Research: Chromium Picolinate May Enhance Insulin Sensitivity

New clinical study uncovers mechanism by which chromium picolinate may enhance insulin sensitivity

Effective and safe complementary nutrition therapy

PARIS, France, August 28, 2003 – The results of a new double-blind randomized placebo controlled human trial of people with type 2 diabetes revealed a potential mechanism that may explain the ability of chromium picolinate to improve insulin resistance in human skeletal muscle – the primary site for glucose metabolism.

These data suggest that when chromium picolinate is added to the diet, insulin sensitivity improves for people with diabetes, a chronic disease that affects 194 million people worldwide. The findings were presented by Dr. William T. Cefalu from the University of Vermont College of Medicine at the 18th International Diabetes Federation Congress.

Research suggests that the potential in vivo mechanism of chromium picolinate on insulin action in human skeletal muscle may occur by increasing the activation of Akt phosphorylation — an intracellular insulin dependent protein that facilitates the uptake of glucose into cells.

“This study demonstrates that those individuals with type 2 diabetes who supplemented their diet with chromium picolinate had an enhanced activity of the protein compared to those who were on placebo,” stated Dr. Cefalu. “As this intracellular pathway is implicated in contributing to insulin resistance, this represents a possible mechanism to explain chromium picolinate’s beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity as observed in several clinical studies.”

The clinical trial

The double-blind, placebo controlled trial, included two cohorts of subjects with type 2 diabetes who were treated with either sulfonylureas (a class of diabetic drugs that increase insulin secretion), or a diet program. Both groups were randomized to receive either chromium picolinate (1000 mcg) daily or placebo.

The most accurate measure of insulin sensitivity, hyperinsulinemic, euglycemic clamp studies, were used to assess the efficacy of glucose uptake on all subjects prior to randomization and at the end of the study. Of the 16 subjects, those randomized to chromium picolinate had a mean increase in insulin sensitivity of 8.9%, while the placebo group had a mean decrease of 3.6%. In addition, insulin-stimulated Akt activation was significantly increased at the end of the study compared to those subjects on placebo. No adverse events were reported.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that four to five percent of health budgets are spent on diabetes-related illnesses and that people with diabetes incur medical costs two to five times higher than people without diabetes.

Chromium is an essential mineral that is a co-factor of insulin. “By applying rigorous science, we hope to show it’s potential to improve the quality of patient care for people with diabetes and reduce cost of therapy,” said James Komorowski, MS, Vice President of Technical Services and Scientific Affairs, Nutrition 21, Inc., which supplied Chromax® chromium picolinate for the study.

Chromax® chromium picolinate is the most clinically tested brand of chromium with proven efficacy for support of glucose metabolism. “This new research further supports the large body of scientific evidence showing chromium picolinate is a safe and effective addition to the diet for people with type 2 diabetes seeking optimal control of their blood sugar levels.”

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