Nutrition

How’s your Chromium Bruh?

Chromium

What is chromium and what are some chromium benefits?

Chromium is a metallic element that humans require in very small amounts. It is an essential part of metabolic processes that regulate blood sugar, and helps insulin transport glucose into cells, where it can be used for energy. Chromium also appears to be involved in the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Two forms are commonly available as supplements: glucose-tolerance factor (GTF) chromium and chromium picolinate.

Why is chromium necessary?

Chromium enhances the actions of insulin and is necessary for maintaining normal metabolism and storage of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Inadequate intake of chromium has been linked to the development of glucose intolerance, a condition seen in type 2 diabetes. Chromium can also help raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, and may play a role in preventing heart disease.

What are the signs of a chromium deficiency?

An estimated 25-50% of the U.S. population is mildly deficient in chromium, a greater incidence of deficiency than is found in almost any other developed country. The industrialization of the American food supply chain, reflected in very low soil levels of chromium and the loss of chromium from refined foods, especially sugar and flours, probably contributes to this. Dietary chromium has a low absorption rate, which becomes even lower with age, so the elderly are especially at risk. Life threatening clinical deficiency may be rare, but deficiency is common.

Because adequate dietary chromium helps to maintain insulin sensitivity, chromium deficiency can contribute to the development of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Even mild deficiencies of chromium can produce problems in blood sugar metabolism, and contribute to other symptoms such as anxiety or fatigue. Altered cholesterol metabolism, accelerated atherosclerosis, decreased growth in young people and delayed healing time after injuries or surgery can result from chromium deficiency.

How much, and what kind of chromium, does an adult need?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends:

  • males 19-50, 35 mcg per day
  • men over 50, 30 mcg per day
  • females 19-50, 25 mcg per day
  • females over 50, 20 mcg per day
  • pregnant females over 19, 30 mcg per day
  • lactating females over 18, 45 mcg per day

Dr. Weil recommends 200 mcg a day as part of a multi-vitamin multi-mineral, and recommends 1000 mcg of GTF chromium a day for those with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

How much chromium does a child need?

According to the NIH:

  • infants 0-6 months, .2 mcg per day
  • babies 7-12 months, 5.5 mcg per day
  • children 1-3 years, 11 mcg per day
  • children 4-8 years, 15 mcg per day
  • young males 9-13, 25 mcg per day
  • young females 9-13, 21 mcg per day
  • teen males 14-18, 35 mcg per day
  • teen females 14-18, 25 mcg per day

How do you get enough chromium from foods?

Brewer’s yeast, broccoli, grape juice, meat and whole-grain products are all excellent sources. Some fruits, vegetables, and spices provide chromium. Romaine lettuce, raw onions and ripe tomatoes are all good sources.

Are there any risks associated with too much chromium?

Researchers have not found any toxic effects that result from taking high doses of chromium.

Are there any other special considerations?

Diabetics taking chromium should do so only under physician’s supervision, as should anyone using prescribed medications for blood sugar control.
The following medications can alter stomach acidity and may reduce chromium absorption or increase excretion of chromium:

  • Antacids
  • Corticosteroids
  • H2 blockers
  • Proton-pump inhibitors

The following, when taken with chromium, may be metabolized more slowly or quickly, or may change the absorption rate of chromium:

  • Vitamin C
  • Niacin
  • Beta-blockers (such as atenolol or propanolol)
  • Corticosteroids
  • Insulin
  • Nicotinic acid
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
  • Prostaglandin inhibitors (such as ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen, piroxicam, and aspirin)

facts about hydrating while exercising

With warmer weather comes talk of hydration—unfortunately, most people don’t have the facts about hydrating while exercising.

ALT TEXTHydration expert Sandra Fowkes Godek, Ph.D. (Courtesy of Sandra Fowkes Godek)

Sandra Fowkes Godek holds a doctorate in exercise physiology and is director of the Heat Illness Evaluation Avoidance and Treatment (HEAT) Institute at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. She specializes in thermoregulation, hydration and electrolyte replacement in football players, and she’s worked with top athletes at the NFL level.

