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.

Story Source: American Physiological Society (2010, September 22). Chromium picolinate may lessen inflammation in diabetic nephropathy;

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