09 October 2010

Aleviating aging with chromium

Now, as the Award Lecture at American College of Nutrition Conference in New York City, we are treated to Harry G Preuss, MD, discussing an overview of how to alleviate the manifestations of aging.

These manifestations are hypertension, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemias.

But it's complicated. "If there is anything that's important for your life it isn't controlled by one thing," Preuss says.

Preuss is now talking about how he got started working with chromium (not just for bumpers).

He did study in animals with chromium (Preuss et al Mol Cell Biochem 2010). With chromium in animals at least, "you can keep blood pressure down".

In human studies, he showed how niacin-bound chromium resulted in increased fat loss and tended to preserve muscle.

He says there wasn't much weight loss resulting from chromium supplementation., but the balance of fat and muscle is different. In his study, weight was not significant, but fat loss was!

He coined the term "proper weight loss" and he talks about how when a lot of people lose weight, what they lose is muscle. Proper weight loss is losing fat, gaining muscle, strengthening bone.

Preuss showed that chromium helps overcome insulin resistance, hastens fat loss, preserves muscle, decreases blood pressure, increases lifespan, suppresses free radicals, influences nitric oxide, lowers LDL, etc.

He argues that we should be doing all we can to slow aging, not just waiting for it to happen. Chromium and other nutrients should be part of that.

Now, once again, we're discussing caloric restriction and the role of lowering fasting glucose levels. Glycation is involved with the aging process. You could say that "diabetes represents early aging."

The summary is that long-term dietary supplementation to ameliorate insulin resistance will increase a person's lifespan -- but no clinical trials because we can't live that long.

So, why not perform longevity studies on animals? In his NBC rodent aging study 1 he found NBC plus two antioxidants prevented age-related BP elevations, lowered insulin resistance, etc. In his study 2, lowered SBP, improved hepatic and renal lipid peroxidation, showed less DNA fragmentation.

He discussed how to do a longevity study on rats: Zucker fatty rats, rats observed daily, model diets, groups receiving supplementation. He shows us the different formulas he's been using with chromium along with garlic, or garcinia cambogia, or maitake mushrooms.

He noted that sometimes when you add other stuff in formulas, it can change the whole outlook of the results.

"We think that everything in metabolic syndrome is caused by insulin resistance," he says. So, the level of chromium can be important because it can determine the level of glucose and insulin.

A specific amount of chromium can increase lifespan, but a little less cannot. Also, anti-diabetic drugs like metformin prolongs life, while other drugs shorten them.

It's important to keep glucose levels down, but not forget about the hyperinsulinemia. For longevity, you need to focus on both. When circulating insulin levels is lower, you live longer.

He ends with a cartoon on how we used to think the Russians lived longer because of yogurt, but later "to hell with yogurt." There are lots of questions, and he hopes that someone in the audience can one day answer them for him.

Q and A

What about vanadium?

He really backed off on vanadium because when fed to rats, they wouldn't eat and they lost weight.

What about spending time on insulin levels?

Preuss wants to do more studies on insulin levels to see about increasing lifespan.

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