Have you been diagnosed with Diabetes?
What about Hypoglycemia?
Have you been told that you have “Metabolic Syndrome”?
What about PCOS [Polycystic Ovary Syndrome]?
Did you know that Metabolic Syndrome and PCOS both stem from Insulin Resistance?
Are your Triglycerides elevated?
Is your HDL low [good cholesterol] ?
Have your blood sugars been too high or too low?
Did you have gestational diabetes during a pregnancy?
Are starches always on your mind?
Have you had trouble sticking to a diet because you are always hungry?
If any questions get your attention, you probably have insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance can be caused by Chromium deficiency.
Our soil and farmland has been depleted of many trace minerals for decades. Farmers always give supplemental minerals to their animals, including Chromium.
GTF or glucose tolerance factor was discovered during the 1950’s. GTF is primarily Chromium and with its addition to animal feeds there is no diabetes [that is NONE] in domesticated animals. More on this in a minute.
Let’s talk about insulin:
Insulin is a polypeptide or “small protein” hormone produce by the pancreas in response to elevated glucose or blood sugar.
Insulin is quite powerful. It stimulates hunger or causes an increase in appetite dramatically. It promotes the conversion of sugar to fat and, of course, it signals the cells’ uptake of glucose.
Chromium is “ESSENTIAL” to insulin’s cellular effects, that is without chromium insulin does not work at the level of the cell [sugar can’t easily enter].
However the Liver and the Brain effects do not require chromium – You can see how this could cause problems [increased insulin = increased hunger and increased fat storage/creation]
Side note here:
If the liver needs to make “new” glucose it will use protein and amino acid stores – effectively wasting protein that could be used elsewhere.
If you are insulin resistant you’ll shunt protein away from areas that need it.
Hypoglycemia occurs when the blood sugar drops too low.
This is a result of insulin resistance at the cellular level combined with the liver’s ability to convert sugar to fat [cellular level requires chromium while the liver does not].
The liver “sees” the higher insulin level as a signal there is extra glucose that should be stored as fat, which is not necessarily so.
The cellular response to insulin eventually “kicks in” and in conjunction with the liver’s work there can be a dramatic and detrimental drop in blood sugar – complete with a list of low blood sugar symptoms including fainting, sweating or just fuzzy thought.
It is useful to note that the Normal range of glucose in the bloodstream is 70-120.
Diabetes is (almost arbitrarily) diagnosed when fasting levels are greater than 200.
Nestled between “Normal” blood sugar and Diabetes is Insulin Resistance which is functionally referred to as Hypoglycemia.
BTW a blood sugar below 60 causes significant symptoms, from vision changes, fuzzy thinking, sweating, nausea, tremor and even passing out.
Here are some key points;
First, it is important to know that the primary energy source in the body/cells is glucose or blood sugar. It come from several sources —– certainly processed sugar, natural sugar, complex carbohydrates or it is manufactured in the liver from protein/amino acids using gluconeogenesis—- and it is worth noticing that fats or oils cannot be converted to glucose.
Second, it is pertinent that as we set out to “burn calories” we use glucose first, then protein/amino acids and then finally fats. [This is important because once you store calories as fat, it is used as a tertiary fuel or burned 3rd behind glucose and protein/amino acids]
To Reiterate …………..
Insulin is produced by the pancreas in response to ingestion of carbohydrates/sugars or to elevated blood levels of glucose.
Insulin works on three distinct levels, the cell [cellular], the liver or hepatic level and the brain.
Cellular level – it acts like a key allowing the glucose to enter. Chromium is necessary for this cellular function. If Chromium is lacking then more insulin is needed to do the same job.
Cerebral level [Brain] – it induces hunger (a very strong response that doesn’t rely on Chromium). The “sweet tooth” that some people experience 30 minutes after a meal is due to elevated insulin levels.
Hepatic level [Liver] – insulin has a third function (also Chromium independent). Elevated insulin levels signal the liver that there is “extra” glucose in the system.
The liver then converts sugar to fat, thereby reducing blood sugar; this can lead to a precipitous drop in blood glucose – AKA hypoglycemia!
Hypoglycemia occurs because there is only a perceived excess of glucose, not an actual surplus.
Therefore insulin resistance leads to the production of fat even though there is no real caloric excess and weight gain ensues.
It is worthwhile to mention that an exercising muscle does not need insulin to allow glucose to enter. This is helpful to diabetics as well as hypoglycemics.
You can see how these competing processes could lead to some problems. Without understanding the underlying physiology it is difficult to fix, but once we look at the components it is relatively easy.
