May 21, 2007 / 5:01 PM / 12 years ago

Chromium no help in controlling diabetes

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People with type 2 diabetes often take chromium supplements to help keep their blood sugar levels under control, but new findings from a Dutch study raise doubts about the value of this approach.

“In non-Western diabetic populations, there is some evidence that chromium might be beneficial,” Dr. Nanno Kleefstra, told Reuters Health. “In Western populations ... it does not seem to help in the dosages used.”

Kleefstra, from Isala Clinics in Zwolle, and colleagues investigated the effects of chromium in people with type 2 diabetes residing in a northern region of the Netherlands. Fifty-seven patients were randomly assigned to take 400 micrograms of chromium per day or a placebo.

After 3 and 6 months of treatment, there were no differences between the chromium group and the placebo group for fasting blood glucose levels, long-term control of glucose levels as measured by A1c, blood pressure, body fat percentage, weight, lipid profile, and how well they responded to the insulin their bodies produced, the investigators report in the medical journal Diabetes Care.

“Especially in Western patients, chromium is not beneficial for improving glycemic control,” Kleefstra concluded, probably because most people already get sufficient amounts of chromium.

“It would be interesting to study a deficient population,” Kleefstra added. To do so, “I think it is essential to get a tool with which we can detect whether patients are chromium-deficient or not.”

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, May 2007.

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