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Supplement May Lower Diabetes Heart Risks

WebMD Health News

May 10, 2004 -- A dietary supplement containing chromium picolinate and biotin may help people with type 2 diabetes lower their cholesterol and other heart disease risk factors.

A new study shows 30 days of treatment with the supplement, sold commercially as Diachrome, significantly improved several heart disease risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among people with diabetes.

Researchers say the findings suggest that adding the supplement to conventional diabetes treatment may provide additional protection against heart attack and other heart-related complications.

Previous studies show that having low levels of chromium can increase the risk of heart disease. Diachrome contains chromium, in the form of chromium picolinate, and biotin, which is thought to improve insulin's action to improve blood sugars.

Diachrome May Lower Heart Risks

The study, presented at the American Heart Association's Annual Conference on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis & Vascular Biology in San Francisco, compared the effects of treatment with Diachrome and with placebo in a group of 24 people with type 2 diabetes.

The participants all had poorly controlled glucose levels, as measured by fasting blood glucose, despite taking oral medications to control blood sugars for at least six months.

The group was divided into two groups that either received Diachrome or a placebo daily while continuing their regular diabetes medications.

After 30 days, researchers found several improvements among those that added the supplement to their treatment:

  • Total cholesterol levels dropped by an average of 19.1 mg/dL.
  • LDL (low-density lipoprotein) "bad" cholesterol decreased by an average of 10.9 mg/dL.

  • Average fasting blood glucose dropped by 26.2 mg/dL.

  • Significant decreases in fasting blood glucose were seen in 71% of those that received the supplement vs. only 27% on the placebo.

  • Significant decreases in LDL cholesterol were found in 77% of supplement users compared with 45% of the placebo group.

Researchers say the results suggest that Diachrome not only improves blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, but it also improves their cholesterol profile, which is often difficult to achieve. They say further research should look at the potential for the supplement to help prevent heart disease.

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