What kind of stuff is chromium dinicocysteinate?
Since we consider ourselves to be above average well informed about nutritional supplements, we were surprised when we found a chromium compound in a supplement shop that we had never heard of before. Chromium dinicocysteinate, it was called. When we tried to find out what exactly chromium dinicocysteinate was, it turned out that the darn thing had been on the market for ten years.
Above average well informed. Right.
Chromium dinicocysteinate is a complex of a chromium-3 atom to which 2 nicotinate groups and a cysteinate group are attached. In 2011, the American ingredient manufacturer InterHealth Nutraceuticals, recently acquired by Lonza, marketed chromium dinicocysteinate as Zychrome. [newhope.com apr 25, 2011.]
The supplement industry has developed and marketed quite a few forms of chromium. A well-known one is Chromax, a market name for chromium picolinate. Yet another is ChromeMate, a market name for chromium polynicotinate.
In 2010, researchers at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, at the expense of Interhealth and the U.S. government, published an animal study in which they gave chromium picolinate, chromium diniconate, and chromium dinicocysteinate to rats with diabetes. [Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Sep;54(9):1371-80.]
Chromium dinicocysteinate increased insulin sensitivity and also reduced a range of markers of inflammatory processes. This might imply that chromium dinicocysteinate can protect the blood vessels and organs of diabetics against the inflammatory processes caused by high glucose levels.
In 2012, the same researchers, still at the expense of Interhealth and the US government, published a human study involving about 75 diabetic subjects. [Mol Nutr Food Res. 2012 Aug;56(8):1333-41.] During the experiment, the subjects continued to take their medications.
For 3 months, some of the subjects took a placebo, while another part daily took 400 micrograms of chromium in the form of chromium picolinate, and another part took 400 micrograms of chromium in the form of chromium dinicocysteinate.
Chromium dinicocysteinate alone increased the sensitivity to glucose and decreased the inflammatory factor TNF-alpha and the concentration of degraded protein.
Another human study
Four years later, in 2016, Interhealth published another small, comparable human study, involving 43 metformin users. Chromium dinicocysteinate also improved insulin metabolism and markers of inflammatory processes in that study. [Food Nutr Res. 2016 Sep 28;60:31762.]
How good are those studies?
The supplement industry has been claiming since the 1980s that chromium supplementation increases insulin sensitivity, and is developing all kinds of chromium applications that should make diabetics healthier. You can also find those applications in weight loss supplements and bodybuilding supplements.
The supplement industry produces studies to support the claimed effects of chromium compounds. In 2016, a meta-analysis of those publications - including research into chromium dinicocysteinate - concluded that the quality of those studies left something to be desired. The researchers found that diabetics should not view chromium supplementation as an alternative to medication or lifestyle improvement. [Nutr Rev. 2016 Jul;74(7):455-68.]
Mol Nutr Food Res. 2012 Aug;56(8):1333-41.
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Insulin & Glucose Metabolism