Current concepts about chromium supplementation in type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance

Curr Diab Rep. 2010 Apr;10(2):145-51. doi: 10.1007/s11892-010-0097-3.


Chromium has been established to be an essential trace element in mammals in regard to maintenance of normal carbohydrate metabolism. Studies that provided chromium to human subjects in documented deficiency states noted improved glucose levels. However, controversy exists as to whether dietary supplementation with chromium should be routinely recommended in subjects without documented deficiencies. Over the recent past, several well-designed clinical trials have provided evidence in favor of and against a beneficial effect of chromium. It appears that across all subject phenotypes (eg, lean and obese, insulin sensitive and insulin resistant), a consistent significant and beneficial effect of chromium may not be observed. Specifically, recent data fail to demonstrate significant improvement in carbohydrate metabolism in individuals with metabolic syndrome, impaired glucose tolerance, or consistently in individuals with type 2 diabetes. However, patient selection may be an important factor in determining clinical response, as it was concluded that a clinical response to chromium (ie, decreased glucose and improved insulin sensitivity) may be more likely in insulin-resistant individuals with type 2 diabetes who have more elevated fasting glucose and hemoglobin A(1c) levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromium / metabolism
  • Chromium / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*


  • Chromium