A new study has found that Chromium, an essential mineral in humans that helps the hormone insulin function properly, can makes a big difference as well. Niacin-bound chromium (Cr-N) provides significantly more heart health benefits than chromium picolinate (Cr-P) in diabetic rats.
After feeding rats a diet supplemented with Cr-N, Cr-P, or nothing at all for eight weeks, scientists measured cholesterol, triglycerides, and markers of inflammation linked to cardiovascular disease. They found that both Cr-P and Cr-N significantly reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels in rats compared to controls, but Cr-N caused greater overall reductions. Additionally, Cr-N lowered levels of inflammatory markers, while Cr-P did not. The chromium dose in the supplements was 400 micrograms per kilogram of body weight.
Indeed, all 15 trials using Cr-P for people with diabetes have demonstrated beneficial effects. Fourteen of those 15 clinical studies (including 11 randomized, controlled studies) involving a total of 1,696 subjects reported significant improvement in blood sugar control. All 15 studies showed salutary effects in at least one aspect of diabetes management, including improvements in blood fats. Positive outcomes from Cr-P supplementation included reduced blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and reduced requirements for diabetes medication. Substantial reductions in these parameters equates to a reduced risk for disease complications.
Unfortunately, this study is misleading in a variety of ways. The scientists involved have been going out of their way for years to try to make Cr-N competitive with Cr-P. They continue to perform dubious studies in animals and in test tubes to show that Cr-N is better than Cr-P. Massive Cr-N doses may be compelling in the lab, but they do not hold water when given to people. In contrast, Cr-P is the supplement of choice in humans. It is the only chromium awarded a qualified health claim from the FDA. It is the chief chromium supplement in numerous studies currently being funded by the National Institutes of Health. And, it is the only one that works unequivocally in humans, particularly for people with sugar problems.