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J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Apr; 17(2): 116-23.

Comparative effects of chromium, vanadium and gymnema sylvestre on sugar-induced blood pressure elevations in SHR.

Preuss HG, Jarrell ST, Scheckenbach R, Lieberman S, Anderson RA.

Department of Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007, USA.

OBJECTIVE: Effects on systolic blood pressure (SBP) of ingesting three agents reported to influence insulin metabolism, i.e., chromium polynicotinate, bis(maltolato)oxovanadium (BMOV), and the herb, Gymnema sylvestre, were assessed simultaneously in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). METHODS: In the first study, SHR were fed either a starch, sugar, or sugar diet containing chromium polynicotinate, bis(maltolato)oxovanadium (BMOV), or G. sylvestre. Tail SBP was estimated indirectly and various blood chemistries were measured. TBARS formation was determined in hepatic and renal tissue. In a second study, tail SBP was measured in SHR ingesting diets containing different concentrations of BMOV. RESULTS: Compared to starch, SHR consuming sucrose showed a significant elevation of SBP within days that was maintained for the duration of study. Addition of chromium polynicotinate to the sucrose diet at the beginning of study prevented the sucrose-induced elevation of SBP for 2 weeks, but SBP rose significantly after that. BMOV at high concentrations overcame the sucrose-induced rise in SBP and even decreased SBP below values seen in SHR eating the starch diet, but marked weight loss was noted. A second study examined different concentrations of BMOV. At 0.01% w/w concentration of BMOV, SBP was still significantly decreased, even though SHR did not lose body weight (BW) early on. SHR consuming G. sylvestre showed no change or even elevated SBP. Hepatic thiobarbituric acid reacting substances (TBARS) formation, an estimate of lipid peroxidation, was decreased by chromium polynicotinate and BMOV, and renal TBARS by chromium polynicotinate. Circulating cholesterol concentrations were decreased in the SHR consuming G. sylvestre. CONCLUSIONS: Chromium decreases the portion of SBP elevated by high sucrose intake as shown previously, but high levels of sucrose ingestion can eventually overcome this. BMOV overcame sucrose-induced elevation of SBP as well as some of the "genetic hypertension." Different from chromium, this decrease was not overcome by high levels of dietary sucrose. The significant lowering of cholesterol with G. sylvestre ingestion indicates some effect on metabolism, but G. sylvestre did not lower and even raised SBP.

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