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Historical note In the 1950s, researchers identified the role of chromium in insulin and glucose control (Shwarz & Mertz 1 959). The importance of chromium was validated in 1 977 when a woman on long-term TPN, without chromium, developed symptoms of diabetes that could not be controlled by insulin. After further investigation it was noted that she was deficient in chromium and when < 50/jg was added to her TPN solution, symptoms resolved. This led to the US FDA listing chromium as an essential trace nutrient (Edmonson 2002). However, problems in elucidating the effects of chromium supplementation persist, dueto a lack of practical methods for diagnosing deficiency (Mertz 1998).

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