Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Diet, Genomics and Immunology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #86488


item Bryden, Noella
item Anderson, Richard

Submitted to: Diabetes Care
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/18/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Steroid-induced diabetes is a common side effect of taking corticosteroid drugs. These drugs are taken routinely for allergies, arthritis, asthma and related conditions. The diabetes resulting from taking these drugs is very difficult to treat and conventional treatments used for diabetes are not effective. This study demonstrated that taking these drugs increased the losses of the essential nutrient, chromium, which is involved in the control of diabetes. Supplemental chromium also reversed the symptoms of drug-induced diabetes in 37 of 40 patients. This study will be of major benefit to medical practitioners and their patients and the thousands of people with steroid-induced diabetes and high blood sugar.

Technical Abstract: Objective. To determine if corticosteroid treatment increases chromium losses and if corticosteroid-induced diabetes (steroid diabetes) can be reversed by supplemental Cr. Design and Methods. The effects of corticosteroid treatment on Cr losses of 13 patients were determined. Thirty-eight additional patients with steroid diabetes were supplemented with Cr, 600 ug/d as Cr picolinate, to determine if supplemental Cr counteracts steroid diabetes. All patients were treated with Cr since three patients who were treated initially with supplemental Cr all responded and we have shown previously, using double-blind placebo controlled studies, that blood glucose of patients with impaired glucose tolerance and/or diabetes improves following Cr supplementation. Results. Urinary Cr losses following corticosteroid treatment increased from 155+28 ng/d before corticosteroid treatment to 244+33 ng/d in the first three days sfollowing treatment. Chromium supplementation of patients with steroid induced diabetes resulted in decreases in fasting blood glucose values from greater than 13.9 mmol/L (250 mg/dL) to less than 8.3 mmol/L (150 mg/dL) in 35 of 38 patients. Hypoglycemic drugs were also reduced 50% in all patients when given supplemental Cr. Conclusions. These data demonstrate that corticosteroid treatment increases Cr losses and that steroid-induced diabetes can be reversed by Cr supplementation.