Side note: The idea of eating small frequent meals is an attempt to minimize the effects of these abnormally high insulin levels and their backlash. Although this will help it doesn’t address the underlying problem of Chromium deficiency.
Chromium is a very safe. It is an essential trace mineral.
The EPA states toxicity is seen above 70,000 mcg per day or a whopping 70 mg.
Chromium actually increases insulin sensitivity and binding while increasing the number of insulin receptors as well.
In studies people who took Chromium actually lost fat while gaining muscle without exercise…. ( I don’t like advertising the no exercise part)
Typically I recommend Chromium Picolinate 200 mcg twice a day to start [it can be gradually increased to 600mcg twice daily]
The Incidence of Diabetes is rising!
Diabetes was in the 100th position in 1900 (99 ailments more common) however by 1936 it had risen to the 41st most common and today it is 3rd in occurrence (behind only heart disease and cancer)
This is quite alarming. What has changed in the past century to account for this rise?
Doctors like to blame diabetes on genetics but that would mean we’ve all mutated or diabetics have been having more children than non-diabetics (not super likely is it?).
A Familial link makes more sense [things being more likely in a given family] because families EAT together. Does it make sense to you?
I think two things account for this change. One is our sugar consumption and the other is mineral depletion from our soil (specifically Chromium and Vanadium)
Sugar: In 1900, each person consumed 3 pounds of sugar per year. Currently individuals consume between 100 – 300 pounds of sugar yearly, 30-100 times more!
Minerals: In Senate document 264 (written in1936) it was noted that our farming methods were depleting the soil of trace minerals. In fact, farming the same land for seven years caused such mineral depletion that animals fed those crops had problems ranging from “failure to thrive”, birth defects and infertility to name a few.
In another report I found the Chromium levels in our soils had plummeted between 1948 to 2001. [1000 times less Chromium in the dirt/soil of our farmlands !] Remember, Plants cannot make minerals.
In 1958 we began supplementing the diets of domesticated pigs and cows with Chromium (Glucose Tolerance Factor), a trace mineral, preventing diabetes in these animals. In spite of gaining of a pound per day (an actual goal), these animals do not get diabetes in domestication (and have not for the past 53 years). Of course, one of the risk factors for Diabetes is weight gain.
It took almost forty years for a worthwhile human study! Human studies were conducted in 1997 by Dr. Anderson. He utilized a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial, to show conclusively that chromium supplementation can dramatically improve blood sugars of diabetics (published in the journal Diabetes).
The average blood sugar in the study group was 210 (normal being 70-120). The treatment group that received 1,000mcg [or one millionth of a gram per day] had the remarkable 80 point improvement [down to an average glucose of 130] nearly normalizing the values. Where the non-treatment group (placebo) had the same average reading of 210.
Amazing results, Did you hear about this study? I saw it in one “throw away” journal.
Typically, when a successful small [albeit statistically significant and valid] study like this one is published there are efforts to do a much larger study [with thousands of people], but as of yet no such study is in the works.
Makes me wonder why. Is it Big Business at work or is it just human nature to resist a shift in paradigm ?
Can the average Diabetic benefit from Chromium ?
Yes, but it is very important educate yourself and measure your glucose readings closely. Always consult with your health care provider before changing any medications.
How long does it take to work?
In the study above the results were seen in 3-4 months.
People with insulin resistance and a “sweet tooth” may see improvement of symptoms within a few days.
Final thoughts: All of us can benefit by reducing the amount of sugar we consume.
Choosing to eat fruit rather than drinking fruit juice is an effective start, for example – apple juice is loaded with sugar with 27 grams per cup where an apple contains around 18 grams and gives 5 grams of fiber
As I frequently tell people – It is advisable to pursue full spectrum nutrition – not only for insulin problems but for general health purposes as well.
Our health [or lack of health] is proportional to our nutrition – good or bad.
As I always Remind you…
To achieve full spectrum nutrition we all need to supplement our diets.
Supplements to consider:
1) Get a good multiple vitamin/mineral product. Versions with “Chelated” minerals are best. I also like those with some plant based vitamins.
2) Take a quality Calcium product. Look for MCHA as the calcium source and one that includes Magnesium, vitamin D and some assorted trace minerals.
3) Take Omega 3 oils. Flax oil is the best to start. Adding Krill or fish oil later [BTW – Krill oil in the container has a distinctive odor – if you place 3-4 desiccant packs in the bottle and refrigerate it, the odor is gone in 12 hours]
4) Find a good Colloidal mineral product for trace minerals. Make sure it’s from Humic shale and NOT ionic minerals. Humic shale is the “fossilized” remains of the dinosaur days. Plant based colloidal minerals are 98% absorbed.
As always, feel free to comment or message questions or concerns.