Complementary therapies for diabetes: the case for chromium, magnesium, and antioxidants

Arch Med Res. May-Jun 2005;36(3):250-7. doi: 10.1016/j.arcmed.2005.01.004.

Abstract

A growing body of interest on the possible beneficial role of chromium, magnesium, and antioxidant supplements in the treatment of diabetes has contributed to debate about their value for reaching metabolic control and to prevent chronic complications in diabetic subjects. In this article we use a systematic approach focused on clinically based evidence from clinical trials regarding the benefits of chromium, magnesium, and antioxidant supplements as complementary therapies in type 2 diabetes. Chromium, magnesium, and antioxidants are essential elements involved in the action of insulin and energetic metabolism, without serious adverse effects. However, at present there is insufficient clinically based evidence and its routine use in the treatment of type 2 diabetes is still controversial. Because the most frequent origin of deficiencies in micronutrients is an inadequate diet, health care providers should invest more effort on nutrition counseling rather than focusing on micronutrient supplementation in order to reach metabolic control of their patients. Results from long-term trials are needed in order to assess the safety and beneficial role of chromium, magnesium, and antioxidant supplements as complementary therapies in the management of type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Chromium / chemistry
  • Chromium / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / chemistry
  • Magnesium / therapeutic use*
  • Micronutrients / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Thioctic Acid / metabolism
  • Vitamin E / metabolism
  • alpha-Tocopherol / metabolism

Substances

  • Antioxidants
  • Micronutrients
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Chromium
  • Vitamin E
  • Thioctic Acid
  • alpha-Tocopherol
  • Magnesium