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Zinc/chromium supplements help type 2 diabetes

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By David Liu, PHD

Saturday April 27, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- Journal of the American College of Nutrition has recently released a study suggesting that intake of minerals zinc and chromium or taking zinc and or chromium supplements helps patients with diabetes type 2.

People with type 2 diabetes experience deleterious oxidative stress and zinc and chromium compounds may provide an antioxidant effect to offset the effect.

Richard A. Anderson, PhD, CNS, FACN from  Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, USDA, ARS, Beltsville, MD and colleagues conducted the study and found subjects iwth type 2 diabetes who used zinc, chromium or a combination of zinc and chromium had their plasma thiobarbituric acid reactive substances reduced by 13.6%, 13.6% and 18.2% respectively, compared with controls.

For the study, Tunisian adult subjects with HbA1C  greater than 7.5% were supplemented for 6 months either with 30 mg/d of zinc as zinc gluconate, or 400 μg/d of chromium as chromium pidolate or a combination of zinc and chromium or placebo. 

At baseline, more than 30% of subjects were found zinc deficient with serum zinc values lower than 10.7 umol/L whereas plasma copper, selenium and antioxidant RBS  enzyme activities were normal.

At the end of the study, the plasma TBARS in those receiving the supplementation was found significantly lower in groups receiving zinc, chromium or the zinc/chromium.   The TBARS value for the healthy controls was 2.08, compared to 3.32 mol/L in subjects with type 2 diabetes.  The difference 1.24 umol/L was reduced by 36 to 50% after the zinc and or chromium supplementation.

The zinc and chromium supplements did not modify HbA1C, the long term diabetes indicator, nor glucose homeostasis.  And the supplements did not show any effect on copper status, hard density lipoprotein cholesterol.

The researchers concluded "These data suggest the potential beneficial antioxidant effects of the individual and combined supplementation of Zn (zinc)and Cr (Chromium) in people with type 2 DM (diabetes). These results are particularly important in light of the deleterious consequences of oxidative stress in people with diabetes."

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