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Chromium:

Chromium is an essential mineral that is required in the maintenance of human health and is a vital component of GTF, or glucose tolerance factor. Glucose tolerance factor works in concert with insulin to stabilize blood sugar levels and to aid in the uptake and metabolism of glucose, or blood sugar, by the cells of the body.

Adequate levels of chromium are required for the synthesis of enzymes, proteins, fats, and cholesterol. This vital nutrient can also help increase lean body mass while reducing body fat. Chromium can also help to lower levels of Low Density Lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol, and help prevent cardiovascular disease, one of the country’s leading causes of death. A key indicator of coronary artery disease is dangerously low levels of chromium in blood plasma. Inadequate intake of chromium can impair the production of GTF, limiting insulin activity. This results in high blood sugar levels, glucose intolerance, and can lead to symptoms similar to adult-onset diabetes. Conversely, low chromium intake can also result in hypoglycemia, a condition marked by higher than normal insulin levels and dropping blood sugar levels after consuming meals high in carbohydrates. In both cases, supplemental chromium can improve symptoms in most people.

Currently the average American diet is low chromium due to the depletion of this vital mineral in our ground soil. Scientists estimate that 90% of all Americans don’t get enough chromium from their diet, and that over 60% are hypoglycemic or diabetic. Chromium levels can also depleted by consuming high amounts of sugar or engaging in strenuous exercise.

Good dietary sources of chromium include: brewers yeast, whole grain breads and cereals, molasses, brown rice, cheese, and lean meats. Studies indicate the for optimal benefits adults should take between 200 to 400 micrograms per day, and up to 600 micrograms if engaged in strenuous exercise programs. Chromium supplements are available, usually in 100 to 200 microgram capsules either as niacin-bound chromium or chromium picolinate. Chromium works best if taken before meals to help stabilize blood sugar levels and increase energy output.

Blood sugar levels play a significant role in the storage and metabolism of fat. Chromium is an essential nutrient which plays an important role in the proper regulation of blood sugar in the body. Sex hormones are made from cholesterol. Cholesterol is dependent on chromium for its correct synthesis. Since chromium body stores decrease with age, it is important to replace chromium on a daily basis. In males, the organ most affected by chromium reduction due to aging are the testes. For men who exercise or whose job entails physical exertion, the Journal of Applied Physiology reports that chromium losses are twice as high on a workout day versus a non-workout day, and increase five-fold by a six-mile run.

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