Chromium prevents diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity

Thursday, November 05, 2009
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
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Tags: chromium, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Of all the trace minerals, chromium may be the most beneficial to diabetes patients. It's an insulin potentiator, so it makes the body's own insulin production go further.

If you have diabetes or blood sugar disorders, you need to know about chromium. We've assembled a large collection of quotes for you right here, but at the same time, we encourage you to check with your naturopathic physician before beginning chromium supplementation so that you can get a full review of your diet, supplements and blood sugar situation.

Here's the collection of quotes from many of the top health authors writing today...

Chromium vs. diabetes

Both celiac disease and diabetes are major contributors to the epidemic of magnesium deficiency and chromium deficiency. Up to 90 percent of Americans and Canadians consume less than the minimal 50 micrograms of chromium a day. It follows that celiacs eating a normal diet would be profoundly chromium deficient. Chromium deficiency is associated with 1. hyperglycemia 2. hyperinsulinism/insulin-resistance 3. insulin-dependent diabetes (IDDM, Type 1) 4. adult-onset diabetes (NIDDM, Type 2) 5. gestational diabetes (diabetes of pregnancy) 6. corticosteroid-induced diabetes
- Dangerous Grains: Why Gluten Cereal Grains May Be Hazardous To Your Health by James Braly M.D. and Ron Hoggan M.A.

Industrial chromium, a completely different form than that found in foods, is toxic. People with diabetes who take chromium should be under medical supervision, since their insulin dosage may need to be reduced as blood sugar drops. Many studies detailing chromium's benefits have used chromium picolinate, an easily absorbed form. Chromium nicotinate and amino acid forms of chromium are less easily absorbed than chromium picolinate but can supply adequate amounts of the mineral. The least absorbable form is chromium chloride, which is found in some multivitamin/mineral supplements.
- Prevention's Healing With Vitamins : The Most Effective Vitamin and Mineral Treatments for Everyday Health Problems and Serious Disease by The Editors of Prevention Magazine Health Books

When sufficient levels of chromium are present much lower amounts of insulin are required. Diabetes has been shown to develop as a consequence of chromium deficiency in experimental animals and in humans sustained by prolonged total parenteral nutrition. Chromium deficiency is relatively common in patients with Type II diabetes and may impair the function of GTF, causing the uptake of glucose into cells to become less efficient. Impaired chromium metabolism may also play a role in diabetes of pregnancy. High insulin levels also seem to increase chromium excretion.
- The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbs by Nicola Reavley

The results of several studies suggest that chromium may play a role in controlling diabetes and heart disease. For example: Diabetes. In one study, 180 people with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to receive 100 mcg elemental chromium, 500 mcg elemental chromium, or a placebo. Four months later, those taking either dose of chromium scored significantly lower on their fasting and two-hour insulin level tests, indicating improvement in their disease. Those taking the higher amount of chromium were also found to have lower total cholesterol levels.
- The Side Effects Bible: The Dietary Solution to Unwanted Side Effects of Common Medications by Frederic Vagnini, M.D. and Barry Fox, Ph.D.

Very small amounts of organic Chromium are found in the blood. That small amount is extremely important in aiding insulin in glucose metabolism. Chromium is the active factor in the substance GTF-glucose tolerance factor. It makes insulin more effective. In fact without Chromium insulin can't do its job. It can help prevent diabetes or hypoglycemia or help those with diabetes and hypoglycemia get by with less insulin. As one gets older less Chromium is retained in the body. Also, a fetus may rob the Chromium stores of pregnant women.
- The How to Herb Book: Let's Remedy the Situation by Velma J. Keith and Monteen Gordon

A deficiency of CoQ10 has been linked to diabetes. Chromium - a trace mineral depleted by diabetic medication, excess iron, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugar. Chromium is necessary for maintaining stable blood sugar levels through proper insulin utilization. Chromium assists in the treatment of diabetes and hypoglycemia. A deficiency can produce glucose intolerance (especially in diabetics). Deficiency symptoms parallel those of diabetes. Diabetes and coronary heart disease have been linked to low chromium concentrations in human tissue.
- A Drug-Free Approach To Healthcare, Revised Edition by Dr. David W. Tanton; Ph.D.

