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Is Chromium Supplementation Beneficial for Those with Diabetes?

Some positive effects on fasting blood sugar seen…. 

It is well known that Chromium (Cr), as essential trace element, is utilized by the body for the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Previous studies have suggested that Cr may have the ability to stimulate liver glucokinase and enhance activity of B cells in the pancreas.

A recent meta-analysis set out to review various randomized trials on the effect of Cr on glucose and lipid levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Authors conducted literature searches in electronic databases including PubMed, Scopus, Scirus, Google Scholar, and IranMedex. Studies included for review were RCTs conducted among patients with type 2 diabetes with Cr intake of at least 250mcg for a duration of three months.

A total of seven out of thirteen total studies were included in the meta-analysis for review. It was found that Cr supplement therapy was associated with an HbA1C change of -0.33 as compared to placebo (95% CI= -0.72 to 0.06, P=0.01). Change in Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG) during Cr supplementation was -0.95 versus placebo (95% CI= -1.42 to -0.49, P<0.0001). Cr supplementation was also associated with a slight decrease in Total Cholesterol (TC), with change in TC during Cr therapy as compared to placebo of -0.15 (95% CI= -0.16 to 0.31, P=0.54). Additionally, Cr supplementation was associated with a change in BMI of -0.07 (95% CI= – 0.37 to 0.23, P=0.66).

The authors found that, in three RCTs, Cr supplementation was associated with a significant reduction in Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS) by up to 7 mmol/L (P<0.0001).

The authors concluded that Cr supplementation in type 2 diabetics is associated with a lower Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS). However, Cr therapy does not appear to significantly affect HbA1c, lipid levels, or BMI in this patient population.

Practice Pearls:

  • Chromium (Cr), as essential trace element, is utilized by the body for the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins.
  • Cr therapy does not appear to significantly affect HbA1c, lipid levels, or BMI in type 2 diabetic patients.
  • Cr supplementation was associated with a significant reduction in Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS) by up to 7 mmol/L in patients with type 2 diabetes

Diabetes/Metabolism Research & Reviews 2014. [Abdollahi, M. et al. Effect of Chromium on Glucose and Lipid Profiles in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes; A Meta-analysis Review of Randomized Trials. J Pharm Pharmaceut Sci. 2013;16(1)99-114]