Health Questions and Answers

Is micronutrient supplementation important in diabetes?

Supplementation of micronutrients is not recommended in diabetes. Physicians are often asked about chromium picolinate, a preparation found in health food stores, which has been sold as treatment for diabetes. Ok everybody should understand that chromium is a cofactor of insulin. When rats are given a synthetic diet that does not contain chromium, they develop diabetes. There is not reliable clinical test for chromium deficiency in humans. Studies of tissue levels of chomium have suggested that subclinical chromium deficiency may occur in the elderly. It has been suggested that chromium deficiency may be a cause of adult onset diabetes. However, it is difficult for a human on a normal diet to become deficient in chromium, and studies in which chromium has been given to diabetic patients have failed to show benefit. Therefore, chromium supplementation is not currently recommended.
Magnesium and zinc have been suggested as supplements but are not generally indicated. A patient with poorly controlled diabetes, especially one who is taking diuretics, may become deficient in magnesium, but n benefit has been shown from magnesium theray. It has been suggested that zinc supplementation might aid in the healing of leg ulcers, but evidence for this is lacking. It is certainly true that zinc deficiency can retard wound healing, but zinc deficiency is extremely rare.

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