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Chromium picolinate may benefit diabetics

TOLEDO, OHIO. Two American family physicians report the case of a 28-year-old woman with type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus who improved her condition by supplementing with chromium picolinate. The patient had suffered from diabetes for 18 years, was on a diabetes diet, and was taking intermediate- acting insulin. She began supplementing with 200 micrograms of chromium picolinate three times daily with meals. Three months later her blood glucose values, which she measured three times a day with a home monitor, had decreased by 30-60 mg/dL. Her level of glycosylated hemoglobin (Hb A1c) declined from 11.3 per cent to 7.9 per cent. The physicians conclude that chromium picolinate supplementation may improve glucose control in some patients with diabetes. They cite several other studies which have shown chromium picolinate to be beneficial. A recent study involving 48 patients with type 1 diabetes and 114 patients with type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes found that oral supplementation with 200 micrograms/day of chromium picolinate reduced the need for insulin and oral hypoglycemic medications in about 70 per cent of the patients. The results of a study involving 180 patients with type 2 diabetes was released at the 1996 meeting of the American Diabetes Association. The patients were randomly assigned to three groups. One group took 100 micrograms of chromium picolinate twice a day, another group took 500 micrograms twice a day while the third group was given a placebo. After four months glycosylated hemoglobin levels, fasting glucose levels, and insulin values were all lower in the supplement groups than in the placebo group with the benefits being greater in the group taking the 500 micrograms twice daily. Other studies report that chromium picolinate supplementation lowers triglyceride levels, improves mood, sleep quality, energy levels and vision, and reduces body fat. However, these claims need to be substantiated by more rigorous research. Little is known about the long-term side effects of chromium picolinate; however, there is no evidence that it is carcinogenic. (29 references)
Fox, Gary N. and Sabovic, Zijad. Chromium picolinate supplementation for diabetes mellitus. Journal of Family Practice, Vol. 46, January 1998, pp. 83- 86
Bradbury, Jane. Added chromium may help type 2 diabetics. The Lancet, November 15, 1997, p. 1453

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