|I found some bad science by the FDA:|
Chromium picolinate intake and risk of type 2 diabetes: an evidence-based review by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
SourceDivision of Nutrition Programs and Labeling, US Food and Drug Administration, College Park, Maryland, USA. Paula.Trumbo@FDA.gov
AbstractThe labeling of both health claims that meet significant scientific agreement (SSA) and qualified health claims on conventional foods and dietary supplements requires pre-market approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Approval by the FDA involves, in part, a thorough review of the scientific evidence to support an SSA or a qualified health claim. This article discusses FDA's evidence-based review of the scientific evidence on the role of chromium picolinate supplements in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Based on this evidence-based review, FDA issued a letter of enforcement discretion for one qualified health claim on chromium picolinate and risk of insulin resistance, a surrogate endpoint for type 2 diabetes. The agency concluded that the relationship between chromium picolinate intake and insulin resistance is highly uncertain.
According to the FDA, there is (or was, in 2006) a ton of uncertainty with regard to the relationship between chromium picolinate and insulin resistance. But is that really the state-of-the-science in 2006? Evidence suggests not. Check out this quote from a 2002 review of the matter:
The beneficial effects of chromium on serum glucose and lipids and insulin resistance occur even in the healthy. Serum glucose can be improved by chromium supplementation in both types 1 and 2 diabetes, and the effect appears dose dependent. Relative absorption of various chromium compounds is summarized and the mechanism of low molecular weight chromium binding substance (LMWCr) in up-regulating the insulin effect eight-fold is discussed.Link:
The safety and efficacy of high-dose chromium.
Or check out this quote from a 2003 review of the matter:
Insulin initiates chromium transport into the cells where it is bound to the oligopeptide apochromodulin. This oligopeptide combined with four chromium(III) atoms forms chromodulin, which is important for amplifying the insulin signalling effect. After binding to insulin-activated receptor, chromodulin increases tyrosine kinase activity by one order. This enzyme forms a part of intracellular portion of insulin receptor.Link:
[Chromium as an essential element].
Or check out this quote from a 2004 review of the matter:
Several studies have now demonstrated that chromium supplements enhance the metabolic action of insulin and lower some of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, particularly in overweight individuals. Chromium picolinate, specifically, has been shown to reduce insulin resistance and to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Dietary chromium is poorly absorbed. Chromium levels decrease with age. Supplements containing 200-1,000 mcg chromium as chromium picolinate a day have been found to improve blood glucose control. Chromium picolinate is the most efficacious form of chromium supplementation. Numerous animal studies and human clinical trials have demonstrated that chromium picolinate supplements are safe.Link:
A scientific review: the role of chromium in insulin resistance.
And, finally, check out this long quote [full abstract] from a 2006 review of the matter:
Chromium (Cr) picolinate (CrPic) is a widely used nutritional supplement for optimal insulin function. A relationship among Cr status, diabetes, and associated pathologies has been established. Virtually all trials using CrPic supplementation for subjects with diabetes have demonstrated beneficial effects. Thirteen of 15 clinical studies (including 11 randomized, controlled studies) involving a total of 1,690 subjects (1,505 in CrPic group) reported significant improvement in at least one outcome of glycemic control. All 15 studies showed salutary effects in at least one parameter of diabetes management, including dyslipidemia. Positive outcomes from CrPic supplementation included reduced blood glucose, insulin, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels and reduced requirements for hypoglycemic medication. The greater bioavailability of CrPic compared with other forms of Cr (e.g., niacin-bound Cr or CrCl(3)) may explain its comparatively superior efficacy in glycemic and lipidemic control. The pooled data from studies using CrPic supplementation for type 2 diabetes mellitus subjects show substantial reductions in hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia, which equate to a reduced risk for disease complications. Collectively, the data support the safety and therapeutic value of CrPic for the management of cholesterolemia and hyperglycemia in subjects with diabetes.Link:
Clinical studies on chromium picolinate supplementation in diabetes mellitus--a review.
Now, when you read that last quote, do you get a sense that the relationship between chromium picolinate and insulin resistance is "highly uncertain?" It'd be great to be able to pin-down those FDA researchers and ask them directly: "Exactly what is it about the relationship between chromium picolinate and insulin resistance that you take to be highly uncertain?" Is it the safety? Is it the mechanism? What is it? Until the FDA can come forward and provide a good reason why they, alone, have come out with a review of chromium with a peculiar and isolated "highly uncertain" conclusion -- their study has to be added to my metaphorical dust-bin of b-a-d s-c-i-e-n-c-e.
(Edited by Ed Thompson on 8/19, 5:48pm)