T Nation

5-htp, ALA, Chromium Hystidiane???

Can someone simply help me out with finding the optimal and best way to fit these three supplements into my daily routine? I have Alpha lipoic acid at 250mg, 5-htp at 50mg, and Chromium Histidinate at 200mcg. I am just simply on a maintance routine everyday because of boxing. I have the buffet once or twice a week to help with cravings and such but other than that I usually have about 3000 calories a day. Any help guidance is welcomed and thanked. 1

Could really use some info! sorry, don’t mean to keep this thread going if it’s useless to most.

Hmmmm. The ALA serves at least two benefits and could be taken in a couple of different ways. If you want to take it as an antioxidant, I’d break it up, half in the morning and half in the evening. If you’re taking it for it’s insulin-sensitivity-enhancing effects, I’d take ALA at that dosage (more or less) before every carb-containing meal.

I’m not familiar with chromium histidinate, but I imagine you’re taking it for the same reason, to raise insulin sensitivity? I’m not precisely sure on that one. Minerals are best taken with food. What does the bottle say, and what is your reason for taking it?

5-HTP, once again, why are you taking it? Some people take it to help them sleep. Other for seratonin enhancement which helps reduce food cravings and/or improve depression.

Bottom line, I take my amino acids 20 minutes before my meals, vitamins with my meals. ALA is probably one of the few exceptions; best taken 30 minutes before a carb-containing meal.

Terry, thanks a lot man that was usefull. To answer some of your questions: Chromium Histidinate is a better more absorbably version of chromium picolinate, and yes I will or want to use that and ALA for insulin sensitivity. As for the 5-htp I have heard good things about it, geared towards food cravings. Thanks for the info again, and don’t know if what I just stated or what my intentions are with the products change how I would take them? but none the less thanks.

BoxerAl, I have some reference/research material on the supps you mentioned and will get back to you later today.

oooh, thanks terry!

Let’s start with chromium. If you’ve been supplementing all along, you’ll probably not see much response/improvement over your current baseline, even with a more bioavialable version. However, a surprisingly high percentage of the population is chromium deficient, and there is no doubt that it is an important mineral in blood sugar metabolism. Reversing a chromium deficiency has also been demonstrated to lower body weight while increasing LBM, due to improved/increased insulin sensitivity. In other words, you’re dead on, on this one, Al.

Dosage for chromium, as a minimum, take 200 mcg per day; 100 mcg twice per day, morning and evening, with food. If you’re inclined to experiment, there were studies done at 500 mcg; 250 mcg twice per day. Chromium does not need to be taken before carb-containing meals, just in divided doses.

Next, alpha lipoic acid. Sometimes you’ll see the designation ALA, which shouldn’t be confused with alpha linolenic acid, also designated as ALA. The latter is an omega-3 fatty acid. I’ll be using ALA in the following text to refer to alpha lipoic acid. (less typing).

I consider ALA to be one of the more important supplements I take. It’s a potent antioxidant. It’s used to prevent cataracts and with people who have chronic fatigue. It boosts cellular glutathione levels. It regenerates Vitamins C & E; i.e., donating an electron and extending C & E’s useful life. It benefits the brain and benefits the heart. I could go on and on, Al. ALA should be in everyone’s supplement regimen.

But on to increasing insulin sensitivity. Yes! Once again, you hit the bull’s eye. I’m seeing recommended dosages of 250 mg twice per day. Since ALA may cause Vitamin B12 depletion, it is recommended that you supplement with B12 concurrently.

