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Oral ingestion of doses typically found in the diet are likely to be safe. Taken under professional supervision, supplements are also likely to be safe and may be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of gestational diabetes (Jovanovic & Peterson 1996, Jovanovic et al 1999). 2007 Elsevier Australia

PRACTICE POINTS/PATIENT COUNSELLING

• Chromium is an essential trace mineral required for carbohydrate, lipid, protein and corticosteroid metabolism.

• Dietary intakes are generally below the minimum suggested safe and adequate levels, and factors such as high-sugar diets, corticosteroid use, excessive exercise, infection, physical trauma and psychological stress further increase the risk of deficiency.

• Chromium supplements are used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, hypoglycaemia, gestational diabetes and hyperlipidaemia. However, inconsistent results have been obtained from clinical studies.

• It is also used in the treatment of obesity, atypical depression, syndrome X, PCOS and osteoporosis, and in resistance training.

• Supplemental forms used in trials include organic chromium complexes, such as chromium picolinate and chromium nicotinate, and inorganic salts such as chromium chloride.

ANSWERS TO PATIENTS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will this supplement do for me?

Chromium is essential for health and wellbeing. It may also have beneficial effects in type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, hypoglycaemia and elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels in some people, although scientific research has produced mixed results.

When will it start to work?

Effects in diabetes and elevated cholesterol or triglyceride levels require 8-12 weeks to establish.

Are there any safety issues?

Used under professional supervision, chromium supplements are considered safe. REFERENCES

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