The analysis, provided by pharmoeconomics expert Dr David Nash from the Jefferson Medical College, used data from two trials involving between 30 and 40 people carried out over three months, and further interim results from 34 people participating in a new larger trial.
These interim results showed that the supplement, marketed by Nutrition 21 under the brand name Diachrome, lowered a marker of long-term blood sugar control in 87 per cent of patients.
If such findings continue to be confirmed, Dr Nash suggests that diabetes patients could save between $405 and $729 annually in treatment costs by using Diachrome; those savings would double for patients with diabetes and heart disease, and triple for patients with diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
He added that patients obtaining a 1.8 percentage point decrease in the blood sugar control marker HbA1c could yield $36,000 inflation adjusted lifetime cost savings per diabetic patient.
There are an estimated 18.2 million people in the United States who have diabetes, putting them at high risk of complications such as heart disease and stroke, blindness, nerve damage, kidney damage and foot complications resulting from poor blood flow.
Aside from managing these complications, they also have high costs based on constant medication and doctor's visits.
"Given the chronic nature of type 2 diabetes and the devastating economic impact of managing type 2 diabetes, it is important to use the most cost-effective measure to help improve glycemic control in people inflicted with and at high risk for type 2 diabetes," said Nash.
"We previously looked at the direct medical benefit of our chromium products," James Komorowski, vice president of technical services and scientific affairs, told NutraIngredientsUSA.com.
"But we are currently working with a diabetes management group [XLHealth Systems, formerly known as Diabetex] and trying to persuade them that there are also financial benefits for patients using our products."
Patients enrolled with XL Health are being recruited for a 400-person trial on Diachrome, with recruitment to be completed this summer.
A short-term study, presented at the Abstract Proceedings of the American Diabetes Association 64th Scientific Sessions in Orlando last weekend, demonstrated that Diachrome shows benefits to blood sugar control within 30 days.