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September 30, 2006

Does SK-II have excess amount of chromium?

Filed under: Freestyle — Fei @ 1:27 pm

Recently, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine discovered trace amount of chromium and neodymium in SK-II skin care products. Then we saw all kinds of news about the refund and the unfair waiver form etc. I don’t know anything about this brand of cosmetics. But I happened to research the amount of chromium that’s needed by a human, for a completely different reason.

I found most vitamin and mineral supplements (e.g. Centrum) have chromium. A warning was posted on the label: diabetes or hypoglycemia patients need to consult doctor before taking the supplements. Why? I googled the web and seemed to have found the answer.

It is generally believed that chromium is an essential trace mineral for human body, while excess intake of chromium may have several undesired effects. However, different sources draw different conclusions.

UC Berkeley Wellness Letter presents a negative view about chromium [1]: There’s little evidence that chromium deficiency is widespread. Some very preliminary research suggests that chromium picolinate can reduce blood sugar in people with Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease. But that’s a far cry from a reliable treatment for diabetes, which is not a chromium-deficiency disease. There is no good evidence backing chromium picolinate as a weight-loss aid, a muscle-builder, or a way to reduce blood cholesterol levels. This new evidence does suggest that it may have serious side effects. Nobody should take chromium picolinate, especially not young people.

However, other sources suggest differently. Briggs presents a double blind study in China [2]. The result indicates that daily intake of 1,000 mcg chromium have shown consistent improvement on type II diabetes. Similar results have been obtained by scientists at Agriculture Department’s Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center. A chemical explanation is also presented [3]. Because chromium may potentially treat diabetes, it may interfere with other drugs. This explains the warning message on the bottle of supplements.

Different agencies cannot agree on the exact daily consumption amount as well. The FDA has not evaluated the daily intake value. The Food and Nutrition Board of the NRC has recommended a “safe and adequate” range for dietary chromium of 50 to 200 mcg per day [4]. But this number is argued by other agencies. Most supplements consider 80 to 150 mcg as 100% daily suggested value, with the amount for men less than women. Some research indicates the US population have chromium deficiency [2], while others conclude otherwise [1].

The absorption rate varies a lot for different forms of chromium. Again, different researches result differently. One research showed that 40% of chromium picolinate, 10% of chromium nicotinate, and 1% of chromium chloride can be absorbed [5]. It is very different from another research, which concludes that the absorption rate for chromium picolinate is only 4% [2]. Most mineral supplements have chromium chloride. It means even though one pill of supplement has about 100 mcg chromium chloride, the actual absorbed amount is only 1 mcg.

Another form of chromium, hexavalent chromium, is toxic. Fortunately, it does not exist in food.

Let’s get back to the cosmetics. It is discovered that several major brand of skin care products have between 0.5 mg to 5 mg chromium per kilogram of skin care products. That is equivalent to 0.5 mcg to 5 mcg chromium per gram, which is the normal consumption per day. This number is well below the US daily suggested value. As of now, I have not found any information about the type of chromium compound found in the cosmetics, nor is the amount regulated by Chinese administrations.

September 28, 2006


Filed under: Economics — Fei @ 8:54 pm

Don’t know why, don’t know how… I’m suddenly interested in economics… actually that was a year ago… still, now, I’m a novice. But I’m reading economics history, which I loaned from a friend. And more importantly, I’m going to read more… Interesting enough, I’m now reading wikipedia on the internet… just type in a key word and read the description… I’m quite surprised on the amount of information it provides… it’s one secret to kill time in work 😉

So.. as you can expect, this my notebook to scratch everything about economics… and I do expect some experts would answer my questions…


September 26, 2006


Filed under: 往事如风 — Fei @ 10:40 pm



September 24, 2006

Freestyle writing

Filed under: Freestyle — Fei @ 10:56 pm

Freestyle writing, as the name indicates, means to write at will with no specific topic. The writing may also be spontaneous, which means I will make more mistakes… Please remind me if you ever find one. Thanks in advance.

