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February 3, 2000

Alternative Therapies and Explanations

Question from Lincoln, Nebraska, USA:

I was reading through some of the previous Q&A's. One of the answers made a comment discouraging Type 1 diabetics from using Chromium Picolinate, but with doctor's okay, Type 2 could try it. (I noticed many of the notes didn't even recommend trying any type of herbs/mineral for type 1 -- why?) I'd like to know why I keep reading in these Q&As that no one suggests Type 1s trying this trace mineral -- chromium picolinate?

Answer:

There were several trials a number of years ago of chromium supplements in Type�1 diabetes. There were sporadic instances of children with low serum chromium levels who seemed to be slightly improved; but this was before the days of antibody testing made more specific diagnoses possible. The effects were never such as to justify making chromium picolinate a routine component of intensive therapy besides which chromium is a difficult substance to measure accurately in biological fluids. Chromium deficiency may also be a key factor in some of the cases of diabetes associated with malnutrition and the original rationale that the basic deficiency was in a substance called ‘glucose tolerance factor’ was never substantiated.

Nowadays when the task of maintaining really good control has become quite demanding, some people with diabetes very understandably feel that they are losing personal control of an important part of their lives. Taking herbal remedies and other nutritional supplements can be a way of reasserting themselves and, providing you tell your doctor what you are doing, this can sometimes be very beneficial. However you need to purchase supplements from a reputable source because there have been instances of problems like lead contamination.

DOB