Fowkes Godek busts five common hydration myths you’re going to hear from “experts” in the coming months.

Myth 1: Urine Color Is an Accurate Measure of Hydration

The idea that you should strive for clear urine is mistaken, Fowkes Godek said.

“Urine color is a delayed response, (and) when you are exercising, sweating and drinking to replace the fluids … your body is in constant flux, so it’s hard to use it as a really good measure in those cases,” Fowkes Godek said.

She also pointed out things you ingest—such as vitamins—can change the color of urine.

The bottom line is if your urine is almost clear, you are over-hydrated.

“That’s just as dangerous as the other way around,” she said. “Twenty years ago, we used to say, ‘Drink until you pee clear.’ Well, that’s not normal!”

ALT TEXTDon’t worry: Slight thirst does not indicate an instant and dramatic decline in athletic performance. (Dave Re/CrossFit Journal)

Myth 2: Once You Feel Thirsty, You’re Already Dangerously Dehydrated

“That’s not true,” Fowkes Godek said. “Once you feel thirst, you are still normally hydrated.”

Just as many people have lost touch with the feeling of hunger, Fowkes Godek said many people ignore their thirst and, as a result, don’t truly understand what thirst feels like. If you’re someone who always has a bottle of water in hand, Fowkes Godek said the first sensation of thirst is not a danger sign.

The other side of the coin: Stop drinking once you are not thirsty. The body is well equipped to let us know when we need fluids.

“If you are thirsty, drink. If you are not thirsty, don’t drink,” Fowkes Godek said.

Myth 3: You Need Sports Drinks to Replace Electrolytes

Most sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade, contain small amounts of sodium and carbohydrates. They are designed to be palatable; they are not designed to replace sodium.

“The problem with sports drinks is people think they are putting enough electrolytes back in, and most cases they are not putting (in) anywhere near the amount of electrolytes they might need,” Fowkes Godek said.

“Sports drinks, for the majority of people, don’t even put back half of the sodium they lose in sweat,” she said.

ALT TEXTIf you aren’t thirsty, put the hose down and walk away. (Dave Re/CrossFit Journal)

If you’re concerned about sodium loss during exercise, Fowkes Godek advises eating a meal or snack with water when you’re done working out. Doing so will replace sodium without risk of over-hydration. Typical sports drinks can’t restore blood-sodium levels because they are not salty enough. The trouble begins when a heavy, salty sweater attempts to replace fluids by drinking sports beverages, which causes blood sodium to become increasingly diluted. To replace 30 g of sodium, for example, an athlete would have to drink 65 L of sports drinks—which would cause hyponatremia.

Exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH) occurs when blood-sodium levels become diluted and fall below 135 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). Hyponatremia can cause mild symptoms such as irritability and fatigue or more extreme symptoms including nausea, vomiting, seizures and comas. Brain swelling—exercise-associated hyponatremic encephalopathy (EAHE)—can cause death.

If you drink a special high-sodium beverage to replace electrolytes, it’s essential to pair that drink with carbohydrates. Gatorade’s carbohydrate content is 6 percent—not enough to facilitate sodium absorption. A true sodium-replacement drink is anywhere from 10 or 12 percent carbohydrate.

“Without a carbohydrate, the majority of the salt you put in your stomach ends up in the toilet within two hours because your body has a protective mechanism against a (mass) of salt,” Fowkes Godek said.

ALT TEXTMany hydration recommendations are utter nonsense—especially if they come from a manufacturer of sports drinks. (Dave Re/CrossFit Journal)

Myth 4: Any Level of Dehydration Negatively Affects Performance

The biggest problem with this statement is the word “dehydration,” Fowkes Godek said.

We’ve come to think of dehydration as an illness or a condition, but it’s really a verb.