September 20, 2006

My 9.11

Filed under: 往事如风 — Tags: — Fei @ 9:58 pm

September 2001, I just started my second year of Ph.D. study at Princeton University. The University sits in a quite little town 50 miles south of New York city, a town just escapes the crowd of the metropolitan, but is still convenient for a day trip. I just started my research projects, which were in collaboration with NEC lab, America. I was required to go to the lab once a while to do some experiments. The lab was not far from the University, only 12 minutes driving. However, at that time, I did not have a driving license, nor a car. How can I get to the lab? The answer is — bike. Sept. 11 2001, Tuesday, I planed to bike to NEC lab. After having a light breakfast, I packed my lunch and headed to NEC lab. When I biked near the math department, I met a friend. The first word he said was “Do you know that the world trade center was hit by a plane?”.

“Really?” I asked. It was the first time I heard the story, very brief and vague. What kind of plane? Was it serious? Those questions were haunted in my head. I hesitated for a while, weighting the news, but I still decided to continue the trip. I had planed the trip for days, and should not be disrupted by an unclear message.

The bike route was surprisingly long, a lot longer than the car route. I biked on sand trails, crossed multiple bridges, as well as a major highway. 50 minutes later, I finally arrived at the lab. The lab was surprisingly quite. Only a few cars were parked outside. The entire 4-storey building seemed empty. I did not meet anyone on the way to my cube. Nobody was in the kitchen as well. A secretary’s desk was a few steps away from my cube. She was not there, but the radio on her desk was constantly broadcasting live news in low volume. Later on when I walked around to look for people, I only saw a few. They were all walking in the hallway and quickly disappeared around the corner. It was definitely not an ordinary day. To be honest, the scene was a bit scary.

I wanted to head back immediately, but that would waste several days’ planning, and 50 minutes biking. I tried to calm down and do some research, but I could not help reading the news on the computer: four planes were down, twin towers collapsed. News were updated in real time. I had too many questions in mind, too many questions unanswered. As a result, I did not do any research in the morning. At lunch time, I quietly finished my packed lunch box in the kitchen, alone. Then, I seated in my cube for a while, became even more uneasy. The radio still murmured in the background, but nobody showed up. Finally, I made the decision to go home.

Again after an hour’s biking, I got home at Annex. Immediately I turned the TV and computer on. I was a bit worried about my host family. My host father used to work in world trade center. But fortunately, his company moved to Jersey city earlier in the year. Still, I wrote them an email asking for their situation. They replied in a couple of hours. It was really fortunate. My host mother was in world trade center the week before to take classes, but both of them were fine that day. I was a little relaxed after reading the email.

I spent the rest of the day in front of the computer, or TV, or both. At that time, all major TV networks refrained from broadcasting the terrible scenes. I no longer saw the crashing of UA175 on the south tower, the collapse of the twin towers, even the flamed towers or Pentagon. Nothing really was new. However, I still constantly reading and watching the updated news till late at night.

After midnight, I fell asleep in my little cozy room at Annex, unawaring that the world was no longer the same.

September 11, 2006

Remember 9.11

Filed under: 往事如风 — Tags: — Fei @ 10:27 pm

911, the number we usually call when we are in great need, is now forever tied to a date, a date that may have changed history. On 9/11/2001, four US domestic commercial airplanes were hijacked. Two hit the twin towers of world trade center, one hit the Pentagon, and the other crashed in an empty field of western Pennsylvania. As a result, nearly three thousand people were killed, the 110-storey twin towers collapsed, and one side of Pentagon severely damaged.

Sept. 11 has forever changed the world, changed everyone’s life. People have passed from the initial panic, anger, united, to the more recent confusion, suspect, and divided. Now five years have passed since the tragedy. People have gathered pieces of information of that day. People have started to rethink the post 911 war on terror.

Recently, many TV channels cast documentaries to reveal the details of that special day. Movie makers did the same. In the past few weeks, I watched movie “United 93”, several documentaries on Discovery, CBS, as well as the ABC controversial “The path to 9/11”. I was very much inspired by the heroic deeds of the firefighters, port authority officers, and police officers. Ordinary men did unordinary things.

It is Sept. 11, 2006 today. I asked to myself: what I was doing on that day? What was my feeling? What’s my view on the war? Maybe it’s time to write something down — to help me remember this historic day.

September 8, 2006

Disneyland, Anaheim

Filed under: 2006 — Fei @ 9:32 pm

September 7, 2006

San Diego Wild Animal Park

Filed under: 2006 — Fei @ 9:36 pm

Cabrillo National Monument

Filed under: 2006 — Fei @ 9:32 pm

September 6, 2006

Sea World San Diego

Filed under: 2006 — Fei @ 9:37 pm

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