University of Pennsylvania Health System
Office of Public Affairs
399 South 34th Street, Suite 2002, Penn Tower, Philadelphia, PA 19104-5653

Susan Winston, (215) 349-8368,

February 12, 2004

Clinical Trial of the Effects of Chromium Picolinate on Diabetes & Heart Disease Risk Offered at PENN Medicine

(Philadelphia, PA) – Approximately one-fifth of the population of the United States – 47 million Americans – suffer with metabolic syndrome (MetSyn); a group of abnormalities characterized by abdominal obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, abnormal blood fat levels, and elevated blood pressure. MetSyn is considered a pre-diabetic state and is thus heavily linked to an increased risk of developing Type II Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) and/or cardiovascular disease. In an effort to combat these alarming numbers, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine are embarking on a clinical trial to determine if a dietary supplement – chromium picolinate – can improve glucose and insulin levels and thus reduce insulin resistance, an important factor in the development of T2DM.

The trial will investigate the ability of chromium picolinate to increase the ability of the body’s cells to absorb and use sugar from the blood, decrease blood levels of circulating fat, and increase the amount of HDL (good cholesterol) produced by the body. Researchers will also seek evidence of the supplement’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. “The results from this clinical trial will provide solid data on chromium picolinate’s potential to impact key clinical factors in this high-risk, pre-diabetic population,” states Philippe O. Szapary, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and principal investigator of the study. “Supplemental chromium may serve as an attractive therapeutic option for patients diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.”

While there are several forms of chromium available, chromium picolinate has been selected for this study because it is the most commonly used and chemically stable form of the mineral.

The clinical trial will have a treatment period of 16 weeks and involves four office visits,
as well as taking two tablets daily. Four months after this clinical component is concluded, a follow-up visit will take place to gather final data.

Men and non-pregnant women, between the ages of 18 and 75, who are overweight and have any of the following: low HDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood pressure or taking blood pressure medications, are encouraged to participate in the trial. Interested volunteers may contact Sheri Volger, research coordinator, at 215-898-8672 or

The study is funded by the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

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Editor's Note: Dr. Philippe Szapary has no financial interest in Nutrition 21, the manufacturer of Chromax chromium picolinate, the supplement being used in the trial.

PENN Medicine is a $2.2 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (created in 1993 as the nation’s first integrated academic health system).

Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

Penn Health System consists of four hospitals (including its flagship Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report), a faculty practice plan, a primary-care provider network, three multispecialty satellite facilities, and home health care and hospice.

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