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Two nutrients for diabetics

Get Smart – Nutrients for Diabetics

I have some encouraging news today for those who have type 2 diabetes or a pre-diabetic condition.

New research shows how the combining of two nutrients may help you keep from gaining additional weight, while also curbing fat accumulation in the part of your body where a continuous buildup of fat sets the stage for serious health problems.

Add ’em up

We’ll start with a little math.

One: Chromium is a trace mineral that’s a component of insulin and is required for proper metabolism of glucose, carbohydrates and fats. When your body is deficient in chromium, heart attack risk rises.

One: Picolinic acid (which is naturally produced in the body) has been shown to improve absorption of trace metal ions.

And one plus one equals: Chromium picolinate (CP), which combines chromium with picolinic acid for improved absorption and greater bioactivity.

Last year, the FDA gave permission for the use of this health claim: “One small study suggests that chromium picolinate may reduce the risk of insulin resistance, and therefore possibly may reduce the risk of Type II diabetes.”

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it’s a start. And now researchers from the University of Vermont (UV) have added new support for that claim, as well as support for other benefits.

Controlling the middle

The UV team recruited 29 type 2 diabetics for a nine-month study.


* For three months, all subjects received sulfonylurea (a drug that prompts the pancreas to increase insulin production) and a placebo
* In the second phase, 12 subjects were chosen at random to continue the same regimen, while 17 subjects received sulfonylurea and 1,000 micrograms of chromium picolinate daily for six months
* Body composition, insulin sensitivity and glycemic control were measured at the outset of the study, and at the conclusion of phase one and phase two
* Researchers note that subjects in the placebo group had “a significant increase” in three measurements: body weight, percent of body fat, and total abdominal fat, compared to subjects in the CP group
* CP subjects “had significant improvements in insulin sensitivity” compared to subjects in the placebo group

Researcher William T. Cefalu, M.D., told NutraIngredients that weight gain is common in patients who use sulfonylurea, but diabetics who use this drug might control their weight more effectively with CP use. Dr. Cefalu added: “Chromium picolinate helped reduce abdominal fat accumulation, which is associated with a greater risk for other conditions such as abnormal lipids and hypertension.”

Dietary sources of chromium include broccoli, turkey meat, liver (and other organ meats), seafood, whole grains, oysters, eggs and cheese. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for chromium is 25 mcg per day for women and 35 mcg per day for men. For most people, however, a daily supplement of 600 mcg is well tolerated.

Talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional before beginning any new supplement regimen, especially if you’re already taking a drug to address diabetes issues.