Symptoms of chromium deficiency - increased glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, and triglycerides - resemble those of prediabetes. This certainly doesn't mean that chromium alone will reverse prediabetes; however, many studies have shown that either chromium polynicotinate or chromium picolinate supplements do in fact improve insulin function and can lead to improved glucose tolerance. Based on the research, the most effective dose of chromium appears to be 1,000 mcg, or 500 mcg twice daily with meals.
- Stop Prediabetes Now: The Ultimate Plan to Lose Weight and Prevent Diabetes by Jack Challem

While the improvements are not dramatic, it makes sense to include chromium for improved heart health. Anyone with diabetes or hypoglycemia should definitely be supplementing with chromium. The fact that chromium makes the cells more sensitive to insulin has been borne out by studies done with people who had Type 2 diabetes. Often, those who have Type 2 diabetes have a chromium deficiency, which appears to make them more susceptible to the condition.
- The Natural Physician's Healing Therapies by Mark Stengler, N.D.

Glycation is responsible for many of the complications of diabetes, a process that chromium inhibits. To assess the effects of chromium on glycosylated hemoglobin levels, 180 Type II diabetes patients were divided into three groups and supplemented daily with 200 mcg of chromium, 1000 mcg of chromium, or a placebo (Baker 1996). After 4 months, there was improvement in both chromium-treated groups. Glycosylated hemoglobin (a measurement of average blood glucose) over a 2- to 3-month period was (on an average) 6.6% in the high dose group, 7.5% in the low-dose group, and 8.
- Disease Prevention and Treatment by The Life Extension Editorial Staff

It occurs naturally in three different forms with one particular form (chromium III) making up the majority of dietary chromium. The average adult body contains between 0.4 and 6 mg of chromium and older people usually have lower levels. There is a wide geographical variation in chromium levels and population studies suggest that the incidence of diabetes and heart disease is lower in areas where chromium intakes are relatively high. Chromium is essential for normal sugar metabolism.
- The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbs by Nicola Reavley

Because chromium appears to enhance the action of insulin and chromium deficiency results in impaired glucose tolerance, chromium insufficiency has been hypothesized to be a contributing factor to the development of Type-2 diabetes. Individuals with Type-2 diabetes have been found to have higher rates of urinary chromium loss than healthy individuals, especially those with diabetes of more than two years duration.
- There Is a Cure for Diabetes: The Tree of Life 21-Day+ Program by Gabriel Cousens

In double blind studies, just the addition of chromium supplementation, with no other dietary changes, altered the body fat composition to increase non fat body mass. One factor affecting chromium stores in the body is the amount of sugar that an individual consumes. Once chromium has acted as a cofactor in insulin response, it is excreted in the urine. With the high sugar diet of today, the turnover rate of chromium is quite high. Patients with the highest risk for developing frank diabetes need chromium the most. The highest tissue stores of chromium occur in newborns.
- The Miracle Enzyme Is Serrapeptase by Robert Redfern

Women with gestational diabetes whose diets were supplemented with 4 mcg of chromium per kilogram of body weight daily as chromium picolinate for eight weeks had decreased fasting blood glucose and insulin levels, compared with those who took a placebo. Dosage: Niacin-bound chromium is more bioavailable than chromium picolinate. A recent study at the University of California found that chromium polynicotinate was absorbed and retained up to 311 percent better than chromium picolinate and 672 percent better than chromium chloride.
- There Is a Cure for Diabetes: The Tree of Life 21-Day+ Program by Gabriel Cousens

For example, in diabetes, because of all the refined foods we eat, we have created a deficiency of chromium because chromium is pulled out of our own tissues to help metabolize the refined foods, which no longer have the chromium needed to metabolize them. The long-term result is a deficiency in chromium. So when we are taking in lots of refined carbohydrates and need chromium to help metabolize the sugar and to make the insulin work correctly, we become chromium deficient.
- There Is a Cure for Diabetes: The Tree of Life 21-Day+ Program by Gabriel Cousens

Some research also suggests that chromium polynicotinate is better absorbed than other forms. (The term polynicotinate indicates that the chromium is bound to vitamin B3, sometimes called nicotinic acid.) Meanwhile, research has shown that chromium picolinate helps to prevent weight gain associated with the use of the diabetic drug glipizide (Glucotrol). Other forms of chromium, such as chromium glycinate chelate, may work as well. Regardless of the specific form, the research on chromium and diabetes points to the greater efficacy of higher dosages, so we recommend trying 500 mcg twice daily.
- Stop Prediabetes Now: The Ultimate Plan to Lose Weight and Prevent Diabetes by Jack Challem

