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Car bumpers and cholesterol control.

Most of us are probably unaware that the chromium that gives our car bumpers their shine is also one of the trace minerals the body requires for normal function. Chromium, long known to be essential in the metabolism of glucose by insulin, has also shown itself to be an important factor in controlling the production of cholesterol.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance of chromium for adults is 50-200 micrograms daily--and experts estimate that the diets of nine out of ten Americans provide less than 50 micrograms a day. Unfortunately, modern processing strips much of our food of what little chronium it contains. The richest sources of chromium are brewer's yeast, wheat germ, black pepper, and liver, but even these provide only a fraction of the needed chromium.

Although chromium deficiency is rarely found as a cause of illness, a recent report in Nutrition Research showed that dietary supplements of this trace element lowered the serum cholesterol of college-age athletes by an average of 14 percent. In addition, their ratio of HDL ("good cholesterol") to total cholesterol improved by 7 percent.

Scientists from Georgia Southern University, Auburn University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Hames Heart Institute of Claxton, Georgia, conducted the study. They added chromium to these athletes' diets in th form of a simple nutritional supplement, niacin-bound chromium, found in a variety of nutritional formulas, usually listed as an ingredient under the trade name ChromeMate.

Many people already use niacin, the B-vitamin component of niacin-bound chromium, for lowering cholesterol. Unfortunately, the very high doses used (from 500-4,500 mg a day) can cause undesirable side effects and may even be toxic in some cases. A typical daily dose of niacin-bound chromium, on the other hand, has less than 2 mg niacin and 200 micrograms chromium.
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Title Annotation:chromium for cholesterol control
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Nov 1, 1993
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