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Chromium useful in dysthymia

Posted by andrewb on November 27, 1999, at 20:19:53

Here is an interesting article.
From Nurses' Drug Alert(r)

Title: Chromium Useful in Dysthymia

[Nurses' Drug Alert 23(6):45,46, 1999. (c) 1999 M.J. Powers & Co. Publishers]

Chromium picolinate supplementation was effective in 5 patients with dysthymia (chronic
mild depression, often treatment-resistant).

A 50-year-old man with a 25-year history of dysthymic disorder, had only partial response with
sertraline. He began taking a vitamin-mineral supplement, and within days his dysthymia
resolved completely. After informing his psychiatrist, the patient agreed to stop taking the
supplement and undergo separate, single-blind re-introductions of each of its 5 major
ingredients. His symptoms returned during the supplement washout and disappeared again
during administration of chromium picolinate, 200 mcg/day. The patient ended the trial
prematurely on his own initiative, and insisted on knowing which supplement ingredient was
responsible for his dramatic remission. He then began taking chromium picolinate and
eventually discontinued sertraline. He switched to another preparation, chromium
polynicotinate, and remained euthymic after 15 months of chromium monotherapy.

Single-blind trials of chromium were then instituted in 4 other patients with
antidepressant-resistant dysthymia. Each had an inadequate response to either sertraline,
fluoxetine, nortriptyline, or bupropion with lithium. Chromium was added to ongoing
medication in 3 patients, and was used as monotherapy in the fourth. In all cases, at least 1
other disguised nutritional supplement was used as a control; in some cases, chromium was
withdrawn and re-introduced multiple times. Without exception, mood symptoms resolved
during use of chromium and returned upon its discontinuation. One patient reported side effects
of insomnia and increased dreaming, which resolved when the supplement was taken in the
afternoon. Two other patients also reported increased dreaming, which resolved spontaneously
within 2 weeks in both cases.

Chromium, which enhances peripheral glucose metabolism, may improve mood by increasing
glucose utilization in the CNS. Evidence suggests that chromium may also enhance
monoaminergic neurotransmission and serotonin synthesis. Chromium picolinate
supplementation has been studied for 3 decades and appears to be safe at dosages up to 1
mg/day, higher than the 200-400 mcg dosages used in these 5 patients. A test for chromium
deficiency does not exist at present.


McLeod M, et al: Chromium potentiation of antidepressant pharmacotherapy for
dysthymic disorder in 5 patients. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 1999;60
(April):237-240. From the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel




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