Dr. Andrew Myers: Chromium Picolinate
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Chromium is a critical to the body’s metabolism and storage of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. These are the three major categories that make up a person’s diet. Chromium picolinate was first identified in the 1950s as a form of chromium that was highly bio-available and that seemed to help enhance the function of insulin. In diabetics or those with insulin resistance, insulin is less effective at transporting sugars, which eventually impairs pancreatic function. There are a wide variety of health benefits from taking chromium yet it remains an often overlooked mineral. Research has found benefits related to weight loss and overall health.
Chromium Picolinate can boast an impressive resume of health benefits, many related to fitness, muscle development and weight loss: lower body weight, reduced risk of obesity, and a resulting lower chance of heart disease. Many of these benefits appear related to a higher dietary intake of chromium, not necessarily chromium picolinate. The picolinate form, however, appears to be the easiest for the body to absorb and use.
Benefits of Chromium Picolinate
Chromium picolinate has the ability to reduced hunger and caloric intake. One double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the journal Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics found that for a group of 48 overweight women who did not have diabetes, an eight-week chromium picolinate supplementation regimen reduced hunger levels by 24% and reduced the women’s food intake by 25% compared with the control group. The women also experienced reduced cravings for high-fat foods, suggesting that regular supplementation with the mineral may affect the release of hormones that regulate appetite and satiety, the feeling of being full. Double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have shown that chromium picolinate can help people increase lean body mass, reduce body fat percentage, and reduce overall body weight when part of a healthy fitness and dietary program.
Chromium is beneficial to diabetics because it is known to enhance the action insulin in metabolizing blood sugar, and people with type 2 diabetes have been found to be chromium deficient. A study published in 1997 has 180 diabetics take either a chromium supplement or a placebo. After four months, the blood sugar levels of the people who received chromium picolinate were 15%-19% lower than in the placebo patients. A recent meta-analysis of chromium studies found showed that in 13 of 15 studies, supplementation with chromium improved at least one measure of glycemic control.
One surprising benefit to chromium picolinate is the alleviation of depression symptoms. One study, from Duke University, found that chromium supplementation significantly improved feelings of hopelessness, hostility, overeating, and fatigue. The supplementation alleviated all symptoms in around 60% of the study’s subjects.
Chromium picolinate can affect or be affected by these nutrients:
- Vitamin C: Insulin facilitates the transport of Vitamin C into the cell, so reduced insulin resistance may also confer the added benefit of higher Vitamin C antioxidant activity.
- Biotin: Studies suggest that adding biotin to chromium can improve the management of blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.
- Vitamin E: Tocopherols like Vitamin E can improve insulin function, enhancing the effects of chromium.
- Manganese: Manganese is an activator or co-factor of many enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism, and its presence may further enhance the ability of chromium to regulate blood sugar.
- 200 mcg per day as a maintenance dose
- 500-1000 mcg per day for weight management, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular dysfunction
Dr. Andrew Myers: Antioxidants
Friday, November 18, 2011
Antioxidants have the distinction of possibly being the most powerful nutritional supplements available to us while also being the most heavily marketed. It is impossible to walk down a grocery store aisle without seeing claims of the powers of antioxidants on products from juice and tea to candy bars and breakfast cereal. But do you really know what an antioxidant is and what it does? Are manufactured food products touting the power of antioxidants really healthy or is this merely marketing?
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are molecules that pair their own electrons with “free radicals,” the rogue electrons that can damage cellular structures, neutralizing them. Oxidation in your body is similar to other types of oxidation. Oil becomes rancid and Iron rusts due to this process of nature. For a quick hands-on example of oxidation and the effects of antioxidants, try the following: Cut an apple into quarters. Squeeze lemon juice over two of the 4 pieces. Wait 5 minutes. You will notice, as you probably have before, that the cut apple begins to turn brown as oxidation occurs. The apple covered with lemon juice, however, does not turn brown nearly as quickly. This is how antioxidants work in the body.
Antioxidants for Prevention
Antioxidants are considered possible preventative agents for aging, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular health, and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that antioxidant intake is associated with increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and lowered blood pressure. These are critical components to cardiovascular health and metabolic syndrome. One study from the University of Florida found that supplementation with antioxidants effectively reduces vascular damage caused by obesity and diabetes. Another study, from Oxford University, showed that cognitive function is higher for individuals who consume increased levels of antioxidants.
Are All Sources Equal?
Due to the many studies confirming the benefits of antioxidants, many producers of “food products” have begun to make claims of health and longevity that could be attributed to their products. Not all of these products are as beneficial as they claim. Nutritional supplements containing antioxidants are a fantastic way to consume increased levels of antioxidants. Drinking a soda or eating a pastry that claims to have antioxidant power is generally not an effective way to receive the health benefits of antioxidants. The very best way to receive these benefits is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
These are the best foods to eat and the antioxidant they contain:
- Carrots and green leafy vegetables: carotenoids
- Berries: anthocyans
- Apples, citrus fruit, and tea: flavonoids
- Vegetable oil, nuts and avocados: tocopherols
- Red wine and red grapes: resveratrol
- Dark chocolate: epicatechin
- Green tea, cinnamon, and turmeric: catechins
- Radishes and mustard: isothiocyanates
- Citrus and strawberries: Vitamin C
- Broccoli and Bruseels sprouts: indoles
- Vitamin E: 800-1000 IU daily
- Vitamin C: 1000-2000 mg daily
- Zinc: 15-30 mg daily
- Selenium: 200 mcg daily
- Zinc: 15-30 mg daily
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