Quest for the molecular mechanism of chromium action and its relationship to diabetes

Nutr Rev. 2000 Mar;58(3 Pt 1):67-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2000.tb01841.x.


Despite forty years of research on the potential role of chromium in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, significant progress has only recently been made regarding the mode of action of chromium at a molecular level. The oligopeptide low-molecular-weight chromium-binding substance (LMWCr) may function as part of a novel insulin-signaling autoamplification mechanism. The proposed mechanism of action also sheds some light on the potential of chromium-containing compounds as nutritional supplements or in the treatment of adult-onset diabetes and other conditions. The potential relationship between the results of recent studies on diabetic patients and the proposed mode of action of LMWCr are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromium / metabolism*
  • Chromium / therapeutic use
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Glucose Intolerance / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Oligopeptides / metabolism*


  • Oligopeptides
  • Chromium