chromium picolinate

Ronald B. Keys J.D. Ph.D rkeysphd at
Mon Feb 20 20:21:05 EST 1995

Dear Brian & Interested Others,  
In response to Brian White's inquiry, 
1. chromium is the active component (see Kozlovsky, A, et al., Effects of
Diets High in Simple Sugars on Urinary Chromium Losses, Metabolism,
35(6):515-518, 1986). 
2. While sodium is an important electrolyte in volume and fluid electrolyte
homeostasis and nerve depolarization and conduction, sodium is not a GTF
while chromium is a GTF (See Borel, J, Anderson B. Biochemistry of the
Essential Ultra Trace Elements, Plenum Publishing Corporation, New York,
1984, pp 175-199). 
3. chromium acetate may work but not as well as chromium picolinate or
chromium polynicotinate.  At least as far as the controlled studies I've
come across. Actually, I haven't seen any study using chromium acetate.
Anything with chromium (don't eat a car bumper) will introduce chromium as
a GTF (glucose tolerance factor).  The idea is to aide in the intracellular
absorption of sugar past/through  the cell membrane receptor site into the
cell. It has to oscillate through this "gate".  If it cannot get through
the gate, it stays in plasma causing hyperinsulinism (Foster, D. Insulin
Resistance-A Silent Killer? New Engl J Med, 320(11):733-734, 1989;  Evans,
GW. The Effect of Chromium Picolinate on Insulin Controlled Parameters in
Humans, Int J Biosocial. Med. Research, Vol 11(2); 163-180, 1989:  Cichoke
AJ. Solving the Syndrome X Crisis, Townsend Letter For Doctors, #135:Oct.,
4. It appears highly unlikely that a  combination of sodium picolinate and
chromium picolinate will achieve the same end because sodium is not a
glucose tolerance factor. Asked and answered. 
5. A Glucose Tolerance Factor is a substance that stabilizes peaks and
valleys in blood sugar, caused by   high circulating plasma sugars that are
not being absorbed, countered by high plasma insulin levels to drive it
out, causing deep valleys which induces counter-regulatory adrenal surges
to bring up the reactive hypoglycemic state to normal blood sugar ranges.
Zinc picolinate, while not as stabilizing as chromium polynicotinate or
picolinate, also acts as a GTF.  Any tolerance factor will stabilize
against peaks and valleys, just like an automatic pilot on a plane that
keeps the plane at a given altitude. Exercise effects act as Glucose
Tolerance Factors by encouraging uptake of sugar into the musculo-skeletal
tissues thereby stabilizing the uptake of a glucose load (challenge). This
also prevents excessive sugar peaks and valleys that are atherogenic
because of chronic, induced hyperinsulin states. 
In summary, chromium functions as an insulin cofactor.  In its biologically
active form, it is a GTF.  It helps to bind insulin to cell membrane
receptor sites.  At these sites, insulin transports glucose and vital amino
acids inside the cell by and through the cell membrane receptor site.
Inside, it fuels the "ox-phos" sequence for energy and tissue synthesis. I
am not going to get into single and double strand polypeptide chain
sequence replacements here.  Without GTFs in our life, either through
natural foods (yeast in particular) and a high refined sugar diet, we end
up with hyperinsulinism, hypertension, high triglycerides, fat bellies and
syndrome X.  It is no coincidence that cardiovascular disease  is
significantly higher in diabetics than in normal people.  I hope this has
been helpful to you. 
Anybody with a diabetic diathesis should read this in particular.
Functional, vascular declines in the diabetic are from the effects of
uncontrolled/poorly controlled  blood sugar (principally, chronic
hyperinsulinism) and not the diabetes itself. And we should avoid a "single
substance deficiency hypothesis " and appreciate a variety of factors,
including exercise and even vitamin C, that act as GTFs, not just chromium.
Ronald B. Keys, JD, PhD, (rkeysphd at (2-20-95) Queens, NYC
(718) 460-3966 
American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, American Aging Association, etc. 

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