The Importance of Chromium


Chromium is an essential nutrient, vital in carb, fat and protein metabolism as well as helping insulin work more effectively to regulate blood sugar levels.

While claims about the ability of chromium to aid weight loss and enhance muscle growth are frequently touted, little evidence supports these claims. Deficit in chromium levels is rare and reports of side effects from taking supplements rarely come in.

Heart health

Studies have correlated a higher intake of Chromium with healthier arteries and reduced levels of blood cholesterol. It helps your body break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins for energy use while producing and secreting insulin for controlling your blood sugar. Studies suggest people living with diabetes often deficient in Chromium may benefit from supplements; more evidence must be accumulated before reaching any definitive conclusions on this matter.

Chromium is an essential trace mineral, meaning that even small amounts are necessary. It can be found in foods and dietary supplements ranging from meats, whole grains, nuts, vegetables and dairy products; most people receive adequate levels from their diet. The amount of chromium found in food depends on several factors including season, region of production and cooking methods employed – for instance it tends to be more abundant when using stainless steel or nickel pots and pans when cooking food.

Early controlled trials on individuals with impaired glucose tolerance suggest that supplementing with chromium may improve some measures of insulin metabolism and blood lipid profiles, although these results should be interpreted with caution due to significant variations between trials resulting from differing regimens, dosage levels, centers or populations enrolled.

Studies involving people with type 2 diabetes suggest that supplementation with chromium may help control glucose and slow weight gain, and increase effectiveness of oral medications such as metformin and glipizide.

One study demonstrated how the combination of chromium picolinate and nicotinamide could significantly lower fasting glucose and improve glycemic control among diabetic patients, in addition to leading to decreased total and LDL cholesterol, as well as an increase in HDL levels.

Chromium supplements are readily available over-the-counter. Most multivitamins and some brands of antacids (Tums and Mylanta among them) contain it; some antacids may hinder absorption, so it’s wise to take them separately. In addition, taking insulin or medications for diabetes while simultaneously taking chromium may interact negatively – always check with your healthcare provider first before adding additional chromium supplements to your regimen.

Blood sugar

Studies have suggested that chromium supplements may help improve insulin sensitivity and decrease blood sugar levels among diabetics, though evidence is mixed and results have varied widely – possibly due to inadequate control over which medications participants take, different baseline dietary chromium intake among individuals, or different doses used across trials.

In general, a balanced diet provides enough chromium to prevent deficiency. Most people get their recommended intake (RI) of 35 micrograms daily for men and 25 micrograms for women; there has not been an established Tolerable Upper Intake (UL) because no toxic effects have been noted at higher doses from food sources or long-term supplementation with higher-dose supplements.

At-risk individuals should speak to their physician about taking chromium supplements, particularly chromium picolinate. Studies have demonstrated its efficacy at improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels among those living with type 2 diabetes, while also helping them decrease cravings for sugary and fatty foods, helping support weight loss efforts.

Chromium can also help lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels by decreasing LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels while simultaneously increasing HDL-cholesterol. Such changes in lipoprotein profiles can significantly lower cardiovascular disease risks.

Chrome should be taken into consideration as it could interfere with certain diabetes medications, including insulin and oral medicines such as metformin (Glucophage), glipizide (Diabeta), chlorpropamide (Diabenese) and glyburide (Diabeta). Combining these supplements with these medications could cause their blood sugar levels to drop too low, potentially leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Chromium may interact with drugs used to treat digestive ailments, including calcium carbonate-containing antacids like Tums and Mylanta; its impact is unknown at this point. It remains to be determined if chromium affects their absorption.

Weight loss

Many people turn to chromium supplements in an effort to support weight loss, build muscle mass and boost energy. Their theory behind using it is that it regulates insulin and reduces sugar cravings so as to help manage appetite – however there is limited and conflicting research supporting such uses of chromium supplements.

Chromium supplements may help maintain healthy glucose levels, though it does not promote fat loss or increase lean body mass alone. While supplementing may not directly contribute to weight loss, taking them together with regular exercise and diet could help you shed more pounds over time. Furthermore, taking Chromium can enhance insulin’s effectiveness and facilitate better glycemic control for those living with type 2 diabetes.

Your daily chromium needs will vary based on both age and gender. According to the NIH’s recommendations for adults 19-50, 35 micrograms from food or supplements should be sufficient; typically multivitamins contain between 200-300 micrograms; however in cases of diabetes or insulin resistance an upped dose of up to 1,000 micrograms is advised.

Dietary sources of chromium include deli meats like ham and bacon, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, vegetables, mussels and prunes – these contain high concentrations of the mineral! A 3.5-ounce serving of deli meat provides about 12 micrograms while one cup of mashed potatoes boasts nearly 20 micrograms.

Chromium supplements are rarely considered harmful, though you should always consult with a healthcare provider before adding any supplement to your diet. Toxicity may occur rarely but symptoms could include stomach ache or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

Certain medications, including antacids, corticosteroids and proton pump inhibitors may interfere with your body’s ability to absorb chromium. Furthermore, aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) should not take chromium supplements because this could reduce their effectiveness. If you decide to take one anyway, be sure to follow its dosage instructions and ask your physician or pharmacist about interactions between other medications and supplements, including vitamins or vitamins taken over-the-counter.

Bone health

Chromium, though only a trace mineral, plays an integral part in our health. It plays an integral role in maintaining proper insulin levels and blood sugar, and aids our bodies to use carbohydrates, protein, and fats effectively. Furthermore, its connection to healthier arteries and cholesterol levels makes Chromium one of the key ingredients found naturally in many food items such as whole grains, fruits & vegetables as well as poultry meat & dairy products makes this essential element an integral part of daily life.

Chromium levels that keep us functioning efficiently vary with age, gender and diet; generally for most adults the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for male adults is 35 micrograms daily while 25 is adequate for female adults.

People living with diabetes typically need additional chromium in order to properly regulate their blood sugar levels, since it helps their bodies produce and use insulin more effectively. Some doctors advise supplementing them with additional chromium.

Chromium not only aids the body’s use of glucose, but it can also protect bone density and may reduce osteoporosis risk. Studies have demonstrated this benefit by increasing collagen production – essential to bone formation and maintenance – while other research indicates chromium reduces bone tissue breakdown while increasing calcium absorption to strengthen bones.

Studies have suggested that chromium supplements could help people lose weight; however, their findings have yet to be conclusive. Some researchers suggest chromium may help suppress appetite and boost energy, yet its effects remain unpredictable. Others believe chromium helps with weight loss by increasing metabolism and decreasing fat storage.

Supplemental chromium is often sold to bodybuilders and athletes as an aid for building muscle and losing weight, yet no clinical studies have demonstrated such benefits. Furthermore, some medications could interfere with its use while it could also cause stomach upset for certain individuals; before taking any dietary supplements it’s wise to discuss them with your physician first.

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