"There is strong scientific evidence to suggest that supplemental chromium picolinate may improve insulin sensitivity, blood glucose control, and cardiovascular risk factors in adults with type 2 diabetes," said Dr Francine Kaufman, director of the hospital's Comprehensive Childhood Diabetes Center and former president of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), who is leading the seven-month study.
"It is of great interest to us to see if chromium picolinate will help young people better manage their diabetes to maximize their long-term health and quality of life."
The study sets out to see whether the addition of 600 mcg of chromium to the daily diet of patients with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes aged between 12- to 18-years will improve blood glucose and body weight.
The 30 participants (male and female) have all had type 1 diabetes for one year or more, have had a glycosolated hemoglobin (HbA1c) of 7 percent or greater within the last three months and a body mass index (BMI) in the top 15 percent of their age and gender group.
The researchers will monitor the patients' HbA1c levels as a measure of long-term glycemic control, as well as glucose levels, body weight, BMI, lipid profiles, enzymes and blood pressure.
James Komorowski, vice president of technical services and scientific affairs at Nutrition 21, said: "This study is important because of the growing need for a safe and effective method of treating insulin resistance in children with and at risk for diabetes."
Nutrition 21 cites upwards of 15 scientific studies that support the safety of the trace mineral and its role in improving insulin function and glucose metabolism in people with type 2 diabetes and related conditions.
Four other clinical trials using chromium picolinate are expected to be initiated this year and funded by the National Institutes of Health, which received an $800 million boost to its budget for further research into disease thanks to the labor/health subcommittee bill that was signed into law by President Bush in December 2002.
"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 medicine community," Gail Montgomery, president of Nutrition 21, told NutraIngredients-USA.com in December.
Until now, general practitioners have paid too little attention to the potential benefits of chromium, believes Montgomery, but the government's current efforts to curb the rise of diabetes may change this.
According to the ADA, one in every 400 to 500 American children and adolescents has type 1 diabetes, and about 210,000 people under the age of 20.