Chromium picolinate: Does it help for diabetes?

Chromium picolinate: Does it help for diabetes?

Many studies have examined the effects of chromium supplements on blood sugar control. The results of the individual studies have subsequenrly been pooled and meta-analyzed, to arrive at more reliable conclusions. The effects, however, have been mixed.

A 2010 meta-analysis found that chromium supplements reduce HbA1c, fasting blood sugar, and insulin resistance, and increase carbohydrate tolerance in type 2 diabetics, compared to placebo. 1

A 2013 meta-analysis showed that chromium supplements can reduce fasting blood sugar, but not HbA1c, in type 2 diabetics, compared to placebo. 2

Of the two most recent meta-analyses, both published in 2014, one found that chromium supplements do lower fasting blood sugar and HbA1c in diabetics.3 However, another 2014 meta-analysis found that chromium supplements do not lower fasting blood sugar.4

Chromium deficiency certainly causes insulin resistance, but an outright deficiency is unlikely in the average type 2 diabetic due to the good availability of chromium in food.5

Based on the mixed results, it’s difficult to recommend chromium as a good supplement for diabetics in general. You could give it a try for 3 months and see how your blood sugar reacts. If you don’t notice a benefit, stop taking it.

Dose: Around 200 micrograms of chromium per day should be enough as a supplement.

Form: Chromium picolinate is appropriate because it has been widely studied.1

Sources

  1. Patal PC, Cardino MT, Jimeno CA. A Meta-analysis on the Effect of Chromium Picolinate on Glucose and Lipid Profiles Among Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Phillipine Journal of Internal Medicine. 2010;48(1):32-37.
  2. Abdollahi M, Farshchi A, Nikfar S, Seyedifar M. Effect of chromium on glucose and lipid profiles in patients with type 2 diabetes; a meta-analysis review of randomized trials. J Pharm Pharm Sci.16(1):99-114.
  3. Suksomboon N, Poolsup N, Yuwanakorn A. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy and safety of chromium supplementation in diabetes. J Clin Pharm Ther. Jun;39(3):292-306.
  4. Bailey CH. Improved meta-analytic methods show no effect of chromium supplements on fasting glucose. Biol Trace Elem Res. Jan;157(1):1-8.
  5. Landman GW, Bilo HJ, Houweling ST, Kleefstra N. Chromium does not belong in the diabetes treatment arsenal: Current evidence and future perspectives. World J Diabetes. Apr 15;5(2):160-164.