Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Pecs Like A Chicken?" Chromium Improves Body Composition (in Broiler Chickens)

Some supplements have been there forever, eg. creatine, others re-appear from time to time. Chromium is among the last group of supplemental nutrients which have been en-vogue a few years ago and are mostly neglected these days. With a recent study by Ibrahim et al. your interest in the effects of chromium on body composition may yet raise, again.

The scientists fed four groups of broiler chickens (I know no humans ;-) a 0.5, 1, 1.5 and 2 mg cr-yeast/kg
diet
respectively. The results were quite interesting:
Chromium yeast supplementation treatments caused a significant (p<0.05) increase in plasma glucose levels, while supplemented Cr-yeast at levels of 1 (T3), 1.5 (T4), 2 (T5) mg/kg diet resulted in a significant (p<0.05) increase in total protein and globulin as compared to control group. Alsosupplemented 0.5 (T2) or 2 (T5) mg Cr-yeast resulted in a significant (p<0.05) reduction in total lipid in plasma, whereas cholesterol levels which were significantly (p<0.05) decreased when Cr-yeast was supplemented at levels of 1 (T3), 1.5 (T4) and 2 (T5) mg/kg diet. Although LDL was significantly (p<0.05)decreased when 1.5 (T4) or 2 (T5) mg Cr-yeast was supplemented to the diet.
While these are more health related measurements, suggesting that the supplementation - even of high doses - of chromium would make sense, the scientists noted effects directly related to the chickens body composition, as well:
Chromium level increased in liver, muscle and plasma as levels of supplementation was increased. Protein percentage in the breast and thigh increased significantly (p<0.05) in all chromium supplementation groups as compared to the control group, while fat percentage in the breast and thigh decrease significantly (p<0.05) when chromium level increased from 1-2 mg/kg diet.
Whether these effects may be reproduced in human beings, is however debatable. At least, previous studies done with much lower doses of chromium failed to produce measurable effects on body composition, weight or even athletic performance. While chromium within the range of 200mcg/day is generally considered save, escalating doses to levels comparable to the human equivalent dose of the 2mg/kg used in the study, could potentially lead to chromium toxicity, which is associated with: Spinal / joint degeneration, depressed immune system and lymphatic swelling.