Effects of chromium supplementation on serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in men taking beta-blockers. A randomized, controlled trial


Roeback JR Jr, Hla KM, Chambless LE, Fletcher RH




Ann Intern Med


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 micrograms 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 greater than +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.