The nutraceutical firm announced last week that a bill signed into law by President George Bush recognized the health benefits of chromium picolinate towards diabetes and urged further research into its capabilities.
This recognition forms part of the labor/health subcommittee bill that provides for an $800 million increase in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget in 2005 for furthering research into diseases - this research includes four clinical trials using chromium picolinate.
"It's good to have academics from NIH involved as it takes the importance of this program to another level and it helps to attract the attention of the traditional medical community," said Gail Montgomery.
She believes that general practitioners generally have scant knowledge of the potential benefits of supplements. Until now chromium too has received little attention by this community, but the government's emphasis on stopping the rise of diabetes may change this.
Moreover, Montgomery said that while it is still only a minority of US patients who actively choose supplements over conventional medicines, more people are becoming disillusioned with mainstream medicine.
In particular, she noted the need in 2005 to look more closely at how chromium can be used as a preventative supplement for diabetes - to help those patients who if left untreated will need to take medication in the years to come.
Montgomery said that some trials have been carried out to assess how the use of chromium may keep these patients from needing medication, but they were not be large enough to draw any significant conclusions. Two of the NIH trials and one being carried out by Nutrition 21 are now investigating the effect of chromium on 'pre-diabetic' patients.
This preventative approach is being developed in particular by the company for the Native American community, who may have traditionally used more natural treatments for diseases.
Approximately 95 million Americans have some degree of insulin resistance, according to the firm, which holds patents for the therapeutic use of chromium picolinate in addressing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.