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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Chromium Picolinate Linked With Reduced Carbohydrate Cravings In People With Atypical Depression

30 Sep 2005

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study assessing chromium picolinate supplementation in 113 people with atypical depression found that a subset of patients who reported the highest levels of carbohydrate cravings demonstrated significantly greater reductions than the placebo group on four items on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D-29): carbohydrate craving, appetite increase, increased eating, and diurnal variation of feeling (mood variation throughout the day). The study, published today in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice, found that 65 percent of the chromium picolinate patients with high carbohydrate craving versus 33 percent of those receiving placebo had significantly greater improvements on total HAM-D-29 scores (p < 0.05). HAM-D-29 is a standard tool commonly used in assessing severity of symptoms in depressed patients.

Carbohydrate cravings, weight gain and unexplained fatigue are 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. “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. “For years, the link between depression, insulin sensitivity, and the value of dietary chromium picolinate has been hinted at in small studies and this trial may bring us closer to understanding the connection.”

“These findings also suggest that physicians and mental health professionals should be alert to patients who report carbohydrate craving as it may signal the possible presence of a more serious underlying medical condition, such as atypical depression,” Dr. Docherty said. “The use of antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics that are commonly prescribed to treat depression can often worsen carbohydrate cravings. A treatment that effectively reduces carbohydrate cravings and has a favorable tolerability and side-effect profile would be a very useful contribution to improve overall health outcomes.”

Chromium is an essential trace mineral whose main function is to work with insulin to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins. When chromium is bound to picolinic acid to create chromium picolinate, absorption in the body is significantly improved. Recently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recognized chromium picolinate as a safe nutritional supplement.

Amandha's Note: Also think about the implications of treatment for Diabetes, where carb cravings can cause many complications.


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