Magnesium plus chromium: a winning combination

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The December 2016 issue of Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports the outcome of a study conducted by a team from China's Medical College of Qingdao University which found an improvement in indicators of insulin resistance in middle-aged individuals who supplemented with the minerals magnesium and chromium.

One hundred-twenty insulin resistant subjects between the ages of 45 to 59 years were divided into groups who received 160 micrograms per day chromium, 200 milligrams per day magnesium, chromium plus magnesium, or a placebo for three months. Fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin, insulin resistance index, and T-lymphocyte messenger RNA levels of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4, a protein that transports insulin) and glycogen-synthase-kinase-3beta (GSK3beta, an enzyme) were determined before and after treatment.

In the group that received both magnesium and chromium, fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin, insulin resistance index, and GSK3beta were significantly lower at the end of the study. Additionally, a 2.9-fold increase in GLUT4 was observed only among those who received both minerals.

"GLUT4 and GSK3beta are important components in an insulin-induced signal transduction pathway that plays a key role in glucose metabolism," authors Mei Dou, PhD, and colleagues explain. "Increased expression of GLUT4 has been associated with enhanced glucose translocation from the exterior to the interior of cells in insulin-sensitive tissues and repression of GSK3beta has been shown to enhance insulin receptor activity."

"As anticipated, we found that combined chromium/magnesium supplementation ameliorated insulin resistance more effectively than chromium or magnesium alone, and this effect was likely related to the regulation by combined chromium/magnesium of the expression of GLUT4 and GSK3beta," they conclude. "The results of the present study suggest the therapeutic potential of combined chromium/magnesium therapy in insulin resistant individuals."


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