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What is Chromium Picolinate for Diabetes Control?

written by: DulceCorazon • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 8/31/2010

Is chromium picolinate diabetes supplementation (commonly misspelled as chromium piccolinate diabetes supplementation) a key in controlling diabetes? Know more about the claims and medical concerns regarding the use of chromium picolinate supplementation.

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    About Chromium Picolinate

    Chromium picolinate diabetes supplementation (sometimes referred to as chromium piccolinate diabetes supplementation) has become an intriguing prospect for people with diabetes.

    Chromium is a mineral which has been found to facilitate the body's response to insulin by helping to transport glucose inside the cells. It naturally exists in the body in very small amounts. Although most people consume small amounts of chromium in the diet, only a few individuals are deficient in it. People who are prone to be deficient in chromium are those who are pregnant, the elderly, those who do strenuous exercises and those who consume too much sugar. Sources of chromium include potatoes, broccoli, carrots and whole grains.

    Picolinate, on the other hand, is a derivative of amino acid which allows the body to better utilize chromium readily. In the past, chromium was just a nutrient. However, scientists found out that when combined with piccolinate (or picolinate), there is better absorption of chromium inside the body.

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    Link to Diabetes and Obesity

    Diabetes has long been associated with chromium deficiency, with studies indicating that additional chromium in the body is beneficial to people who have type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes that occurs during pregnancy.

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    There are several claims that support the idea that supplementation with chromium picolinate is a safe practice which can enhance weight loss, lower blood triglycerides and cholesterol levels, reduce body fat and build muscle. Because of these, there was an increase use of chromium picolinate in the sports industry. There are drinks and weight loss products which incorporate chromium picolinate in order to promise weight loss in many individuals.

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    Medical Concerns

    While these claims all support the positive effects of chromium picolinate in diabetes and on weight loss, there are also concerns that the intake of chromium picolinate may have some adverse effects on the body.

    Some research studies conducted in the laboratory using rats and fruit flies indicated that it can cause damage to the DNA and may lead to cancer development.

    Another research study also claimed that chromium picolinate diabetes supplementation may have adverse or toxic effects on the kidneys when used in excessive amounts.

    A study done in obese Zucker rats also indicated that long-term use of chromium picolinate in large doses that exceed those recommended for humans did not have any benefit on their glycemic control.

    A small study also indicated that chromium picolinate does not have any significant effect on the insulin sensitivity of people who are known to have metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increases an individual's risk for diabetes and other heart problems. People with metabolic syndrome present with increase abdominal obesity, hypertension, high blood triglycerides and cholesterol levels and impairment in fasting blood glucose. Researchers, however, suggested that same study be done on a larger scale.

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    Health Recommendations

    Medical experts further recommend that individuals should rely more on clinically proven methods of diabetes prevention through exercise and proper diet.