“It’s a process of losing body fluid—the opposite of rehydration,” Fowkes Godek said.

If you are well hydrated, it’s normal to experience dehydration. The impact of dehydration on athletic performance depends on the hydration level before the exercise or competition. If you start exercising and are well hydrated, you can easily lose 3 to 4 percent of body weight with no ill effects. Even if you start exercising and are at the lower end of hydration, you still have a ways to go before performance suffers.

“If you start an exercise bout and you are very thirsty, you can probably lose about 2 percent and still not see any performance detriment,” Fowkes Godek said.

Many athletes find over-hydration leads to cramps and negatively affects performance. Bottom line: Pay attention to your body’s signals, and if you aren’t thirsty, don’t drink.

““You can drink too much water, and you can drink too much Gatorade.”

—Sandra Fowkes Godek

Myth 5: You Can’t Drink too Much Water

“You can drink too much water, and you can drink too much Gatorade, and you can drink too much Pedialyte,” Fowkes Godek said.

If you flood your body with fluid of any kind, you risk EAH.

Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid EAH:

Drink when you’re thirsty. Don’t when you aren’t.

About the Author: Hilary Achauer is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health and wellness content. In addition to writing articles, online content, blogs and newsletters, Hilary writes for the CrossFit Journal. To contact her, visithilaryachauer.com

Why adults should practice gymnastics?

When we watch the gymnasts perform at the highest level, such as the Olympics or national championships, it’s easy to be amazed at how strong and flexible they are. The raw physical strength, flexibility, power, agility, coordination, grace, balance and control required in gymnastics are impressive, but these elite level athletes are not the only ones who can benefit from participating.

Here are the Top 10 Health Benefits of Gymnastics:

  • Flexibility: Flexibility is a primary factor in gymnastics. Increasing flexibility can also be an effective aid to the reduction of injury, preventing people from forcing a limb to an injurious range of motion. By learning movements and combining them in a routine, the gymnast can attain greater flexibility and greater control of the body.
  • Disease prevention: Participation in gymnastics can help maintain a healthy body, which is key to preventing numerous health conditions such as asthma, cancer, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Being involved in gymnastics helps encourage a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity and eating a well-balanced diet.
  • Strong and healthy bones: Participation in weight-bearing activities — including gymnastics — can develop strong, healthy bones, which is important to develop at a young age. As we age, we inevitably experience a decrease in bone mass every year. Building strong, healthy bones at a young age can help reduce the risks of developing osteoporosis later on in life.
  • Increased self-esteem: A study conducted by researchers at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School have indicated that children who participate in physical activity like gymnastics are likely to have better self-esteem and self-efficacy.
  • Daily exercise needs: The American Heart Association recommends children participate in 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Adults age 18 and over should participate in 30 minutes of exercise at least five days per week. Participation in gymnastics helps meet the exercise recommendations set forth by the American Heart Association.
  • Increased cognitive functioning: Participation in gymnastics does not only offer physical gains; it is beneficial for improving concentration and mental focus – an important aspect of anyone’s life. Gymnastics allows children the chance to think for themselves, to stimulate their imaginations and to solve problems safely.
  • Increased coordination: Gymnasts do not react with as large a “startle response” to sudden imbalances as non-gymnasts. By applying this conditioning outside the sport, people become better equipped to avoid hazardous situations by quickly identifying them and naturally correcting body alignment when walking, standing or jumping, etc.
  • Strength development: Gymnastics produces, pound-for-pound, the best athletes in the world. Gymnastics uses almost exclusively body weight exercises to build upper body, lower body, and core strength.
  • Discipline: Gymnastics instills a sense of discipline. Each student must have the self control to make corrections when a coach asks them to, and they must also have the self discipline to stay on task when a coach is working with another gymnast.
  • Social skills: At all ages, gymnastics provides an opportunity to develop social skills. Younger children learn how to stand in line, look, listen, be quiet when others are talking, work and think independently, and how to be respectful of others. The older kids learn how to set a good example for the people who look up to them and become role models at a young age.

