People with type 2 diabetes often take chromium supplements to help keep their blood sugar levels under control, but new findings from a Dutch study raise doubts about the value of this approach.
In non-Western diabetic populations, there is some evidence that chromium might be beneficial," Dr. Nanno Kleefstra, told Reuters Health. "In Western populations ... it does not seem to help in the dosages used."
Kleefstra, from Isala Clinics in Zwolle, and colleagues investigated the effects of chromium in people with type 2 diabetes residing in a northern region of the Netherlands. Fifty-seven patients were randomly assigned to take 400 micrograms of chromium per day or a placebo.
After 3 and 6 months of treatment, there were no differences between
the chromium group and the placebo group for fasting blood glucose
levels, long-term control of glucose levels as measured by A1c, blood
pressure, body fat percentage, weight, lipid profile, and how well they
responded to the insulin their bodies produced, the investigators
report in the medical journal Diabetes Care.
"Especially in Western patients, chromium is not beneficial for
improving glycemic control," Kleefstra concluded, probably because most
people already get sufficient amounts of chromium.
"It would be interesting to study a deficient population," Kleefstra
added. To do so, "I think it is essential to get a tool with which we
can detect whether patients are chromium-deficient or not."
SOURCE: Reuters, May 21, 2007 The original study:
N. Kleefstra, S. T. Houweling, S. J.L. Bakker, S. Verhoeven, R. O.B. Gans, B. Meyboom-de Jong, H. J.G. Bilo, Chromium Treatment Has No Effect in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes in a Western Population: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial,
Diabetes Care, 30/5 (2007) 1092 - 1096. DOI: 10.2337/dc06-2192
Related studies (newest first):
Aviva Levina, Peter A. Lay, Chemical Properties and Toxicity of Chromium(III) Nutritional Supplements
, Chem. Res. Toxicol., 21 (2008) 563–571. doi: 10.1021/tx700385t
Maria A. Andersson, Kierstin V. Petersson Grawe, Oskar M. Karlsson, Lilianne A.G. Abramsson-Zetterberg, Björn E. Hellman, Evaluation of the potential genotoxicity of chromium picolinate in mammalian cells in vivo and in vitro,
Food Chem. Toxicol., 45 (2007) 1097–1106. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2006.11.008
N. Kleefstra, S.T. Houweling, F.G.A. Jansman, K.H. Groenier, R.O.B. Gans, B. Meyboom-de Jong, S.J.L. Bakkeret, H.J.G. Bilo, Chromium
treatment has no effect in patients with poorly controlled,
insulin-treated type 2 diabetes in an obese Western population: a
randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
, Diabetes Care 29 (2006) :521–525. DOI: 10.2337/diacare.29.03.06.dc05-1453
D. A. Mark, Chromium Picolinate Supplementation Attenuates Body Weight Gain and Increases Insulin Sensitivity in Subjects With Type 2 Diabetes: Response to Martin et al
Diabetes Care, 29/12 (2006) 2764 - 2764. DOI: 10.2337/dc06-1719
J. Martin, D. Matthews, and W. T. Cefalu, Chromium Picolinate Supplementation Attenuates Body Weight Gain and Increases Insulin Sensitivity in Subjects With Type 2 Diabetes: Response to Mark
, Diabetes Care, 29/12 (2006) 2764 - 2765. DOI: 10.2337/dc06-1852
J. Martin, Z. Q. Wang, X. H. Zhang, D. Wachtel, J. Volaufova, D. E. Matthews, and W. T. Cefalu, Chromium Picolinate Supplementation Attenuates Body Weight Gain and Increases Insulin Sensitivity in Subjects With Type 2 Diabetes
, Diabetes Care, 29/8 (2006) 1826 - 1832. DOI: 10.2337/dc06-0254 Related EVISA Resources Link Database: Chromium in Food Related EVISA News
November 23, 2004: Chromium (III) - not only therapeutic?
March 20, 2005: United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency granted
derogation to Chromium (III) compounds as a food supplement
September 15, 2005: FDA Approves Chromium Claim April 24, 2007: Nutrigenomics: The role of chromium for fat metabolism revisited
last time modified: December 9, 2013