What if there was a simple, inexpensive mineral supplement that would work for weight loss, lower appetite, lower body fat, and lower blood sugars? What if you also knew that Americans have a 90% chance of being deficient on this essential mineral, especially if you are overweight? Would you be interested? I suspect you would. Please read on…
In 1977, a patient at Toronto General Hospital received intravenous nutrition for 3 ½ years. She developed high blood sugars, nerve damage, and high triglycerides in her blood. All this resolved with chromium. This was the first documentation of human chromium deficiency. The epidemic of inadequate chromium is now well documented, with high blood sugars, high triglycerides, and unwanted weight gain. Any of that sound familiar? If so, it may partly be explained by inadequate chromium.
Every American struggling with unwanted weight gain should consider taking chromium polynicotinate (GTF) for the following reasons:
- Chromium deficiency is epidemic!
- Chromium deficiency contributes to weight gain and sugar or carb cravings!
- Chromium deficiency slows sugar and fat metabolism!
- Chromium GTF supports muscle building and fat burning!
- Chromium is ESSENTIAL for Optimum Health!
Look at the evidence for chromium deficiency reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
- The FDA’s Reference Daily Intake for chromium is a minimum of 120 mcg per day.
- Over 90% of typical diets in the U.S. provide less than 50 mcg of chromium per day!
- Americans, on average, consume only 25-35 mcg of chromium per day.
Due to low chromium in common chromium-containing foods (i.e. eggs, bread, milk, tuna, apples, oranges, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, etc), you would need LOTS of food and over 10,000 calories per day to get adequate chromium. Do you see the problem? Our common foods that have some chromium are still very low in chromium!
But don’t worry, the Mayo Clinic website has the answer. They recommend chromium-rich foods like brewer’s yeast, calf liver, and wheat germ! Hmmm…. not exactly top choices for most of us. No wonder we are deficient!
Although minimum recommendations are 120 mcg of chromium per day, the ideal amount seems to be closer to 1,000 mcg per day, especially for those with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or excessive weight gain.
Does chromium supplementation work? Let’s look at some compelling research…
Research Study #1: Chromium improves sugar metabolism and diabetes tendencies.
In Biological Trace Elements Research Journal, researchers stated “Glucose intolerance, related to insufficient chromium appears to be widespread. Improved chromium nutrition leads to improved sugar metabolism in hypoglycemics, hyperglycemics, and diabetics.” And, “The hallmark sign of chromium deficiency is impaired glucose tolerance.”
This means that the most common finding with low chromium is “sugar intolerance”, which leads to weight gain from sugar, an elevated blood sugar, pre-diabetes, high blood insulin, and/or diabetes type 2.
Other researchers in 1998 (Journal of the American College of Nutrition) concluded that chromium has benefits without known side effects in people with glucose intolerance and diabetes, improving blood sugars, cholesterol, and HgA1C levels.
Research Finding #2: Chromium supports lean body mass (muscle building).
Research has shown that Chromium GTF causes greater loss of fat and less loss of muscle than dieting without chromium. A study in weight lifters showed much greater muscle gain with chromium!
Research Finding #3: Chromium reduces appetite and cravings in dieters, supporting weight loss.
The Journal of Psychiatric Practice in 2005 studied a dose of 600 mcg of chromium in patients with atypical depression, most of whom were overweight. They found that chromium reduced appetite, improved carbohydrate cravings, lowered overall eating, and, coincidentally, that low sex drive improved. These are all common symptoms of depression; so all symptoms were of interest to the researchers. The bottom line is that if you have experienced stress or some depression symptoms and weight gain, chromium may work for you!
In 2008, Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics reported that 1,000 mcg daily of chromium reduced food intake, hunger levels, and fat cravings, suggesting that chromium helps regulate food intake through appetite control in the brain.
In fact, patients taking chromium “automatically” reduced food intake by 207 calories per day, simply because of decreased cravings for carbohydrates and sweets!
Why Chromium GTF over Chromium Picolinate and other chromium compounds?
Chromium GTF is chemically known as chromium polynicotinate. It is chromium that is chemically bound to natural Vitamin B3 (nicotinic acid or niacin) creating a safe compound that functions as a glucose tolerance factor (GTF). This very natural version of chromium supplies Vitamin B3 and chromium at the same time. The result is better absorption and more confidence that the chromium will actually work. It has been determined safe at up to 350 times the reference intake.
Research in labs on ovary cells has demonstrated that chromium picolinate produces chromosome damage with the potential to trigger cells to become cancer. Two cases of kidney failure were associated with chromium picolinate.
Another study with chromium polynicotinate in obese women who were exercising experienced significant weight loss while obese women using chromium picolinate demonstrated a significant weight gain.
Chromium GTF is better absorbed and more bioavailable than other versions of chromium. In fact, chromium GTF is absorbed into body tissues 3 times greater than chromium picolinate and 2 times greater than chromium chloride!
At the Center For Nutrition, we recommend Chromium GTF tablets with 200 mcg of chromium polynicotinate. If you have unwanted weight gain, carbohydrate cravings, an excessive appetite, or problems with sugar or fat metabolism, consider a total of 1,000 mcg of chromium daily. Check your multivitamin for chromium. If you are in excellent health, at an ideal weight, 1 tablet daily may be enough. For the rest of us, adding enough to get to the 900-1100 mcg per day is recommended. Adding 2-5 Chromium GTF tablets per day, depending on your multivitamin, will guarantee what we believe to be an optimum dose.
Note: Metabolism Essentials Multi contains 500 mcg of chromium polynicotinate per 6 tablets. Adding 2-3 tablets of Chromium GTF 200 per day is our typical recommendation.
For Optimum Health,
Rick Tague, M.D., M.P.H.