Study Challenges Chromium Therapy for the Treatment of Insulin Resistance

UCSF endocrinologist Umesh Masharani and his colleagues have dispelled a commonly held belief that chromium supplements improve insulin sensitivity and help prevent and treat diabetes. Through a 16 week, double blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of chromium picolinate therapy conducted on 31 non-obese subjects with normal blood sugar, there was no significant change in insulin sensitivity between groups.

And, paradoxically, subjects who had the highest chromium levels in their blood had a decline in insulin sensitivity. It is estimated that over 10 million Americans take chromium supplements to improve insulin action and glucose tolerance, at a cost of $150 million dollars per year. Recently published in the journal BMC Endocrine Disorders, Dr. Masharani’s research suggests that caution should be exercised in recommending the use of this supplement for diabetes prevention and blood sugar control.