Chromium contributes to the action of insulin to control blood sugar levels. In addition, chromium blood levels tend to be low in people with diabetes. Now, conventional wisdom of the role of supplemental chromium is being re-evaluated.
A detailed review published last month in Alternative Medicine Alert concluded that the data on the action of chromium in people with diabetes were inconclusive. For the same reason, no recommendation has come from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.
Now, a study published in the August issue of Diabetes Care will necessitate a re-evaluation of these conclusions. After a stabilization period, 37 people with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to treatment with a sulfonylurea (glipizide) plus placebo or glipizide plus chromium picolinate for 6 months.
The addition of chromium picolinate to glipizide significantly improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.
It’s a small study, but these data combined with an earlier trial that showed a positive effect of chromium picolinate on the heart rhythm (shortened QTc interval duration) in patients with type 2 diabetes necessitates another look at this micronutrient.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.