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Effects of Chromium Supplementation on Serum High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels in Men Taking Beta-Blockers: A Randomized, Controlled Trial

John R. Roeback Jr., PhD; Khin Mae Hla, MD, MHS; Lloyd E. Chambless, PhD; and Robert H. Fletcher, MD, MSc
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant Support: By the Health Services Research Doctoral Training Program and Office of Academic Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs Central Office; and by the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Field Program. Chromium and placebo supplements and funding for an independent analysis of their contents were provided by Herb Boynton and Jim Bie (Nutrition 21, San Diego, California).

Requests for Reprints: John R. Roeback, Jr., PhD, The School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, CB# 7400, McGavran-Greenberg Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599.

Current Author Addresses: Dr. Roeback: The School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, CB# 7400, McGavran-Greenberg Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599.

Dr. Hla: Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Clinical Science Center, University of Wisconsin, J5-210, 600 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53792.

Dr. Chambless: Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center, Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina, CB# 8030, Suite 203, NCNB Plaza, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-4145.

Dr. Fletcher: American College of Physicians, Independence Mall West, Sixth Street at Race, Philadelphia, PA 19106-1572.


Ann Intern Med. 1991;115(12):917-924. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-115-12-917
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Objective: To determine the efficacy of glucose tolerance factor (GTF)-chromium for increasing serum levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in patients taking beta-blockers.

Design: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Setting: Mixed primary and referral-based outpatient clinic at a university-affiliated VA Medical Center.

Patients: Referred sample of 72 men receiving beta-blockers, mainly for hypertension. Sixty-three patients (88%) completed the study.

Interventions: Current medications, including beta-blockers, were continued. During the 8-week treatment phase, patients in the chromium group received a total daily dose of 600 µg of biologically active chromium divided into three equal doses; control patients received a placebo of identical appearance and taste.

Measurements: Serum levels of total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol were measured.

Main Results: Mean baseline levels of HDL and total cholesterol (± SD) were 0. 93 ± 0.28 mmol/L and 6.0 ± 1.0 mmol/L (36 ± 11.1 mg/dL and 232 ± 38.5 mg/dL), respectively. The difference between groups in adjusted mean change in HDL cholesterol levels, accounting for baseline HDL cholesterol levels, age, weight change, and baseline total cholesterol levels, was 0.15 mmol/L (5.8 mg/dL) (P = 0.01) with a 95% Cl showing that the treatment effect was > + 0.04 mmol/L (+ 1.4 mg/dL). Mean total cholesterol, triglycerides and body weight did not change significantly during treatment for either group. Compliance as measured by pill count was 85%, and few side effects were reported. Two months after the end of treatment, the between-group difference in adjusted mean change from baseline to end of post-treatment follow-up was - 0.003 mmol/L (- 0.1 mg/dL).

Conclusion: Two months of chromium supplementation resulted in a clinically useful increase in HDL cholesterol levels in men taking beta-blockers.

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