A peer-reviewed analysis on chromium picolinate published in the current edition of Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, confirmed that chromium picolinate is effective in improving glycemic control and normalizing lipid levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
The review, which analyzed research on chromium picolinate, supports the consistent beneficial effects of chromium picolinate and refutes a previous review that analyzed efficacy after combining results from all types of supplemental chromium.
"The main messages are that all forms of chromium are not equivalent, and that higher doses of chromium picolinate are required for people with type 2 diabetes," said C. Leigh Broadhurst, PhD, Research Chemist, the lead author of the publication. "Previous chromium reviews examined all types of chromium at widely varying doses. But separating out chromium picolinate, which yields highly consistent results in research studies, compared to other chromium supplements shows that at doses between 200--1000 mcg it is a superior nutritional adjunct to diabetes treatments."
The review analyzed 15 clinical studies of people with diabetes. All studies showed chromium picolinate produced benefits in one or more standard measures of diabetes management, with no adverse events reported. The studies examined people with type 2, type 1, gestational and corticosteroid-induced diabetes. Although glycemic control varied by trial, all 15 trials showed improvements in one or more measurements of glycemic control, including fasting glucose, postprandial glucose, fasting insulin, postprandial insulin, glycated hemoglobin, or insulin sensitivity.
The authors concluded the greater bioavailability of chromium picolinate compared to other forms of chromium may explain its comparatively significant superior effects on glycemic and lipidemic control.
Supplemental chromium is available in several forms, including chromium picolinate, chromium chloride, and chromium nicotinate.
Research indicates that chromium picolinate, the most studied form of chromium, has enhanced absorption and efficacy. A human clinical study conducted by Ohio State University Department of Nutrition and presented at the 2005 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) annual meeting showed that chromium picolinate is better absorbed than other commercially available forms of chromium.
Additionally, an animal study conducted at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that chromium picolinate was better absorbed by the tissues (e.g., liver and muscle) than chromium nicotinate and chromium chloride. Absorption into the tissue is important because for a mineral to be beneficial, it must survive the digestive tract and reach the bloodstream. Otherwise, minerals pass through the body, leaving it void of necessary nutrients.
About the Scientific Review
The studies reviewed in this paper were identified from a number of sources, such as PubMed, Science Direct, and a past review of chromium effects on glycemic control. A total of 1,690 subjects, including 1,505 receiving chromium picolinate, participated in these trials. Twelve of the 15 studies were randomized, controlled trials and three were open-label trials. Chromium picolinate dosages ranged from 200--1000 mcg chromium per day, and the duration of the supplementation ranged from one week to 10 months.
Chromium Picolinate for Diabetes
Chromium picolinate, which is sold in combination with the B-vitamin biotin under the brand name of Diachrome® for people with diabetes, is an essential trace mineral that helps to regulate insulin function. The chromium picolinate in Diachrome has been recognized as safe by many of the world's leading government and academic research institutions, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Institute of Medicine and the UK's Food Standards Agency.
In addition, biotin has been deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is also Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for use in foods and supplements.