Improve Heart Health in People with Type 2 Diabetes w/ Chromium
Type 2 diabetes (sometimes called adult-onset diabetes) is a chronic
disease marked by inability to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. Blood
sugar regulation depends in large part on the hormone insulin, which
stimulates the entry of glucose from the blood into the cells. In many
people with type 2 diabetes, however, the cells are no longer sensitive to
insulin, a state known as insulin resistance. In such people, both blood
glucose and insulin levels are elevated, and high blood levels of glucose
and insulin can damage many tissues of the body, including the blood
vessels. Heart disease risk is greatly increased in people with type 2
diabetes and the degree of risk has been found to correlate closely with
the QTc interval.
Chromium is an essential trace mineral that enhances the effect of insulin
in the body, potentially decreasing insulin resistance. Many, though not
all, studies have shown that supplementing with chromium improves blood
sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.
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Articles, and Studies:
An ECG measures the electrical impulses associated with the contraction and
relaxation cycles of the heart muscles. A single cycle shows an ECG pattern
of distinct changes that are named with the letters, P, Q, R, S, and T. The
P wave reflects the contraction of the atria and the set of spikes and
waves known as the QRST complex reflects the contraction of the ventricles.
The duration of ventricular contraction, from initiation to relaxation, is
measured by the length of the QRST complex and is known as the QTc
interval. A number of studies have found that a long QTc interval is a
strong risk factor for stroke, heart attack, and death.
The current research studied 50 people with type 2 diabetes who were
managing their diabetes with diet alone and did not have evidence of
serious complications such as heart or kidney failure. They were randomly
assigned to receive either 1,000 mcg of chromium picolinate per day or
placebo for three months. Each person then received the other treatment for
a second three months. Physical exam, blood tests, and ECGs were performed
at the beginning of the study, and after three and six months.
At the end of three months, insulin levels were significantly lower in the
group using chromium than in the placebo group. The reduced insulin level
was maintained in this group during the second three months of the study
when they did not use chromium, suggesting that the effects of chromium
supplementation persisted after treatment was stopped. The group that used
chromium during the second three months had a similar drop in insulin
levels by the end of the study. The QTc interval was also significantly
shorter in the chromium group than in the placebo group at the end of the
first three months. This reduction in QTc interval was maintained in the
second three months, and the group that supplemented with chromium in the
second three months had a similar reduction in the length of the QTc
interval by the end of the study.
The results of this study show that supplementing with chromium can shorten
the QTc interval in people with type 2 diabetes. This reduction in the
length of the cardiac cycle is likely to indicate that the risk of heart
disease has been reduced. Longer studies are needed to verify that chromium
supplementation can have this benefit for people with high cardiac risk due
to type 2 diabetes.
Healthnotes Newswire (July 14, 2005)-When people with type 2 diabetes
supplement with chromium, an electrocardiogram (ECG) measurement believed
to indicate a reduced risk of heart disease improves, according to the
American Heart Journal (2005;149:632-6).
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