GDAs (Chromium – Part 1 of 3)


GDAs or glucose disposal agents are growing in popularity within the supplement industry. Essentially what these are made for are to help manage glucose and insulin levels in an effort to increase partitioning into positive compartments. In this series, I want to go over my favorite glucose disposal agent ingredients including chromium, berberine, cinnamon, gymnema, banaba leaf, and alpha lipoic acid.

First, we’ll begin with chromium. Chromium regulates insulin levels and improves insulin actions within our bodies mainly from its main mechanism that is connected to chromodulin (a protein that changes the signaling of insulin receptors in the body.) Once chromodulin isn’t functioning properly, insulin functioning is drastically reduced. Luckily, chromium has a tremendous amount of literature I would like to go over to ensure you have a full understanding of its benefits and method of action. A study from Abdollahi et al looked at the effect of chromium on glucose and lipid profiles in patients with type 2 diabetes (a meta-analysis review of randomized trials.) The abstract is stated as follows: Chromium (Cr) as an essential trace element in metabolism of carbohydrate, lipid and protein is currently prescribed to control diabetes mellitus (DM). The objective of this meta-analysis was to compare the effect of Cr versus placebo (Pl) on glucose and lipid profiles in patients with type 2 DM. Literature searches in PubMed, Scopus, Scirus, Google Scholar and IranMedex was made by use of related terms during the period of 2000-2012. Eligible studies were randomized clinical trials (RCTs) with intake of Cr higher than 250 µg at least for three months in type 2 DM. Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), fasting blood sugar (FBS), total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C), triglyceride (TG), and body mass index (BMI) were the main outcomes. Seven out of 13 relevant studies met the criteria and were included in the meta-analysis. HbA1c change in diabetic patients in Cr supplement therapy comparing to Pl was -0.33 with 95%CI= -0.72 to 0.06 (P= 0.1). Change of FBG in Cr therapy vs. Pl was -0.95 with 95%CI= -1.42 to -0.49 (P< 0.0001). TC change in Cr therapy vs. Pl was 0.07 with 95%CI= -0.16 to 0.31 (P= 0.54). TG change in diabetic patients in Cr supplement therapy comparing to Pl was -0.15 with 95%CI= -0.36 to 0.07 (P= 0.18). Cr lowers FBS but does not affect HbA1c, lipids and BMI (1.)


  • Effect of chromium on glucose and lipid profiles in patients with type 2 diabetes; a meta-analysis review of randomized trials. Mohammad Abdollahi, Amir Farshchi, Shekoufeh Nikfar, Meysam Seyedifar. J Pharm Pharm Sci. 2013 (
  • Characterization of the Metabolic and Physiologic Response from Chromium Supplementation in Subjects with Type 2 Diabetes. William T Cefalu, Jennifer Rood, Patricia Pinsonat, Jianhua Qin, Olga Sereda, Lilian Levitan, Richard Anderson, Xian H Zhang, Julie M Martin, Corby Martin, Zhong Q Wang, Bradley Newcomer. Metabolism. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2014 May 14. Published in final edited form as: Metabolism. 2010 (
  • Chromium picolinate supplementation attenuates body weight gain and increases insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes. Julie Martin, Zhong Q. Wang, Xian H. Zhang, Deborah Wachtel, Julia Volaufova, Dwight E. Matthews, William T. Cefalu. Diabetes Care. 2006 (
  • Role of chromium supplementation in Indians with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Debjani Ghosh, Basudev Bhattacharya, Biswajit Mukherjee, Byomkesh Manna, Mitali Sinha, Jyothi Chowdhury, Subhankar Chowdhury. J Nutr Biochem. 2002 (
  • Chromium treatment has no effect in patients with type 2 diabetes in a Western population: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Nanne Kleefstra, Sebastiaan T. Houweling, Stephan J. L. Bakker, Simon Verhoeven, Rijk O. B. Gans, Betty Meyboom-de Jong, Henk J. G. Bilo. Diabetes Care. 2007 (
  • Chromium as a supplement. H. C. Lukaski. Annu Rev Nutr. 1999 (
  • Purification and properties of biologically active chromium complex from bovine colostrum. A. Yamamoto, O. Wada, H. Suzuki. J Nutr. 1988 (
  • Age-related decreases in chromium levels in 51,665 hair, sweat, and serum samples from 40,872 patients–implications for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes mellitus. S. Davies, J. McLaren Howard, A. Hunnisett, M. Howard. Metabolism. 1997 (
  • Isolation and characterization of a biologically active chromium oligopeptide from bovine liver. C. M. Davis, J. B. Vincent. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1997 (
  • Chromium deficiency during total parenteral nutrition. H. Freund, S. Atamian, J. E. Fischer. JAMA. 1979 (
  • Effect of chromium nicotinic acid supplementation on selected cardiovascular disease risk factors. V. L. Thomas, S. S. Gropper. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1996 (
  • Glucose tolerance factor extracted from yeast: oral insulin-mimetic and insulin-potentiating agent: in vivo and in vitro studies. Sarah Weksler-Zangen, Tal Mizrahi, Itamar Raz, Nitsa Mirsky. Br J Nutr. 2012 (
  • Chromium in biological systems, I. Some observations on glucose tolerance factor in yeast. N. Mirsky, A. Weiss, Z. Dori. J Inorg Biochem. 1980 (
  • A glucose tolerance factor and its differentiation from factor 3. K. SCHWARZ, W. MERTZ. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1957 (
  • Effects of niacin-bound chromium and grape seed proanthocyanidin extract on the lipid profile of hypercholesterolemic subjects: a pilot study. H. G. Preuss, D. Wallerstedt, N. Talpur, S. O. Tutuncuoglu, B. Echard, A. Myers, M. Bui, D. Bagchi. J Med. 2000 (
  • Chromium: celebrating 50 years as an essential element? John B. Vincent. Dalton Trans. 2010 (
  • Chromium oligopeptide activates insulin receptor tyrosine kinase activity. C. M. Davis, J. B. Vincent. Biochemistry. 1997 (
  • The new elements of insulin signaling. Insulin receptor substrate-1 and proteins with SH2 domains. M. G. Myers, Jr, M. F. White. Diabetes. 1993 (
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Chromium in Alleviating Insulin Resistance. Yinan Hua, Suzanne Clark, Jun Ren, Nair Sreejayan. J Nutr Biochem. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2013 Apr 1. Published in final edited form as: J Nutr Biochem. 2012 (
  • Quest for the molecular mechanism of chromium action and its relationship to diabetes. J. B. Vincent. Nutr Rev. 2000 (