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Chromium Picolinate Reduces Depression, Study Shows

Posted Dec 18 2008 8:14pm

Many of us who've quit sugar have relied on the supplement chromium picolinate to cut back on our carbohydrate cravings, but now there's proof to back up this claim. Not only that, but people experienced some other intriguing positive effects on mood as a result of taking this essential trace mineral.

A new study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice found that of 113 patients with atypical depression, a subset of patients who reported the highest levels of carb cravings experienced four different benefits after taking chromium picolinate---"significantly greater reductions" than a placebo group in carb cravings, appetite increase, increased eating, and diurnal variation of feeling (mood variations throughout the day).

In fact, 65 percent of those taking the chromium picolinate with high carb cravings cravings versus 33 perent of the placebo-taking group had "significantly greater improvements" on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D-29), which is a standard tool to assess severity of symptoms.

"Carbohydrate cravings, weight gain and unexplained fatigue are all characteristic symptoms of atypical depression, a common but frequently undiagnosed depressive disorder affecting up to 42 percent of the 19 million Americans diagnosed with depression, acccording to a press release about the study from Comprehensive NeuroScience, Inc., an independent research and drug development company.

"These results suggest that the use of chromium picolinate may be beneficial for patients with atypical depression who also have severe carbohydrate craving," said the study's lead investigator, John P. Docherty, M.D., president and CEO of Comprehensive NeuroScience Inc, and adjunct professor of psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

The researchers also believe that the findings sugest that physicians and mental health professionals should keep be watchful of patients who report carb cravings "as it may signal the possible presence of a more serious underlying medical condition, such as atypical depression."

Chroumium is an essential trace mineral, whose main function is to work with insulin to metabolize carbs, fats and proteins. When chromium is bound to picolinic acid to create chromium picolinate, absorption in the body is greatly improved.

While I find this study quite fascinating, I can't help but wonder: Might the simple carbs themselves be partly leading to those depressed feelings?

Start talking to "carb addicts," and you'll see what I mean. Often, people hooked on sweets and processed carbs are depressed, which makes you wonder which came first---the underlying depressed state or the carbs?

Incidentally, a number of physicians---including mine, back in 1998---do believe that chromium picolinate supplementation can help with carb cravings. 

Ultimately, this study provides a message of hope, I believe. It sound slike if you're depressed or have carb cravings, chromium picolinate supplementation might prove helpful.

Bear in mind that I'm not a doctor and I'm not offering medical advice. Before you start taking chromium or any other supplement, it's best to consult a physician. And, of course, my statements have not been reviewed by the FDA, although the agency did recently recognize chromium picolinate as a safe nutritional supplement.

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