LIFESTYLES by Ronda Gates Smart Pharmacist
Chromium For Lean Mass?

he shelves of drug and health food stores are groaning under the weight of over the counter products that promise to help you lose weight. Whether fat burners or fat blockers the labels (and unrealistic pictures) infer that weight loss is just a pill away. Most are combination drugs whose safetiness range from ‘pretty safe’ ‘extraordinarily dangerous’.

’m a pharmacist of the old school. I was taught that combination drugs may be convenient but have more disadvantages than advantages. They often require you to use medication that you don’t need, create dosage regimens that are inappropriate and/or bump the price of a relatively inexpensive single drug.

ne of the drugs that is often found in the weight loss/fat metabolism combination is chromium--usually in the form of chromium picolinate. When chromium is present the pill is usually marketed with claims like: "Lose the fat, keep the muscle," "No dieting, no exercise required," "Melts the fat away," and "Metabolic rate is raised to burn off more calories." In our weight-phobic society, claims like this sell products. Period.

he research conducted on chromium picolinate has found it to neither add nor detract from a person's health and fitness level. In one study, thirty five healthy men between ages 18 and 30 participated in an eight-week vigorous strength training program. The 35 men were divided into three groups: one received chromium picolinate, the second chromium chloride, and the third a placebo (blank pill). Although all three groups gained strength, meticulous testing found no differences between the weight, body composition or strength among the three groups.

nother study done on six 19 year old wrestlers who were participating in an aggressive weight training program some of the wrestlers taking chromium showed a very slight increase in lean mass over the group that was not taking the supplement. It’s rare that these pills are marketed with that background information.

f you can open the box containing the pills without destroying it, read the brochure. They almost always encourage you to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet and take chromium picolinate. If your goal is to get in shape, do the first two and forget the third--unless your a 19 year old wrestler on an aggressive weight building program!!

LIFESTYLES by Ronda Gates
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Mesa, AZ 85206
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