As we age we gain body fat and lose muscle mass. Fortunately there are several key nutrients that help us preserve lean muscle mass, such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and chromium.
Experts in the field of nutrition report that the general population of the United States is deficient in chromium–and it should come as no surprise that low levels of chromium are associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease—both of which are endemic in developed countries.
In a placebo-controlled, cross-over study, Dr. Preuss and a team of researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center showed that overweight African-American women consuming 600 mcg of chromium as niacin-bound chromium trade name ChromeMate® for 8 weeks had a significant loss of body fat and sparing of muscle (lean body mass) compared with a prior placebo period of the same duration. Increased fat loss was also observed among women who were randomized to consume chromium first, followed by placebo, suggesting a carry-over effect of the supplementation on fat loss. No adverse effects were observed.
Studies have also been published noting that increased consumption of sugar (and related sweeteners) depletes our body stores of chromium, placing us at further risk for hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia (too much blood sugar, too much insulin).
In a perfect world, we would avoid refined sweeteners. Realistically we know that we all succumb to sugar’s siren song on occasion, therefore remember to make sure that you take a chromium supplement to prevent depleting your body’s stores of this important nutrient.