Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

The Role of Chromium in Diabetes

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

The Role of Chromium in Diabetes

Article excerpt

The Role of Chromium in Diabetes

BELTSVILLE, MD. -- Adults predisposed to diabetes often have high blood levels of insulin, the hormone that allows sugar to be used as energy by cells; these high insulin levels in prediabetic adults indicate a growing resistance to the hormone.

A cycle exists in which high sugar diets deplete the body of the trace element chromium and low chromium stores, in turn, cause elevated insulin levels, according to Richard A. Anderson, Ph.D., a chemist for the Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Md.

"Things that make insulin rise also stimulate chromium losses," Dr. Anderson said. More than two decades ago, it was found that, when chromium was removed from the diets of rats, their blood sugar levels increased, but studies of the role of the element among people have been contradictory.

In a study to be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dr. Anderson found that 12 normal test subjects lost the most chromium and secreted the most insulin after drinking a solution of glucose followed by one containing fructose. Eight other participants, who already had the impaired glucose metabolism that often precedes diabetes, also secreted excess insulin after drinking the sugary solution, but their chromium losses were less than the others "because they may no longer have adequate chromium reserves," Dr. …

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