Chromium’s effects on diabetes have garnered attention in the past, but a recent study shows its benefits can be felt before type 2 diabetes develops—and may even prevent it from ever occurring.
The study, led by William Cefalu of the University of Vermont College, tested the effects of Chromax-brand chromium picolinate in rats. The rats all exhibited marked obesity and insulin resistance, and were established animal models for Syndrome X, a metabolic disorder in humans that is believed to substantially increase risks of diabetes and heart disease. By the study’s end, the rats treated with chromium picolinate showed improved glucose disposal and significantly lower fasting insulin levels.
Although the study’s authors remain unclear on why chromium picolinate has the effect it does on animal models, they believe its human ramifications may be far-reaching. Especially noteworthy is its potential for controlling Syndrome X, a metabolic disorder first identified in 1988. Syndrome X, which is characterized by hyperinsulinemia and impaired glucose tolerance, is believed to affect nearly a quarter of all adult Americans, and smaller amounts of people in various parts of Western Europe. It can raise blood sugar levels for hours after consumption of glucose, and may increase the risks of adult-onset diabetes.
“The pancreas is not a bottomless pit, so anything that’s set up to draw on this finite pool will make you more and more unable to dispose of glucose,” says Dr. David Katz, VP of Clinical and Product Development at AMBI, Inc., the parent of the company that manufactures Chromax chromium picolinate. Katz points out that, since chromium picolinate improves insulin sensitivity, it is also beneficial for people who already have diabetes.
Chromium can be found in a number of foods like broccoli or cheese, it never occurs naturally with picolinic acid, a metabolite found in human breast milk. Chromium Picolinate must be taken as a supplement. Recommended dosages range between 200 to 1000 mcg. daily, but prior consultation with a physician is a must.