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What factors influence the use of chromium supplements?

If you are taking insulin or an oral glucose-lowering medication (especially the sulfonylurea class, such as glyburide or glipizide), speak with your healthcare practitioner before taking chromium, since the mineral supplement can cause blood sugar levels to drop. S/he may need to decrease your current dose of medication so that your blood sugar levels do not significantly decrease.

Some medications decrease the absorption of chromium, such as calcium carbonate as found in antacids and calcium supplements. Others, such as aspirin, increase the absorption of chromium.

Because of the micronutrient deficiencies in the average American diet, it is advisable for people with type 2 diabetes to take chromium supplementation. A large body of research and several clinical studies have shown that with chromium supplementation over 500 micrograms per day, blood sugar control is improved.

Controversy exists because there are some studies which have not confirmed this result, including one recently published clinical trial (Diabetes Care, May 2007). However, this study used a low dose of only 200 micrograms of yeast chromium. Because chromium has little or no down-side risk and may improve blood sugar control, it should be given a reasonable trial in people with type 2 diabetes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.