Submitted to: Biological Trace Element Research
Publication Type: Review article
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/2001
Publication Date: 6/30/2001
Citation: Anderson, R.A. 2001. Insulin, glucose intolerance and diabetes: recent data regarding the chromium connection. Biological Trace Element Research. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Diet, and lifestyle seem to be major contributing factors in the rapid increases in glucose intolerance and diabetes. One nutrient that is low in many modern diets that are high in refined sugars and fats is chromium. High sugar diets are not only low in chromium but enhance chromium losses. Chromium has been shown to reverse the signs and symptoms of varying stages of glucose intolerance ranging from hypoglycemia to type 2, gestational and steroid-induced diabetes. Chromium functions by improving insulin function which leads to a normalization of blood glucose. Improved chromium nutrition leads to increases in insulin binding, increases in insulin receptor number and activation of insulin receptor kinase leading to increased insulin sensitivity. The magnitude of the improvements due to improved chromium nutrition have ranged from normalization of blood glucose in people with mild glucose intolerance to improvements in hemoglobin Alc from 8.5 +- 0.02% to 6.6 +- 0.1% in people with type 2 diabetes to reversal of nerve and brain disorders in people on total parenteral nutrition. However, several studies have reported no beneficial effects due to supplemental chromium. There are numerous causes of glucose intolerance and diabetes and since chromium is a nutrient and not a drug, it will only be of benefit to those whose abnormalities in glucose and insulin metabolism are related to suboptimal intakes of chromium.