This section was compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C. Send all comments or additions to:Frankp@chiro.org
If there are terms in these articles you don't understand, you can get a definition from the Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary. If you want information about a specific disease, you can access the Merck Manual. You can also search Pub Med for more abstracts on this topic.
Chromium For Insulin Function
The recent establishment of a daily chromium requirement of 35mcg for men and 25mcg for women by the Institute of Medicine in the US has raised its profile. Few foods are good chromium sources, a recent USDA analysis found. Cereals, particularly high-bran cereals, contribute variable but potentially important amounts of chromium. However, food processing strips chromium from foods, particularly when grains and sugars are refined. Some researchers have long believed the rising rate of type II diabetes is due in part to chromium depletion in the food supply.
Chromium Steels the Body Against Diabetes
Chromium plays a role in the body's use of energy-providing carbohydrates, protein and fat and, when in short supply, is associated with impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes-like symptoms.1 In 1977, the first published case of a chromium-diabetes link showed that the severe diabetic symptoms that developed in a woman while on long-term parenteral nutrition (intravenous feeding) were alleviated by supplemental chromium.2
The Prediabetic Epidemic
Syndrome X, characterized by insulin resistance, is a prediabetic condition gaining increased scrutiny as America's obesity rates soar. Learn how to recognize its telltale signs and mitigate its symptoms through diet and supplements.
Chromium: An Element Essential to Health
Chromium, the metallic element once believed to be toxic, is in fact essential to health. In the mid-twentieth century, scientists put laboratory rats on a diet devoid of chromium. The unfortunate rodents quickly developed glucose intolerance, a condition that often precedes the development of type II diabetes in humans. Researchers then switched the animals’ feed to brewer’s yeast—a rich, natural source of chromium—and the rats’ health promptly returned to normal.
Insulin Amplifier: Chromium is Key to Diabetes
A highly refined diet that contains too few micronutrients has been recognized as the dominant factor in the rising incidence of diabetes and other insulin related conditions. Among the missing micronutrients, chromium has the greatest impact on insulin response. Until recently, few physicians recognized the importance of supplementing chromium in the management of diabetes. However, research at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has revealed that chromium plays an important role in amplifying insulin response in diabetics.
Chromium as Adjuvant Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes and Impaired Glucose Tolerance
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Several studies have suggested that chromium supplementation might be beneficial in individuals with glucose intolerance, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes or steroid-induced diabetes, as evidenced by decreased blood glucose values or decreased insulin requirements. However, randomized trials of chromium supplementation in diabetes have not been definitive.
Chromium Nicotinate vs. Chromium Picolinate
In order to evaluate scientific merit of chromium picolinate, we collaborated on a study with researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. Despite claims of fat burning and weight loss, it yielded none of these effects in overweight women. Additionally, in a direct comparison against chromium nicotinate, the picolinate source was less effective in supporting the action of insulin.
Chromium in Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease
Horm Metab Res 2007 (Oct); 39 (10): 743–751
Chromium is an essential mineral that appears to have a beneficial role in the regulation of insulin action, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. There is growing evidence that chromium may facilitate insulin signaling and chromium supplementation therefore may improve systemic insulin sensitivity. Tissue chromium levels of subjects with diabetes are lower than those of normal control subjects, and a correlation exists between low circulating levels of chromium and the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Controversy still exists as to the need for chromium supplementation.
A Scientific Review: The Role of Chromium in Insulin Resistance
The Diabetes Educator 2004; Suppl: 2–14
Chromium is an essential mineral that appears to have a beneficial role in the regulation of insulin action and its effects on carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism. Chromium is an important factor for enhancing insulin activity. Studies show that people with type 2 diabetes have lower blood levels of chromium than those without the disease. Insulin resistance is the common denominator in a cluster of cardiovascular disease risk factors. One out of every five Americans has metabolic syndrome. It affects 40% of people in their 60s and 70s. Insulin resistance, with or without the presence of metabolic syndrome, significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Insulin resistance is present in two serious health problems in women; polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and gestational diabetes.
The Safety and Efficacy of High-dose Chromium
Alternative Medicine Review 2002 (Jun); 7 (3): 218–235 ~ FULL TEXT
The data on the standards for chromium requirements and the safety of various chromium compounds and doses are reviewed. The 350-fold difference between the acceptable daily intake and the calculated reference dose for humans of 70 mg per day seems without precedent with respect to other nutritional minerals. Previous claims of mutagenic effects of chromium are of questionable relevance. While studies have found DNA fragmentation (clastogenic effects) by chromium picolinate, anecdotal reports of high-dose chromium picolinate toxicity are few and ambiguous. The beneficial effects of chromium on serum glucose and lipids and insulin resistance occur even in the healthy.
Interactions of Exercise Training and Lipoic Acid on Skeletal Muscle Glucose Transport in Obese Zucker Rats
J Appl Physiol 2001 (Jul); 91 (1): 145–153
These results indicate that Exercise Training and Alpha Lipoic Acid interact in an additive fashion to improve insulin action in insulin-resistant skeletal muscle. Because the further improvement in muscle glucose transport in the combined group was not associated with additional upregulation of GLUT-4 protein or a further reduction in oxidative stress, the mechanism for this interaction must be due to additional, as yet unidentified, factors.
Chromium in the Prevention and Control of Diabetes
Diabetes Metab 2000 (Feb); 26 (1): 22–27
Chromium is an essential nutrient involved in the metabolism of glucose, insulin and blood lipids. Suboptimal dietary intake of chromium is associated with increased risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Within the past five years, chromium has been shown to improve glucose and related variables in subjects with glucose intolerance and type 1, type 2, gestational and steroid-induced diabetes. Severe neuropathy and glucose intolerance of a patient on total parenteral nutrition, who was receiving currently recommended levels of chromium, were reversed by additional supplemental chromium
Chromium, Exercise, and Body Composition
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2000 (Jul); 40 (4): 291–308
Chromium is an essential trace element involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins mainly by increasing the efficiency of insulin. Chromium deficiency affects the maintenance of normal glucose tolerance and healthy lipid profiles.
Toward Practical Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes
Med Hypotheses 2000 (May); 54 (5): 786–793
Even in individuals who are unwilling to make prudent changes in their diets and sedentary habits, the administration of certain nutrients and/or drugs may help to prevent or postpone the onset of type 2 diabetes.