Saturday, 12 December 2009

Chromium for Depression

Two small placebo controlled trials have shown a role for high doses (600mcg) of the essential mineral chromium in the treatment of 'atypical' depression, characterized by periods of low mood accompanied with carbohydrate cravings, weight gain and excessive sleepiness. (Docharty J et al, J Psychiatr Pract. 2005 Sep;11(5):302-14; Davidson J et al Biol Psychiatry. 2003 Feb 1;53(3):261-4.) 
More recent animal studies have reported an anti-depressant an d ant-anxiety effect of chromium possibly linked to a serotonin promoting effect
(Piotrowska A, Pharmacol Rep. 2008 Nov-Dec;60(6):991-5;  and Khanam R & Pillai KK. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2007 Oct;21(5):531-4). Chromium, which is an essential co-factor for the insulin receptor, has also been shown to reduce sugar and fat craving and tends to promote weight loss
, a fact which in itself would cheer the average dieter up. (Anton A et al Diabetes Technol Ther. 2008 Oct;10(5):405-12) In clinical practice we find that 400mcg of chromium, taken in the morning and a furth er 200mcg taken at lunch, produces a mood elevating effect in those with atypical depression. Chromium appears to work very fast with most people noticing an effect within three days. While a larger scale definitive trial is needed, with no toxicity reported below 10,000mcg, chromium is easily and safely tested in those with atypical depression.

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