There is growing evidence to suggest that chronic, low-grade inflammation occurs in abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus and related complications, and that proinflammatory cytokines play an important role in the onset and progression of type 2 diabetes. These findings consequently provide new opportunities for the use of anti-inflammatory strategies to correct the metabolic disorders. Discovery of new synthetic bioactive small molecules to interfere with chronic, low-grade inflammation and type 2 diabetes has attracted considerable attention in medicinal chemistry. To date, a number of organoselenium small molecules and chromium(III) complexes have been shown to have the potential to alleviate chronic low-grade inflammation and type 2 diabetes, including ebselen, selenomethionine, chromium picolinate, chromium dinicocysteinate, chromium phenylalaninate, trinuclear chromium propionate, chromium histidinate, chromium nicotinate, etc. Here, we review recent advances in development of organoselenium small molecules and chromium(III) complexes to intervene in chronic low-grade inflammation and type 2 diabetes, and discuss their mode of action, potential molecular mechanisms and toxicity.