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Chromium Supplements May Help Control Blood Sugar

Chromium, an essential mineral, has already shown some promise as a supplement in helping to stabilize blood sugar levels. Now, another study adds to chromium’s résumé, finding a link between chromium supplementation and lower blood sugar levels in people with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes. Published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, the study randomly divided 71 people with type 2 diabetes who had elevated markers for long-term, poorly managed blood sugar into two groups: the first group received 600 micrograms of supplemental chromium picolinate per day, and the second group received a placebo. All patients were given nutritional guidance in accordance with the American Diabetes Association and were directed to continue using any prescribed medications. Researchers looked for changes in the participants’ blood sugar by testing after-meal and fasting blood sugar levels at the beginning of the study and after four months. They also monitored changes in cholesterol levels. Here is what they found:

  • The chromium group experienced statistically significant reductions in fasting blood sugar levels (which dropped by 31.0 mg/dL) and in after-meal blood sugar levels (which dropped by 37.0 mg/dL) compared with the placebo group (which dropped by 14.0 mg/dL and 11.5 mg/dL, respectively).
  • There were no changes in cholesterol levels in the chromium group; however, cholesterol levels were reduced in the placebo group.
  • While chromium levels increased in the chromium-supplemented group, ferritin, a marker of iron status, decreased. The researchers explained that chromium might affect iron status, but the clinical importance of this is still uncertain.

This study is intriguing because it shows that chromium supplementation could aid in blood sugar management without affecting cholesterol levels in people with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes. More research is needed to investigate the long-term effects of chromium supplementation in people with type 2 diabetes, as well as the ramifications, if any, on iron status.

Source: Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology

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