A small trial on the supplement chromium picolinate could help determine effective doses for better treating type 2 diabetes, according to researchers in the Netherlands
The study, presented last week at the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Congress in Paris, France, found a daily supplement of 1,000 mcg chromium picolinate significantly decreased blood sugar levels in insulin-treated people with poorly-controlled type 2 diabetes.
Researchers from Isala Clinics and University Hospital Groningen in the Netherlands conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, in which 52 subjects were randomly assigned to three groups, to receive placebo, 500 mcg or 1,000 mcg of chromium, as chromium picolinate, per day.
After six months, the average elevated glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) - a marker of long-term blood sugar control levels - in the 1,000 mcg chromium treated group showed a statistically significant improvement - a decrease from 9.5 per cent to 9.0 per cent, reported the team.
"The use of chromium picolinate in this trial produced significant improvements in HbA1c levels and other clinical parameters. It will help us determine the right therapeutic doses of chromium picolinate for select patient populations," explained lead investigator Sebastiaan T. Houweling.
He added: "This is one of the first studies to test chromium picolinate supplementation exclusively on patients with insulin-treated, poorly-controlled type 2 diabetes." He added that larger clinical studies are necessary to further investigate if these effects can be confirmed not only within the treated group, but also placebo controlled.
All 52 subjects had HbA1c greater than 8 per cent, despite insulin requirements of greater than or equal to 50 units per day. The investigators also measured serum lipids, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure and insulin requirements.
The researchers reported significant improvements in the cholesterol/HDL ratio (-0.46 and -0.32 in the 500 mcg and 1,000 mcg chromium groups, respectively). Trends for improvements were also found for triglyceride levels in both chromium groups.
The study is the fourth trial to show the benefits of 1,000 mcg of chromium on blood sugar levels in people with insulin resistance and diabetes. The congress also heard the results of new research from Nutrition 21, suggesting that the supplement could be used as a complementary therapy in diabetes care, a rapidly growing market in the US. The company currently has two large clinical trials underway to further evaluate the effects of 1,000 mcg of its own Chromax chromium picolinate on blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.