Studies suggest that chromium deficiency is associated with elevated levels of fasting blood glucose, circulating insulin, cholesterol and triglycerides, and decreased proportion of lean body mass. However, data directly relating chromium levels to metabolic syndrome (MetS) risk are lacking. A total of 3,648 American adults from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, aged 20-32 years, were prospectively examined for the incidence of MetS and its five components from 1987-88 to 2010-11. Baseline toenail chromium levels were measured with instrumental neutron-activation analysis. Incident MetS was defined by the NCEP-ATP III criteria. During the 23-year follow-up, 878 incident MetS cases were identified. Baseline toenail chromium was inversely associated with incidence of MetS as well as its blood lipid components. The multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) (95% confidence interval [CI]) of MetS comparing the highest to the lowest quartiles of toenail chromium levels was 0.80 (0.66-0.98; Plinear trend =0.006). The adjusted HRs were 0.82 (0.68-0.98; Ptrend =0.045) for having abnormal triglycerides levels and 0.75 (0.64-0.88; Ptrend =0.030) for having abnormal HDL cholesterol levels. Toenail chromium levels were inversely and longitudinally associated with incidence of MetS in American young adults. This inverse association was mainly explained by its relation to blood lipids.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by grants from the NIH (R01HL081572 and R01ES021735). The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study (CARDIA) is supported by contracts HHSN268201300025C, HHSN268201300026C, HHSN268201300027C, HSN268201300028C, HHSN268201300029C, and HHSN268200900041C from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and an intra-agency agreement between NIA and NHLBI (AG0005). Dr. Jianling Bai was partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant for Young Scientists (81302512). The authors also thank the other investigators and the staff of the CARDIA Study for valuable contributions.