Keeping metabolic syndrome at bay

From Las Vegas, at a meeting of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine

Chromium supplements might stave off the life-shortening effects of metabolic syndrome, a condition that can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

People with metabolic syndrome have high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure, among other health problems. The syndrome mostly occurs in sedentary older adults who eat high-calorie diets.

Harry G. Preuss, a nutrition specialist at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and his colleagues gave chromium supplements to 12 rats belonging to a strain with a strong tendency to develop metabolic syndrome. The researchers used a form of chromium called niacin-bound chromium (NBC), which absorbs more readily into the blood than some other commercially available chromium supplements.

After 10 weeks, the rats had consistently lower blood pressure and blood sugar than a group of rats that received no supplements. The chromium-fed rats also lived 19 percent longer on average than the control group.

Chromium also reduced blood concentrations of the hormone angiotensin II, which causes blood vessels to constrict. High levels of angiotensin II in the blood have been linked with poor cardiovascular health. The angiotensin II reduction, Preuss says, “may be another factor in the increased longevity emanating from NBC intake.”

Standard blood tests didn’t reveal any negative health effects from the treatment, Preuss says.

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