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The effect of chromium supplementation on serum lipid levels in a selected sample of canadian postmenopausal women

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Forty-seven noninstitutionalized, postmenopausal women received 200 μg of Cr (III), in the form of CrCl3 in water, daily, for 10 wk and 39 received placebo (distilled water), in a double-blind experimental design. Serum total cholesterol (total C), HDL cholesterol (HDLC), and triglyceride levels were measured before and after the supplementation period, using enzymatic colorimetric methods. Sixty-three percent of the subjects reported taking medications at the time of the study. Consequently, medicated subjects were classfied into three groups; group 1, those receiving drugs with neutral or unknown effect on serum lipid levels; group 2, those receiving drugs with the potential to decrease serum lipid levels; and group 3, those receiving drugs with the potential to increase serum lipid levels. There were no significant differences in the mean serum total C or triglyceride levels in the nonmedicated or medicated groups, following supplementation with Cr or placebo. In contrast, increases in mean serum HDLC levels were observed in both the Cr-supplemented nonmedicated and medicated groups and the placebo nonmedicated and medicated groups, at the end of the study period. Small decreases in the mean serum total C:HDL ratio also occurred in the nonmedicated Cr-supplemented (p<0.01) and nonmedicated placebo groups. Although our results fail to demonstrate effects of inorganic Cr supplementation on either serum total C, serum HDLC, or serum triglycerides, it is important to point out that this may be a result of, in part, the chosen form and mode of administration of Cr. Additional studies, preferably with food-form sources of Cr, are necessary to establish the role, if any, of Cr on these physiological parameters.

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Bourn, D.M., Gibson, R.S., Martinez, O.B. et al. The effect of chromium supplementation on serum lipid levels in a selected sample of canadian postmenopausal women. Biol Trace Elem Res 9, 197–205 (1986).

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