Chromium: The best friend for summer activities

As health-conscious consumers learn about the nutrition level and quality of the food they eat, more eventually realize that it’s difficult to get the vitamin and mineral nutrition their body needs on a daily basis.  For this reason, more individuals are using supplements to fill the gaps.

Chromium is an important trace mineral.  It is involved in several critical metabolic roles such as supporting the body against  effects of stress.  It plays a vital role in glucose tolerance factor and in maintaining the immune system.  The value of chromium should never be limited to just weight loss and body building.

The maintenance of adequate chromium stores is critical to insulin’s effects on metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.  Historically, high performance athletes usually have a larger need for chromium due to excessive chromium turnover versus marginal intake. However, more and more young children and teenagers are entering into competitive sports.  The demand on them to perform as if they are a professional high performance athlete is increasing.  Incidents are also increasing involving physical collapsing during strenuous workout practices and in competition.

Supplementation may be beneficial to help promote and maintain needed optimal insulin efficiency-a necessity to high level athletic performance. Dr. Walter Mertz, a leader in chromium research, in the Journal of Nutrition 123: 626-633, 1993, reports that low chromium levels may lead to disturbances in lipid metabolism which in turn could contribute to cardiovascular disease.  Daily requirements range between 50 and 200 micrograms, but the typical American diet generally provides only 50% of the suggested dietary intake for chromium.

Stress can be a problem in our fast-paced living.  When chromium is deficient, insulin’s action is impaired.  Detrimental alteration to carbohydrate, amino acid, and lipid metabolism may occur.  Stress has been associated with an increase in urinary loss of chromium.  With increase stress, more cortisol is released which stimulates increased glucose utilization.  As glucose use increases, so does the body’s mobilization of insulin and chromium.  Once mobilized, chromium is not reabsorbed, but is lost in the urine.

Cortisol levels can also be associated with  compromised immune function.  Drs. Burton, Mallard, and Mowat reported in the Journal of Animal Science, 1993, Vol 71:232-238 that supplementing with true amino acid chelated  chromium may help offset stress associated immune suppression.

Cortisol and insulin are antagonistic to one another.  Cortisol causes catabolism of protein and lipids, along with an increase in utilization of glucose.   Insulin, on the other hand, conveys a ‘store do not release’ signal in relation to carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids.  Insulin binds to insulin cell receptors.  These receptors have a short life, and in the presence of high concentrations of insulin they gradually become fewer.  Cell sensitivity to insulin becomes less which can lead to insulin resistance.  Long term stress gives rise to continuous release of cortisol which can lead to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.  This is why the increase in sugar consumption in the American diet can be so harmful.  Again, Dr. Mowat of the University of Guelph has done extensive research on the benefits of true amino acid chelated chromium on cortisol levels. His findings reported in the Journal of Animal Science 71:232 and Canada Journal of Animal Science 73:49 show a down-regulation effect from true amino acid chelated chromium on cortisol levels.

Aging affects chromium status.  Aging may result in decreased absorption of inorganic chromium, a decreased conversion of chromium to GTF, and a decreased tissue retention of chromium.  This could be the reason the elderly are more vulnerable to potential adult diabetes, glucose intolerance, and impaired insulin sensitivity.   Dr. Gatteschi wrote on the “Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Plasma Chromium Concentrations” pp. 199-203 in Sports Nutrition 1995 edition.  He reported that moderate exercise can cause a loss of significant amounts of chromium.  Since the exercise was only moderate, the researchers felt this was not a cortisol effect but a chromium issue.  12 minutes into the exercise recovery period there was an increase in plasma chromium in response to increased muscle requirement and uptake of glucose during recovery to replenish glycogen stores.  If the demand for chromium is not met, then a potential for long term health problems can be created.  Again, this research was done on moderate exercise so there is a need to consider the effects on intense physical activity and exercise over a sustained period of time.

Seasonal times for playing different sports occur all over the world. There are also activities such as hiking, repelling, rock climbing, horseback riding, biking, jogging, etc. that we do for fun but have a certain level of intense demand on our body.  Consider the use of Basic Plus, and Kela Chromium to provide support  for healthy  nutritional needs of your body as you enter into recreational activities, and daily exercise regimens. It may make all the difference in your enjoyment and in the benefits from participation.