Chromium Supplementation Can Aid Anti-VEGF Treatments

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A study says the supplements can reduce the need for intravitreal bevacizumab injections among patients with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy and macular edema.

For patients with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy and macular edema, chromium supplementation may reduce the number of intravitreal bevacizumab (IVB) injections necessary, researchers report. However, the supplements had little impact on visual acuity or central foveal thickness, according to the findings, published in the Journal of Ophthalmology & Clinical Research.

Patients (N=90) with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy and clinically significant diabetic macular edema were recruited at the Farabi Eye hospital in Iran. Patients were randomized to receive supplementation with (n=59) or without (n=31) chromium for 4 months and were assessed for clinical improvements monthly for 6 months.

The supplements comprised vitamin C (75 mg), vitamin E (12.5 mg), vitamin A (5000 IU), lutein (10 mg), zinc oxide (7.5 mg), sodium selenite (35 mcg), with or without chromium polynicotinate (50 mcg).

The intervention and control cohorts were aged mean 62.37 and 62.03 years, 49.2% and 54.8% were men, logMAR was 0.61 and 0.59, and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) was 7.40% and 7.84%, respectively.

At each month follow-up, logMAR was significantly improved among all participants (P <.05) to 0.56±0.24 among the chromium, and 0.53±0.14 among the control recipients at 6 months.

Central foveal thickness decreased from 483.01±143.46 μg among the chromium recipients to 323.42±38.52 μg (P <.001) at 6 months and for the control cohort, from 548.62±137.01 μg to 359.17±58.66 μg (P <.001).

The chromium and control cohorts received an average of 4.51±1.69 and 5.44±1.46 IVB injections (P =.001).

HbA1C was significantly reduced to 6.02%±1.01% among the chromium cohort and 6.88%±0.95% for the controls (P =.032).

This study was limited by its small sample size, the study authors may not have had sufficient power to detect significant group differences.

The study authors report that supplementing diets with vitamins and chromium can significantly reduce the number of IVB injections required by patients with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy and clinically significant diabetic macular edema.


Mirshahi A, Ghahvehchian H, Riazi-Esfahani H, et al. The effect of chromium in the management of diabetic macular edema: an interventional comparative case series. J Ophthalmol Clin Res. Published online June 11, 2021. doi:10.24966/OCR-8887/100083