GDAs (Chromium – Part 2 of 3)


Cefalu et al looked at the characterization of the metabolic and physiologic response to chromium supplementation in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus in 2010 (2.) The objective of the study was to provide a comprehensive evaluation of chromium (Cr) supplementation on metabolic parameters in a cohort of type 2 diabetes mellitus subjects representing a wide phenotype range and to evaluate changes in “responders” and “nonresponders.” After preintervention testing to assess glycemia, insulin sensitivity (assessed by euglycemic clamps), Cr status, and body composition, subjects were randomized in a double-blind fashion to placebo or 1000 microg Cr. A substudy was performed to evaluate 24-hour energy balance/substrate oxidation and myocellular/intrahepatic lipid content. There was not a consistent effect of Cr supplementation to improve insulin action across all phenotypes. Insulin sensitivity was negatively correlated to soleus and tibialis muscle intramyocellular lipids and intrahepatic lipid content. Myocellular lipids were significantly lower in subjects randomized to Cr. At preintervention, responders, defined as insulin sensitivity change from baseline of at least 10% or greater, had significantly lower insulin sensitivity and higher fasting glucose and A(1c) when compared with placebo and nonresponders, that is, insulin sensitivity change from baseline of less than 10%. Clinical response was significantly correlated (P < .001) to the baseline insulin sensitivity, fasting glucose, and A(1c). There was no difference in Cr status between responder and nonresponders. Clinical response to Cr is more likely in insulin-resistant subjects who have more elevated fasting glucose and A(1c) levels. Chromium may reduce myocellular lipids and enhance insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus who do respond clinically independent of effects on weight or hepatic glucose production. Thus, modulation of lipid metabolism by Cr in peripheral tissues may represent a novel mechanism of action.

Moving forward to a more applicable study which looks at chromium supplementation in regards to body weight gain and insulin sensitivity (in…yep you guessed it…type 2 diabetics.) This study had thirty-seven subjects with type 2 diabetes were evaluated. After baseline, subjects were placed on a sulfonylurea (glipizide gastrointestinal therapeutic system 5 mg/day) with placebo for 3 months. Subjects were then randomized in a double-blind fashion to receive either the sulfonylurea plus placebo (n = 12) or the sulfonylurea plus 1,000 microg Cr as CrPic (n = 17) for 6 months. Body composition, insulin sensitivity, and glycemic control were determined at baseline, end of the 3-month single-blind placebo phase, and end of study. Subjects randomized to sulfonylurea/placebo, as opposed to those randomized to sulfonylurea/CrPic, had a significant increase in body weight (2.2 kg, P < 0.001 vs. 0.9 kg, P = 0.11), percent body fat (1.17%, P < 0.001 vs. 0.12%, P = 0.7), and total abdominal fat (32.5 cm(2), P < 0.05 vs. 12.2 cm(2), P < 0.10) from baseline. Subjects randomized to sulfonylurea/CrPic had significant improvements in insulin sensitivity corrected for fat-free mass (28.8, P < 0.05 vs. 15.9, P = 0.4), GHb (-1.16%, P < 0.005 vs. -0.4%, P = 0.3), and free fatty acids (-0.2 mmol/l, P < 0.001 vs. -0.12 mmol/l, P < 0.03) as opposed to sulfonylurea/placebo. This study demonstrates that CrPic supplementation in subjects with type 2 diabetes who are taking sulfonylurea agents significantly improves insulin sensitivity and glucose control. Further, CrPic supplementation significantly attenuated body weight gain and visceral fat accumulation compared with the placebo group (3.)


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  2. 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 (
  3. 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 (
  4. 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 (
  5. 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 (
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  8. 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 (
  9. Isolation and characterization of a biologically active chromium oligopeptide from bovine liver. C. M. Davis, J. B. Vincent. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1997 (
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  12. 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 (
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  15. 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 (
  16. Chromium: celebrating 50 years as an essential element? John B. Vincent. Dalton Trans. 2010 (
  17. Chromium oligopeptide activates insulin receptor tyrosine kinase activity. C. M. Davis, J. B. Vincent. Biochemistry. 1997 (
  18. The new elements of insulin signaling. Insulin receptor substrate-1 and proteins with SH2 domains. M. G. Myers, Jr, M. F. White. Diabetes. 1993 (
  19. 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 (
  20. Quest for the molecular mechanism of chromium action and its relationship to diabetes. J. B. Vincent. Nutr Rev. 2000 (

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