Chromium Supplement Linked to Decreased
Protein in the Urine
Taking chromium picolinate may help lessen inflammation
associated with diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease),
say researchers at the Medical College of Georgia in
Augusta. In a study comparing diabetic laboratory subjects
treated with chromium picolinate with those that received
placebo, the researchers found that those who received
the supplement had lower levels of albuminuria (protein
in the urine), an indication of kidney disease.
The researchers compared three groups of laboratory
subjects, one lean, healthy group and two groups genetically
engineered to be obese and have diabetes. When the
subjects were 6 weeks old, the researchers separated them
according to treatment plan. The healthy subjects and one
group of diabetic subjects, the untreated diabetic group, were
fed a regular diet. The remaining group, the treated diabetic
group, were fed a diet enriched with chromium picolinate.
Over the course of 6 months, the researchers measured
glycemic control and albuminuria in all three groups. The
untreated diabetic subjects excreted nearly 10 times more
albumin than the db/m subjects, which was to be expected.
However, the treated diabetic subjects, who were fed the
diet with chromium picolinate, excreted about half as much
albumin compared to their untreated diabetic counterparts.
At the end of 6 months, the researchers studied tissue
samples from the subjects' kidneys. They found that the
untreated diabetic subjects had marked immunostaining for
interleukin 6 (IL-6) and interleukin 17 (IL-17), two cytokines
associated with inflammation. These subjects also had
moderate immuno-staining for indolamine 2,3-dioxygenase
(IDO), an immunoregulatory enzyme that modulates the
production of IL-6 and IL-17. However, the treated diabetic
subjects had intense immunostaining for IDO but reduced
IL-6 and IL-17 compared to the untreated diabetic group.
The implication is that the chromium picolinate may have
reduced inflammation in the treated diabetic group by
affecting IDO, IL-6, and IL-7.
The researche team from the Medical College of Georgia
Department of Oral Biology carefully noted that the results
are preliminary and that further studies are necessary to
tease out the effects of chromium picolinate. He is
particularly interested in the relationship between IDO
and chromium picolinate because IDO is involved in the
metabolism of tryptophan, an amino acid, and one of the
by-products of that metabolism is picolinic acid.
"This clearly raises an important question for us as to
whether our observations are related to the provision of
picolinic acid from the chromium picolinate or whether the
formulation [chromium picolinate], in and of itself, is
mediating the effects." the researchers concluded.
The study was discussed at the 2010 American
Physiological Society conference, Inflammation, Immunity,
and Cardiovascular Disease, in Westminster Colorado.
American Physiological Society (2010, September 22).
Chromium picolinate may lessen inflammation in