetic G-K rats. Young S-D and G-K rats returned to pretreatment OGT values 1 week after acute gavage of zinc plus CHP (ZC), but improved OGT values persisted for at least 1 week after gavage in aged S-D rats. OGT values and fed blood glucose decreased to the greatest extent among other treatments when G-K rats were given free access to drinking water containing 1.0 to 1.5 mg CHP/L plus 10 mg zinc/L for 2 weeks. Although food and water intake showed a tendency to decrease, no statistically significant differences were observed in young G-K rats. Plasma insulin levels and blood glucose levels in both normal and diabetic G-K rats decreased with 2-week treatment with ZC. To test the direct effects of ZC on muscle tissue, we observed the effect of various doses of ZC on normal and G-K rat muscle slices. The optimal level of CHP alone for maximal muscle glucose uptake in muscle slices from normal rats was 10 mug/mL and 5.0 mug/mL in G-K rats, and ZC stimulated glucose uptake. However, no statistically significant difference was demonstrated between normal and G-K rat tissues in this study. These results indicate that oral intake of an optimal dose of ZC stimulates blood glucose metabolism, probably by stimulating muscle glucose utilization.