5 Surefire Signs You Are D3 Deficient

D3 deficiency has serious consequences for good health. With over 40% of the population D3 deficient there is good chance you may be too.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a higher risk for cancer, dementia, MS and a range of other health issues.

So how do you know if you’re deficient?

The following symptoms are signals and should be brought to your doctor’s IMMEDIATE attention:

1. Bone Loss:

A diagnosis of low bone mineral density may be a major sign of vitamin D deficiency. Getting enough of this vitamin is important for preserving bone mass as you get older. Many older women who are diagnosed with bone loss believe they need to take more calcium. However, they may be deficient in vitamin D as well.

2. Getting Sick or Infected Often:

One of vitamin D’s most important roles is keeping your immune
system strong so you’re able to fight off the viruses and bacteria that cause illness. Vitamin D plays an important role in immune function.

3. Chronic Fatigue and Tiredness:

Feeling tired can have many causes and vitamin D deficiency may be one of them. In one case, a woman who complained of chronic daytime fatigue and headaches was found to have a D3 blood level of only 5.9 ng/ml. (Anything under 20 ng/ml is deficient).

When the woman took a vitamin D supplement, her level increased to 39 ng/ml and her symptoms resolved.

4. Bone and Back Pain:

Bone pain and lower back pain may be signs of inadequate vitamin D levels in the blood. Vitamin D is involved in maintaining bone health through a number of mechanisms. For one, it improves your body’s absorption of calcium.

People with vitamin D deficiency are nearly twice as likely to experience bone pain in their legs or joints compared to those with blood levels in the normal range.

5. Depression:

A depressed mood may also be a sign of deficiency. In review studies, researchers have linked vitamin D deficiency to depression, particularly in older adults. Some studies have found supplementing with D improves mood.

When you notice persistent health issues like these, you may want to consider a quality D3 + Vitamin K2 supplement.

2 Things You NEED to KNOW when selecting a D3 Supplement

1. Warning: Never take Vitamin D Without Vitamin K2

Just as important as vitamin D3 is taking vitamin K2! Taking Vitamin D without vitamin K could actually be harmful to your Health!

When it comes to calcium metabolism, vitamins D and K work together. Both play important roles. Vitamin D gets calcium into your blood and Vitamin K gets it to the bones and prevents the calcium from accumulating in your arteries, kidneys or heart.

You don’t want rogue calcium going to the wrong places, causing joint stiffness or arterial plaque. Vitamin K2 insures that your
body uses calcium properly.

2. Most D3 Supplements are NOT absorbable.

When D3 cannot be absorbed, your body is unable to assimilate and you will not get the benefits. So you still end up with the symptoms.

Selenium Deficiency

What is Selenium Deficiency?

Selenium is a trace mineral needed by the body in small amounts for good health. It is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins, which are important antioxidant enzymes. The antioxidant properties of selenoproteins help prevent cellular damage from free radicals that can cause the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Other selenoproteins help regulate thyroid function and play a role in the immune system.

Selenium deficiency, although rare, occurs when the body does not have enough selenium.

Cause of Selenium Deficiency

Plant foods are the major dietary sources of selenium in most countries throughout the world. The content of selenium in food depends on the selenium content of the soil where the plants are grown. Selenium also can be found in some meats and seafood. Animals that eat grains or plants that were grown in selenium-rich soil have higher levels of selenium in their muscles. Bread and some nuts are also common sources of dietary selenium. In general, people in the U.S. have an adequate intake of selenium. Soils in some parts of the world, such as China and Russia, have very low amounts of selenium. Selenium deficiency is often reported in those regions because most food in those areas is grown and eaten locally.

Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency

Selenium deficiency can lead to Keshan disease. The main symptom of Keshan disease is myocardial necrosis, leading to weakening of the heart. Selenium deficiency also contributes to Kashin-Beck disease. Kashin-Beck disease results in atrophy, degeneration, and necrosis of cartilage tissue in the joints. The body also becomes more susceptible to illness caused by other nutritional, biochemical, or infectious diseases.

A selenium deficiency can cause symptoms of hypothyroidism, including extreme fatigue, mental slowing, goiter, mental retardation, and miscarriages.

Diagnosis of Selenium Deficiency

Diagnosis is generally made clinically. High levels of thyroid stimulating hormone are often an indication of selenium and/or iodine deficiency.

Implications of Selenium Deficiency

Selenium deficiency may contribute to the development of a form of heart disease, hypothyroidism, and a weakened immune system. There is evidence that selenium deficiency does not usually cause illness by itself. Rather, it can make the body more susceptible to illnesses caused by other nutritional, biochemical, or infectious processes. Additionally, selenium deficiency may worsen the effects of iodine deficiency.

Three specific diseases have been associated with selenium deficiency: Keshan Disease, which results in an enlarged heart and poor heart function in selenium-deficient children; Kashin-Beck Disease, which results in osteoarthritis in children; and Myxedematous Endemic Cretinism, which results in mental retardation in infants born to mothers deficient in both selenium and iodine.

Treatment of Selenium Deficiency

The incidence of Keshan disease is closely associated with very low dietary intakes of selenium and poor selenium nutritional status. Selenium supplementation protects people from developing Keshan disease but cannot reverse heart muscle damage once it occurs. There is little evidence that improving selenium nutritional status prevents Kashin-Beck disease.

Food Sources of Selenium

  • Brazil nuts
  • Canned Tuna
  • Beef
  • Spaghetti w/ meat sauce
  • Cod
  • Turkey
  • Beef chuck roast
  • Chicken breast
  • Enriched pasta
  • Egg
  • Cottage cheese
  • Oatmeal
  • White or brown rice

Chromium Deficient?

 

Chromium

What is chromium and what are some chromium benefits?

Chromium is a metallic element that humans require in very small amounts. It is an essential part of metabolic processes that regulate blood sugar, and helps insulin transport glucose into cells, where it can be used for energy. Chromium also appears to be involved in the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Two forms are commonly available as supplements: glucose-tolerance factor (GTF) chromium and chromium picolinate.

Why is chromium necessary?

Chromium enhances the actions of insulin and is necessary for maintaining normal metabolism and storage of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Inadequate intake of chromium has been linked to the development of glucose intolerance, a condition seen in type 2 diabetes. Chromium can also help raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, and may play a role in preventing heart disease.

What are the signs of a chromium deficiency?

An estimated 25-50% of the U.S. population is mildly deficient in chromium, a greater incidence of deficiency than is found in almost any other developed country. The industrialization of the American food supply chain, reflected in very low soil levels of chromium and the loss of chromium from refined foods, especially sugar and flours, probably contributes to this. Dietary chromium has a low absorption rate, which becomes even lower with age, so the elderly are especially at risk. Life threatening clinical deficiency may be rare, but deficiency is common.

Because adequate dietary chromium helps to maintain insulin sensitivity, chromium deficiency can contribute to the development of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Even mild deficiencies of chromium can produce problems in blood sugar metabolism, and contribute to other symptoms such as anxiety or fatigue. Altered cholesterol metabolism, accelerated atherosclerosis, decreased growth in young people and delayed healing time after injuries or surgery can result from chromium deficiency.

How much, and what kind of chromium, does an adult need?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends:

  • males 19-50, 35 mcg per day
  • men over 50, 30 mcg per day
  • females 19-50, 25 mcg per day
  • females over 50, 20 mcg per day
  • pregnant females over 19, 30 mcg per day
  • lactating females over 18, 45 mcg per day

Dr. Weil recommends 200 mcg a day as part of a multi-vitamin multi-mineral, and recommends 1000 mcg of GTF chromium a day for those with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

How much chromium does a child need?

