Diabetic kidney disease (nephropathy), a common complication of diabetes, may respond to a dietary supplement. Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia found that chromium reduced inflammation associated with diabetic kidney disease in mice.
The results of this new study suggest that chromium may play another part in diabetes. Researchers used three groups of mice: one lean, healthy group and two groups that were genetically engineered to be obese and have diabetes. The healthy mice and one group of diabetic mice were fed regular rodent food while the remaining group received a diet enriched with chromium picolinate, a form that is more easily absorbed by the body.
During the six months of the study, the researchers found that the untreated diabetic mice excreted nearly ten times more albumin than the healthy mice, which was expected. However, the treated diabetic mice excreted about 50 percent less albumin than their untreated diabetic counterparts. Albuminuria (protein in the urine) is a sign of kidney disease.
After six months, the mice were euthanized and tissue samples from the kidneys were examined. The untreated mice had cytokines (interleukin 6 and interleukin 17) associated with inflammation and an enzyme (IDO) that regulates the production of the cytokines. The treated mice had reduced levels of the cytokines compared with the untreated group.
Much research has been done on the relationship between chromium, insulin, and blood sugar levels, as well as use of the mineral in weight loss. Some experts claim that chromium deficiency is a cause of type 2 diabetes and obesity and that supplementation can help prevent and treat both conditions.
The investigators in the current study, which was discussed at the 2010 American Physiological Society conference, concluded that chromium picolinate reduced inflammation in the treated diabetic mice by affecting the activity of the cytokines and IDO. Further research is needed to more clearly define chromium’s role in diabetes and in diabetic kidney disease.
American Physiological Society