Survey: 94 Percent Women Chromium Deficient, At Risk For Impaired Insulin Function
O'Neil says women especially need to better understand insulin health
A new survey conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by the National Women’s Health Resource Center (NWHRC) found some disturbing statistics regarding women and their awareness of the symptoms of impaired insulin function, among other things.
The survey of 1,377 U.S. adult women showed that three-fourths of women between the ages of 40 and 65 who were not diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease, although they have a family history of these conditions, were likely to be overweight, experience chronic fatigue and endure intense cravings for carbohydrates. Even more startling is the revelation from the survey that one-third of all women had no idea these symptoms are tell-tale signs that they have an impaired insulin function, a precursor to the development of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Additionally, this survey, which was funded by an unrestricted grant donated by supplement manufacturer Nutrition 21, found that 53 percent of the women took a daily multivitamin, but just 11 percent of the women surveyed took a chromium supplement. Sadly, a dismal 94 percent of the women surveyed had no idea that running low on the mineral chromium could negative impact their blood sugar.
Chromium is an essential mineral for improving insulin health just as calcium promotes strong bone health. The average American only gets about 1-2 mcg of chromium and just one in ten women gets an adequate amount of this mineral in their diet according to the USDA.
The lack of education regarding poor insulin function includes:
- 58 percent did not know carb cravings were a sign
- 48 percent did not know excess weight in the belly is a sign
- 65 percent did not know feeling fatigued is a sign
- 59 percent did not know being over 40 is a sign
- 78 percent did not know family history is a sign
The most common symptoms reported by the women surveyed:
- 62 percent have excessive weight in the mid-section
- 36 percent have frequent bouts with fatigue
- 30 percent have uncontrollable carb cravings
There is a special web site set up to help women who want to stay abreast on all the latest news and research regarding insulin health. It's called BloodSugarFactor.com and can answer many of your questions regarding this important health issue. Additionally, NWHRC has some downloadable tools as well or they can be reached toll-free at 877-986-9472.
If you are interested in seeing the survey results for yourself, then you can download it as a PDF file by clicking here.
The following is a special question and answer session from nutrition expert Carolyn O’Neil, MS, RD. O'Neil is a former CNN nutrition correspondent and co-author of "The Dish: Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!" and she answers some common questions about insulin health to help women better understand how important chromium is to that equation.
What is insulin?
Insulin is known as the "master metabolic hormone." Normal insulin function helps the cells use glucose, our body’s energy source. However, in some cases the body is unable to use the insulin it produces. When this happens glucose, or blood sugar, levels rise above normal, which can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
If I don’t have diabetes why worry about insulin health?
If you don’t have diabetes and you hear the word ‘insulin’ you may tune out because you think it doesn’t apply. It is critical to understand that insulin health is important for everyone, particularly if you have a family history of diabetes or heart disease, as you are at higher risk for these conditions.
Why should I be concerned about diabetes or heart disease?
You may think of heart disease as a "man’s disease." However, heart disease is the number one killer for women, too. Additionally, the American Diabetes Association estimates 9.7 million women 20 years or older have diabetes, although nearly one-third don’t know it. Improving your insulin health today can help lessen the risk for these chronic diseases in the future.
How can I improve my insulin health?
Above and beyond eating right and exercising, you can proactively improve your insulin health by supplementing your diet with chromium picolinate. While the body makes insulin naturally, chromium enables insulin to work at its best.
What is chromium?
Chromium is an essential mineral required to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Without adequate levels of chromium in the body, insulin cannot effectively do its job. Numerous human studies support the role of chromium picolinate in helping to improve blood sugar, promote cardiovascular health and fight carbohydrate cravings.
Do I need a supplement?
Chromium is found in many foods at low levels, but it’s often poorly absorbed. This is where a chromium picolinate supplement can factor into your diet. Supplementing with Chromax chromium picolinate – the most studied commercially available form of chromium – will help balance insulin levels.
How much chromium picolinate should I take?
Research suggests 200-500 mcg of chromium as chromium picolinate daily will help achieve optimal health benefits.