The Chromium Connection

June 30, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

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What do diabetics need to know about chromium?

Chromium is a trace element that assists in the normal metabolism and storage of fat, proteins and carbohydrates. It is also considered an insulin enhancer as it is involved in the production of insulin and the release of glucose on the cellular level.

Types of chromium include inorganic chromium, high-chromium yeast, chromium picolinate, and chromium polynicotinate. Chromium picolinate is most commonly recommended as it is the most easily absorbed.

Recommended Daily Allowance:

There is no RDA for chromium, but a daily intake of
between 50 and 200 micrograms (µg) is recommended by many physicians and
nutrition experts.

Amount of chromium in over-the-counter vitamin supplements:

Centrum: 35 mcg

One-A-Day Essential: 65 mcg

Viactive Multi Vitamin FLAVOR Glides: 12 mcg

Dietary Sources of Chromium:

  • Broccoli
  • Whole Wheat English Muffins
  • Garlic
  • Grape Juice
  • Beef
  • Whole Grain Cereals
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Oysters
  • Wheat germ
  • Green peppers
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Spinach
  • Molasses
  • Symptoms of Chromium Deficiet:

    Chromium deficiencies are not common. A healthy diet will provide an intake of chromium that exceeds recommended dosages; however diets high in simple sugars, or high in processed foods can lead to deficiencies. Extreme exercise, pregnancy, infection, and stress can deplete chromium.

    Symptoms of Chromium Toxicity:

    • GI Upset

    • Hypoglycemia

    • Nausea

    Chromium and Diabetes:

    There have been no clinical studies to support claims that chromium is effective in weight loss or that it increases insulin production. It is also important to note that there are currently no government regulations to specify the purity, dosage or effectiveness of chromium supplements.

    From the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center site:

    “The FDA has recently issued a letter stating that chromium picolinate does not reduce the risk of insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Chromium requires transferrin to be absorbed and is renally eliminated therefore patients with renal and hepatic dysfunction should not be routinely supplemented. To date there are no known drug interactions. Optimal dosage remains undetermined.”

    In response to a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial the American Diabetes Association states:

    “Supplemental dietary chromium appears to have no beneficial effect in people with type 2 diabetes who are treated with oral anti-diabetes drugs.”

    For more information on the study visit the ADA site.

    An additional ADA statement about chromium states: “It is still controversial whether chromium supplements should be recommended for glycemic control among diabetic patients. Growing evidence suggests that chromium supplementation, particularly at higher doses and in the form of CrP, may improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism in patients with glucose intolerance and type 1, type 2, gestational, and steroid-induced diabetes and in some individuals without diabetes. However, it must be recognized that most clinical studies have major limitations including small size, short term, nonrandomized design, and different doses of chromium supplementation, which may explain the high variability of the findings across studies. Therefore, more clinical trials are needed in the U.S. population to examine the robustness of the results observed in other populations and appropriate doses.”


    As always it is important for diabetics to consult with their Diabetes Management Team before adding any supplement to their regime.


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    NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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