Study: Chromium Picolinate May Provide Cardiovascular Benefits in Pre-Diabetes

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 21, 2005 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- A preclinical study conducted at the University of Alberta shows daily use of chromium picolinate provides significant cardiovascular benefits in pre-diabetic rats that have insulin resistance. The study, presented on Friday at the 3rd World Congress on Insulin Resistance Syndrome, is the first of its kind to show that chromium picolinate may improve endothelial function -- the overall health of the circulatory system -- and thus may limit macrovascular complications in pre-diabetes.

"The rats used in the study are a unique animal model of human vascular disease that exhibit profound insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease, and they allow for the study of the relationships between insulin resistance and vascular function," said James C. Russell, PhD, the study's lead investigator and Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta. "The protective micro and macrovascular effect of chromium picolinate observed in this model is significant as it demonstrates the need for additional investigation to further validate the use of the mineral as it relates to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications."

The eight-week trial evaluated 30 rats using the JCR: LA-cp rat model developed by Dr. Russell. The study was designed to examine whether chromium picolinate could reduce the negative effects caused by insulin resistance. The JCR: LA-cp rats were used since these animals have the same micro and macrovascular complications associated with pre-diabetes in humans, including hypertension, high triglycerides and impaired kidney function. The study found that daily treatment with chromium picolinate increased relaxation of the blood vessels and improved blood flow to the heart.

"These results are encouraging as it is the first time we are seeing the benefits of chromium picolinate in improving endothelial function," said James Komorowski, MS, Vice President of Technical Services and Scientific Affairs at Nutrition 21. "We look forward to the outcomes of two NIH clinical trials that are also examining the role of chromium picolinate in people with insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease risk factors."

The study by Dr. Russell also showed an improvement in kidney function and in the severity of glomerular sclerosis in pre-diabetic rats treated with chromium picolinate, suggesting a potential renal protective benefit. This finding supports previous research demonstrating the safety of chromium picolinate and its potential benefits in liver and kidney functions. An earlier study published in the summer 2005 issue of Biological Trace Elements Research found that chromium picolinate improved kidney function in obese, diabetic mice. Animals were found to have reduced urinary albumin levels and improved renal chromium concentrations, compared with control group.

About Pre-Diabetes

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, many people with insulin resistance have high levels of blood glucose and high levels of insulin circulating in their blood at the same time. People with blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet in the diabetic range have pre-diabetes (1). Recent research has shown that some long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, may already be occurring during pre-diabetes. Studies have also shown that most people with pre-diabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. People with pre-diabetes have a 1.5-fold risk of cardiovascular disease compared to people with normal blood glucose. There are 41 million people in the United States, ages 40 to 74, who have pre-diabetes. People with pre-diabetes can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes (2).

About Nutrition 21

Nutrition 21 is a nutritional bioscience company and the maker of chromium-based supplements with health benefits substantiated by clinical research. The company markets Chromax(R) chromium picolinate,, which is the most-studied form of the essential mineral chromium. Nutrition 21 also developed Diachrome(R), which is available through diabetes educators or at Nutrition 21 holds 36 patents for nutrition products and uses, 27 of which are for chromium compounds and their uses. More information is available at

(1) National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. "Insulin Resistance and
Pre-Diabetes." Retrieved November 16, 2005 from

(2) American Diabetes Association. "Frequently Asked Questions about
Pre-Diabetes." Retrieved November 16, 2005 from

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