Reversing a chromium deficiency by supplementing the diet with chromium has also been demonstrated to lower body weight while increasing lean body mass. All of the effects of chromium appear to be due to increased insulin sensitivity. A chromium deficiency may be an underlying contributing factor to the large number of Americans suffering from diabetes, hypoglycemia, and obesity. There is evidence that marginal chromium deficiency is common in the United States. Although no RDA has been established for chromium, at least 200 mcg / day appears necessary for optimal sugar regulation.
- Textbook of Natural Medicine 2nd Edition Volume 2 by Michael T. Murray, ND

Recent studies suggest that chromium can prevent type II diabetes, or insulin resistance. Chromium functions by increasing the activity of insulin, thus reducing the amount of insulin required to control blood-sugar levels. In one study, Richard Anderson, Ph.D., of the U.S.D.A. Human Nutrition Research Center (working with Chinese researchers at Beijing Hospital) tested the effect of chromium on adult patients in the early stages of type II diabetes.
- Earl Mindell's Secret Remedies by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D.

Based on observations that rats, which were fed a chromium-free diet, showed symptoms of diabetes mellitus type II, herbal drugs with an antidiabetic action were tested for their chromium content. Bilberry leaves were shown to contain a particularly high chromium level of 9.0 ppm. Chromium is a component of the so-called glucose tolerance factor, which is suitable for treating induced diabetes mellitus type II in animal experiments. Further research is required to determine whether the chromium content of the dried leaf is responsible for an antidiabetic action.
- Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals: A Handbook for Practice on a Scientific Basis by Josef A. Brinckmann and Michael P. Lindenmaier

A few trials have reported no beneficial effects from chromium supplementation. All of these trials used 200 mcg or less of supplemental chromium, which is often not adequate for people with diabetes, especially if it is in a form that is poorly absorbed. The typical amount of chromium used in research trials is 200 mcg per day, although as much as 1,000 mcg per day has been used. Many doctors recommend up to 1,000 mcg per day for people with diabetes. Supplementation with chromium or brewer's yeast could potentially enhance the effects of drugs for diabetes.
- The Natural Pharmacy: Complete A-Z Reference to Natural Treatments for Common Health Conditions by Alan R. Gaby, M.D., Jonathan V. Wright, M.D., Forrest Batz, Pharm.D. Rick Chester, RPh., N.D., DipLAc. George Constantine, R.Ph., Ph.D. Linnea D. Thompson, Pharm.D., N.D.

Our refined oils contain no chromium. And even raw sugar contains 83 percent more chromium than the refined white product! Not only do these foods not supply chromium, they contribute to the loss of the chromium supply you were born with, because they use up some of your chromium stores in their metabolism. And our refined diet not only robs us of our chromium, it literally robs us of our health: witness the tragic rise in heart disease and blood sugar abnormalities (diabetes and hypoglycemia) in our country since World War II.
- The Complete Guide to Health and Nutrition by Gary Null

If you want to try chromium supplements, discuss it with your doctor. This is especially important if you have diabetes, since chromium may affect your blood sugar level. Also, many people make the mistake of taking chromium at the same time that they take vitamin C. Vitamin C interferes with the uptake of chromium. Taking more than 1,200 milligrams of vitamin C daily can cause diarrhea in some people.
- Prevention's Healing With Vitamins : The Most Effective Vitamin and Mineral Treatments for Everyday Health Problems and Serious Disease by The Editors of Prevention Magazine Health Books

About 90 percent of the population do not get enough chromium from their food. (Food sources of chromium include broccoli, brewer's yeast, and shellfish.) To make matters worse, the high-sugar diet typical of many Americans can increase the excretion of chromium, leaving less chromium in the body. Many researchers believe that chromium deficiency may be why Type II diabetes is a virtual epidemic in the United States. Here's yet another reason to take chromium picolinate: it may help you live longer.
- Earl Mindell's Supplement Bible: A Comprehensive Guide to Hundreds of NEW Natural Products that Will Help You Live Longer, Look Better, Stay Heathier, ... and Much More! by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D.

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About the author: Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is the founding editor of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news website, now reaching 7 million unique readers a month.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

In addition to being the co-star of the popular GAIAM TV series called Secrets to Health, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

In 2013, Adams created the Natural News Forensic Food Laboratory, a research lab that analyzes common foods and supplements, reporting the results to the public. He is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released ten popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

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