Diabetes and the role of vanadium and chromium

Diabetes type 2 (Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) is characterized by insulin resistance and therefore a relative lack of insulin, while in diabetes type 1 (Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus), there is a lack of insulin production.

The essential trace elements vanadium and chromium play an important role in the metabolism of glucose and the regulation of insulin. Therefore, they have therapeutic effects in diabetes, as many studies show.

Chromium is an essential cofactor in the insulin signal amplification system.

Given to patients with diabetes type 2, it leads to an overall increase of insulin sensitivity and improvement of all parameters of diabetic management.

Chromium also helps in diabetes type 1, corticosteroid induced diabetes and gestational diabetes.

Chromium is recognized as an essential element, but the requirement seems to be much higher than assumed. Positive effects on diabetes were only observed at dosages higher than the upper limit of the Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intake, which is 50–200 μg/day. A dosage of 1000µg/day over long periods is effective in diabetic patients. Interestingly, only beneficial effects but no side effects were observed at such high chromium levels. Most studies that showed no positive effects of chromium had very low doses of around 250µg/day.

Vanadium has not only insulin-enhancing effects by activating insulin signaling pathways, but also insulin-mimetic effects, meaning that it improves both diabetes type 1 and type 2.

Even though there are many studies indicating the essentiality of vanadium, it is not officially recognized as an essential element. Therefore, there are no recommendations for the daily intake. It has shown therapeutic effects in dosages up to around 20mg/day.

Another interesting thing is the change of taste right after the intake of vanadium – everything tastes sweeter.

In conclusion, vanadium and chromium both are essential elements in the insulin signaling system with therapeutic efficiacy in all types of diabetes.

Luisa Gleichauf

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