Chromium is an essential trace mineral the body needs for normal growth, metabolism, maintenance of normal blood glucose levels, diabetes control, heart health, brain health, and weight management.
It also helps protect DNA from damage, thus reducing cell mutations that can lead to various chronic diseases such as cancer. In addition, it is associated with cardiovascular health and longevity because it supports the metabolism of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and other nutrients.
Chromium is naturally present in various unrefined whole foods, such as brewer’s yeast, broccoli, vegetable salads, potatoes or whole grains.
Other sources include grapes, garlic, basil, grass-fed beef, oranges, turkey, green beans, red wine, apples and bananas.
Unfortunately, the amount of chromium in the source of food greatly depends on the quality of soil, which in most cases is depleted of minerals.
Deficiency is most often associated with sugar cravings. In this case, it is suggested to take about 200 mcg as it is used in insulin regulation and is important for balancing blood sugar levels thus helping reduce sugar cravings.
Other symptoms of deficiency include poor blood glucose control, weak bones, fatigue, poor skin health, an increased risk of high cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases, low concentration and poor memory, bad eye health, mood changes, changes in appetite and weight and stunted growth and development.
Some experts believe that deficiency today is universal and becomes worse with age. We are witnessing an epidemic of ailments related to chromium deficiency. Health conditions such as diabetes, hypoglycaemia, elevated cholesterol levels, fatigue and sugar cravings.
On the other hand, deficiency in western countries is rare as chromium is present in whole wheat products and western diets typically consist of refined carbohydrates.
Chromium and Diabetes
We know that deficiency can lead to insulin resistance. Chromium is a part of the Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF), it helps insulin to attach to insulin receptors and be more effective in opening the cell’s door for sugar, thus lowering its blood levels.
There are studies that demonstrated the effectiveness of supplements in treating diabetes. For instance, according to the one which was published in 2006, “Chromium and Biotin supplementation improves glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes.” Therefore, it can be used to help manage your diabetes.
- Helps insulin attach to cell’s receptors, increasing glucose uptake into the cell (promoting glucose metabolism)
- Assists in losing weight and building lean muscles by reducing sugar cravings and enhancing metabolism
- Plays a role in heart health and managing high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure
- Supports the nervous system, promotes a good mood and benefits cognitive function
- Useful for skin, bone and eye health
Recommended Daily Intake
- Infants 0-6 months: 0.2 micrograms
- Children 7-12 months: 5 micrograms
- Children 1 -3 years: 10 micrograms
- Children 4 -8 years: 15 micrograms
- Children 9-13 years: 20-25 micrograms
- Teenagers 14 -18 years: 25-35 micrograms
- Adults 19-50 years: 35 micrograms for men, 25 micrograms for women
- Pregnant Women: 30 micrograms
- Breastfeeding Women: 35 micrograms
The safe upper limit is 200 micrograms. Although, overdosing is very rare as it is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning excess is flushed out of the body, in our urine.
Due to soil depletion, poor nutritional habits and a refined diet, high in sugar, most people do not get enough in their regular diet. For this reason, using supplemental chromium seems to be the most reasonable substitute.
Chromium picolinate is regarded as the most bioavailable form of chromium, although it comes in several different forms such as chromium chloride and chromium nicotinate.
- Lawrence Wilson (2016) Chromium – the Blood Sugar Element
- Diabetes Tech. Ther. 2006 The effect of chromium picolinate and biotin supplementation on glycemic control in poorly controlled patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Dec; 8(6): 636-43.
- Anderson RA. Chromium in the prevention and control of diabetes. Diabetes Metab 2000 Feb;26(1):22-7. 2000. PMID:15190.
- Cefalu WT, Wang ZQ, Zhang XH et al. Oral chromium picolinate improves carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and enhances skeletal muscle Glut-4 translocation in obese, hyperinsulinemic (JCR-LA corpulent) rats. J Nutr 2002 Jun;132(6):1107-14. 2002.
- Groff JL, Gropper SS, Hunt SM. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. West Publishing Company, New York, 1995. 1995.
- What Is Chromium? Chromium Helps Control Blood Sugar - Dr. Axe (draxe.com)
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Any information or product suggested on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Consult your primary healthcare physician before using any supplements or making any changes to your regime.