According to the NIH:

  • infants 0-6 months, .2 mcg per day
  • babies 7-12 months, 5.5 mcg per day
  • children 1-3 years, 11 mcg per day
  • children 4-8 years, 15 mcg per day
  • young males 9-13, 25 mcg per day
  • young females 9-13, 21 mcg per day
  • teen males 14-18, 35 mcg per day
  • teen females 14-18, 25 mcg per day

How do you get enough chromium from foods?

Raw broccoli in a bowl on rustic background

Brewer’s yeast, broccoli, grape juice, meat and whole-grain products are all excellent sources. Some fruits, vegetables, and spices provide chromium. Romaine lettuce, raw onions and ripe tomatoes are all good sources.

Are there any risks associated with too much chromium?

Researchers have not found any toxic effects that result from taking high doses of chromium.

Are there any other special considerations?

Diabetics taking chromium should do so only under physician’s supervision, as should anyone using prescribed medications for blood sugar control.
The following medications can alter stomach acidity and may reduce chromium absorption or increase excretion of chromium:

  • Antacids
  • Corticosteroids
  • H2 blockers
  • Proton-pump inhibitors

The following, when taken with chromium, may be metabolized more slowly or quickly, or may change the absorption rate of chromium:

  • Vitamin C
  • Niacin
  • Beta-blockers (such as atenolol or propanolol)
  • Corticosteroids
  • Insulin
  • Nicotinic acid
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
  • Prostaglandin inhibitors (such as ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen, piroxicam, and aspirin)

28th October

METABOLIC SYNDROME FOR DUMBELLS

 
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Having just one of these conditions doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome. However, any of these conditions increase your risk of serious disease. If more than one of these conditions occur in combination, your risk is even greater.

If you have metabolic syndrome or any of the components of metabolic syndrome, aggressive lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems.

Most of the disorders associated with metabolic syndrome have no symptoms, although a large waist circumference is a visible sign. If your blood sugar is very high, you might experience signs and symptoms of diabetes — including increased thirst and urination, fatigue, and blurred vision.

When to see a doctor:

If you know you have at least one component of metabolic syndrome, ask your doctor whether you need testing for other components of the syndrome.

CAUSES:

Metabolic syndrome is primarily caused by obesity and inactivity.

Metabolic syndrome is linked to a condition called insulin resistance. Normally, your digestive system breaks down the foods you eat into sugar (glucose). Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that helps sugar enter your cells to be used as fuel.

In people with insulin resistance, cells don’t respond normally to insulin, and glucose can’t enter the cells as easily. As a result, glucose levels in your blood rise despite your body’s attempt to control the glucose by churning out more and more insulin.

This can eventually lead to diabetes when your body is unable to make enough insulin to keep the blood glucose within the normal range.

RISK FACTORS:

The following factors increase your chances of having metabolic syndrome:

  • Age: Your risk of metabolic syndrome increases with age, affecting 40 percent of people over the age of 60.
  • Race: Hispanics and Asians seem to be at greater risk of metabolic syndrome than are people of other races.
  • Obesity: Carrying too much weight increases your risk of metabolic syndrome — particularly if you have an apple shape rather than a pear shape.
  • Diabetes: You’re more likely to have metabolic syndrome if you had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes) or if you have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
  • Other diseases: Your risk of metabolic syndrome is higher if you’ve ever had cardiovascular disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or polycystic ovary syndrome.

COMPLICATIONS

Having metabolic syndrome can increase your risk of developing these conditions:

  • Diabetes: If you don’t make lifestyle changes to control your insulin resistance, your glucose levels will continue to increase. You may develop diabetes as a result of metabolic syndrome.
  • Cardiovascular disease: High cholesterol and high blood pressure can contribute to the buildup of plaques in your arteries. These plaques can cause your arteries to narrow and harden, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

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