I’ve been reading on this forum about high-dose ALA. People here are playing around with 2g and 4g per day, in divided doses before carb-containing meals. Notice I say “playing around with.” Nonetheless, if I were inclined to “play around with” higher dosages and if high blood sugar levels were a problem of mine, I’d probably do so in conjunction with a blood glucose monitor. Example: I’d eat a meal, the first one of the day, with 50g of carbs, testing my blood sugar before and at half hour intervals for the two hours following, recording the results. The next day, I’d eat exactly the same meal, first meal, but take 500 mg of ALA one half hour before the meal, once again recording the results. I’ve read that ALA can actually go all the way to the other extreme, lowering your blood sugar too much, making you hypoglycemic. So, Al, I’m not recommending that you play guinea pig. Just if you do want to play with higher dosages, measure the results and make a scientific decision as to its benefits or not.

Note: I would appreciate the input of any of the more scientific types on the forum as to what I suggested above re high-dose ALA.

Next, 5-HTP. Boy, I can tell you’ve done your research. 5-HTP is used in the treatment of depression, insomnia, weight loss, migraines and a number of other things, the common factor in all of these conditions being enhancement/support of seratonin synthesis. 5-HTP is a precursor of seratonin, one of a number of brain chemicals.

Let me address 5-HTP as it relates to affecting eating behavior, since that’s your area of interest. When animals and humans are fed tryptophan-fee diets (tryptophan is the amino acid precuror to seratonin), appetite increases, resulting in binge eating, with a strong preference for carbohydrates. Low seratonin levels in the brain make the brain think the body is starving, resulting in stimulation of the appetite control centers in a powerful way. Bottom line, 5-HTP promotes satiety.

Re dosage, one study gave its participants 300 mg 30 minutes before meals; that’s probably based on someone eating 3 meals a day, though. Another study used 8 mg per kg of body weight daily.

Okay, that’s pretty much it, Boxer-Al. Re your cheat meals/buffets, are you using Joel Marion’s guidelines for cheating?

Tampa-Terry, first of all let me thank you and express how much that post has helped figuere somethings out. I was sort of aware of a lot of it but also learned some, some is better than nothing, and your post has made it all clear now and there is no questioning. About the cheat meal whether or not Im following Joel’s idea is: NO! I have a legitimate diet but eat enough. On JohnBerardi.com there is an article that’s called “The cutting edge diet” which is very similar to my diet just simply add bread to the last meal which is supposed to be a plain burger patty, and on the salad meal I usually have bread as well. I substitute a lot as well i.e. grape-nuts for oatmeal, or instead of burger patty w/bread I have pasta with meat sauce and chicken etc.

As for cheat meals usually it’s spontanious type things or if it’s planned then the day before I’ll try and lower carbs as much as possible. But before all cheats I usually take a thermogenic/Old version T2 100mcg/chromium 200mcg/ALA 750mg about an hour before the meal. I also usually walk for about 30minutes after the meal as I usually eat more than enough, tons more actually.

So, this will be my supplement plan thanks to you: ALA 3 times a day in 250mg doses, Chromium twice a day first meal and last meal at 200mcg a dose, Vitamin ester-C at four doses 500mg each one, and a EC stack before weights, I will also be starting, tommorrow, to use T2-pro for one month to boost metabolism to help shed a couple of fat lbs… to look a tiny bit better ;). Well Tampa-Terry I cannot thank you enough and if you have more input or recommendations for me please do not hesitate as your info has become valuable to me. Thank you and hope in the future I can be of help.

Hi, BoxerAl. I’ve been offline for a couple of days, so sorry for the tardy reply.

Glad I could be of help. Your diet and supplement regimen at this point look awfully tight, well thought out. I don’t have anything more to contribute, but don’t hesitate to ask if you have any other questions.

It takes time (to read, research, cross-reference) and experimenting, but there isn’t any reason we can’t take science and use it to help us achieve our goals. That’s what I love about John Berardi’s articles.

BTW, I like the dosage at which you’re taking Vitamin C. Good number! And the divided doses are critical.

Take care, and thanks for the kind words. I’m sure there will be times I’m calling on you, looking for help, ideas or information. That’s the beauty of T-Mag and the T-Nation.

Just a last thank you and hope we can stay in touch or here from you again.

Thanks for the info!

Boxer Al