Chromium, diabetes and toenails

Related tags Diabetes Obesity Nutrition Chromium

Harvard researchers have been studying 15 year-old toenails in
their attempts to discover whether there is a link between levels
of chromium in the body and incidences of diabetes.

After analyzing the toenails of over 33 000 men aged 40 to 75, scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health found that men with a higher incidence of diabetes and heart disease have lower levels of chromium in their body.

The chromium levels were obtained by measuring content of toenail samples from study participants. Because toenails hold trace minerals, using them for this type of study helps identify dietary intake, nutrient requirement, deficiency and disease.

The study appears in the September issue of Diabetes Care, the journal of the American Diabetes Association​.

Chromium supplements company Nutrition 21​, which has focused closely on diabetes management, has followed the reserch with interest.

"We have done lots of studies showing that our product Chromax is beneficial for sufferers of diabetes, but this research has shown that people with low chromium levels are at a higher risk of contracting diabetes than other people,"​ James Komorowski, vice president of scientific affairs and technical services at Nutritition 21, told NutraIngredientsUSA​.

Komorowski added that this study is important because its "confirms we are on the right track"​. His company is currently carrying out several studies, including one looking at the effect of chromium picolinate on type two diabetes - the results of which are expected at the end of this year - and one investigating the treatment of depression with the supplement, whose interim results were reported by NutraIngredientsUSA​ in June. The company is also planning further trials looking at diabetes and exercise, and insulin resistance in the near future.

Nutrition 21 is presently awaiting a decision by the US government as to whether the FDA will award a health claim to chromium picolinate in the prevention of diabetes. This decision should be made sometime in November, but Komorowski said that feedback from the public comment period had been favourable.

There are an estimated 18.2 million people in the United States who have diabetes, putting them at high risk of complications such as heart disease and stroke, blindness, nerve damage, kidney damage and foot complications resulting from poor blood flow.

Related topics Research Minerals

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