Message Number: YG4476 | New FHL Archives Search
Date: 2001-06-10 15:14:00 UTC
Subject: [Ferret-Health-list] Re brewers yeast\insulinomas

Sorry it has taken awhile to answer the questions about
Brewers yeast/chromium and insulinoma treatment. I had
a computer problem, but I am back up and running again.
Seems like there are 3 basic questions: 1) is chromium
good to give to insulinoma ferrets(no), 2) is chromium safe to give
to healthy ferrets(yes), and 3) can chromium possibly prevent
insulinomas in healthy ferrets(maybe).
I will try to clear up some of the general information first, then
answer those 3 questions. Brewers yeast is a common ingredient in
pet foods because it provides some of the B vitamins (esp. Thiamine
and chromium. Thiamine is a very important B vitamin that is needed
by ferrets and most mammals. Chromium is the part that causes
the confusion.
1) Chromium is NOT a good thing to give an insulinoma ferret because

it actually lowers blood glucose levels. Chromium also has some
insulin like
properties. Clearly we do not want to lower an insulinomas already
blood glucose level. Nor do we want to give something that acts like

insulin when there is already to much insulin being produced by the
insulinoma. Chromium is a good thing to give to diabetic people and
pets, but diabetes is rare in ferrets.
2) Yes chromium is safe to give to ferrets without insulinomas.
brewers yeast has a lot of the needed B vitamin thiamine. Chromium
not cause problems in the healthy ferret.
3) Can chromium prevent insulinomas? This is a good question that
further research. Since chromium helps to lower the post meal
surge, it may help to prevent stimulation of the pancreas that
after eating a meal with carbohydrates in it. It is this
overstimulation of
the pancreas after eating carbohydrates (sugary treats, rice, etc.)
that cause an insulinoma to form. If we had a ferret diet with a low

carbohydrate level (10%) instead of the 20-30% carbohydrate diets
that we currently have, If we had a diet with carbohydrates that
lower post meal glucose peaks (sorghum, corn, barley) instead of
rice that produces the highest post meal glucose peak, If we had a
diet with enough chromium to lower the post meal glucose peak,
then we might prevent insulinomas from occurring in ferrets. Again
is an area that needs further research. Based on what we currently
know, chromium is a good thing for healthy ferrets, but a bad thing
for ferrets with an insulinoma.
Hope that clears up the confusion,
Jerry Murray, DVM