Vital stats: InterHealth's ChromeMate brand chromium
Study claim: Niacin-bound chromium (III) lowers blood pressure in sucrose-fed rats through its effects on a hormone system that regulates long-term blood pressure.
Published: Perricone NV, et al. Blood pressure lowering effects of niacin-bound chromium (III) (NBC) in sucrose-fed rats: renin-angiotensin system. J Inorg Biochem 2008 Jul;102(7):1541-8.
Abstract: Excessive intake of sugars significantly elevates systolic blood pressure (SBP) in susceptible rats. Although the exact mechanisms behind sugar-induced hypertension are uncertain and may be multiple, disturbances in the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) manifested by elevated circulating levels of angiotensin-2 may be involved. Researchers attempted to confirm that the RAS was significantly involved in sugar-induced BP elevations and examined whether the ability of niacin-bound chromium (NBC) to ameliorate sugar-induced SBP elevations was due, at least in part, to effects on the RAS.
Forty mature Sprague-Dawley rats were used comparing two methods to estimate rat blood pressure indirectly. Then 13 were selected to examine the effects of NBC on the RAS. All rats eventually ingested a diet heavy in sucrose (30%w/w).
While dietary sucrose raised SBP significantly in the control group, adding NBC to the treatment group lowered it back toward baseline. The treatment group was more sensitive to exogenous insulin challenge and showed decreased activity of the RAS estimated by less lowering of SBP after losartan challenge, decreased serum ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) activity, and lower levels of circulating angiotensin-2. The former two parameters showed statistical significance; and the latter showed a trend toward statistical significance. A separate group receiving captopril served as a positive control and showed decreased ACE activity and circulating levels of angiotensin-2 compared to the control group.
Study data suggest that the RAS plays a significant role in sugar-induced hypertension and that NBC lowers SBP, at least in part, via actions on the RAS.
Potential applications: ChromeMate's cardiovascular benefits are especially important to those with diabetes because the two are related. ChromeMate has previously been shown to help maintain healthy blood-sugar levels and body weight.
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Vital stats: Natural Health Science's Pycnogenol French maritime pine bark
Study claim: Pycnogenol improves a range of cognitive markers in elderly humans.
Published: Ryan J, et al. An examination of the effects of the antioxidant Pycnogenol(R) on cognitive performance, serum lipid profile, endocrinological and oxidative stress biomarkers in an elderly population. J Psychopharmacol 2008 Jul;22(5):553-62.
Abstract: The study examined the effects of the antioxidant flavonoid Pycnogenol on a range of cognitive and biochemical measures in healthy elderly individuals. The study used a double-blind, placebo-controlled, matched-pair design, with 101 elderly participants (60-85 years) consuming 150mg/day Pycnogenol for three months. Participants were assessed at baseline, then at one, two, and three months of the treatment. The control (placebo) and Pycnogenol groups were matched by age, sex, body mass index, micronutrient intake and intelligence.
The cognitive tasks comprised measures of attention, working memory, episodic memory and psychomotor performance. The biological measures comprised levels of clinical hepatic enzymes, serum lipid profile, human growth hormone and lipid peroxidation products. Statistically significant interactions were found for memory-based cognitive variables and lipid peroxidation products, with the Pycnogenol group displaying improved working memory and decreased concentrations of F2-isoprostanes relative to the control group.
Potential applications: Pycnogenol is effective for geriatric populations. It also has a wealth of research on conditions ranging from cardiovascular health to diabetes and joint health to menstrual disorders. Natural Health Science (NHS), based in New Jersey, is the North American distributor for Pycnogenol brand French maritime pine-bark extract, available for supplements, on behalf of Horphag Research, Germany.
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