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New Research Presented at American Heart Association Conference Suggests Lower Chromium Levels Linked to Increased Risk of Disease

Nutrition 21 Points to Expanding Therapeutic Market For Chromium Picolinate

PURCHASE, N.Y., April 16, 2004 - Nutrition 21, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXXI) – New data suggesting that high levels of chromium in the body are associated with a lower prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in men, were presented recently by Harvard researchers at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 44th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention in San Francisco. The findings are based on a retrospective analysis of chromium levels in toenail samples of 1,254 males ages 40-75 from the Harvard Health Professional Follow-up Study (1986 – 1994).

“One of the goals of our ongoing research program is to confirm that low chromium status is integrally linked to an increased risk of diseases associated with insulin resistance,” remarked James Komorowski, MS, VP Technical Services and Scientific Affairs, Nutrition 21, Inc. “The Harvard findings contribute greatly to that understanding.”

Chromium is an essential mineral critical to proper insulin function and needed for carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. A number of clinical studies have shown that nutritional supplementation with chromium, in the form of chromium picolinate, helps reduce insulin resistance, and improve blood sugar, triglyceride and cholesterol levels -- all of which are associated with cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. Nutrition 21’s Chromax® chromium picolinate, patented for nutritional therapies including glucose control, has been used in dozens of clinical trials, and is currently being studied in National Institutes of Health funded research programs at the University of Pennsylvania and Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

“As the scientific and medical communities search for new ways to prevent and treat obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as other chronic conditions like depression, they are increasingly focused on insulin resistance as a common underlying physiological problem,” said Gail Montgomery, President and CEO, Nutrition 21, Inc. “A growing body of evidence suggests that low chromium status contributes to the development of insulin resistance. The chromium link to insulin resistance is the foundation of Nutrition 21’s business strategy.”

Insulin resistance is believed to affect up to one in three Americans. It is predicted that one of the most significant developments for the future diabetes market will be a wider range of drugs aimed at reversing insulin resistance (Diabetes Drugs of Tomorrow Report 2000, Datamonitor). Further, there are approximately 17 million people in the U.S. with diabetes. Over the 12 months through September 2000, oral anti-diabetics were the leading category of diabetes drugs, with US$5.1 billion of worldwide retail sales, representing the fastest-growing segment of diabetes drugs (Diabetes Market Report 2003/2004, Visiongain).
“As the research unfolds, we believe that Nutrition 21 is uniquely positioned to participate in the growing market for treatment of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, by providing chromium-based supplements as an adjunct nutritional therapy that is safe, convenient and cost-effective,” Montgomery added.

About Nutrition 21
Nutrition 21 is a nutritional bioscience company and the maker of chromium-based nutritional supplements whose health benefits are substantiated by clinical research. The company markets Chromax® chromium picolinate, the leading brand of nutritional chromium, and Diachrome™, a nutritional supplement for people with type 2 diabetes. Diachrome is composed of chromium picolinate and biotin, and is available through diabetes educators. Nutrition 21 holds 35 patents for nutrition products, 22 for chromium compounds and their uses. More information is available at

Disclosure note: The Harvard study was primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); Nutrition 21 has provided an unrestricted grant to the Harvard School of Public Health

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