ChromiumChromium is an element in traces that comes in several chemical shapes. Many people do not take enough chromium with food, so it would be wise to use dietary supplements.

How does it work?

Chromium helps insulin, a hormone that transmits glucose to cells where it serves as a ”fuel”. With enough chromium in the body, insulin can effectively act and maintain a normal blood glucose level. This element also helps in the degradation of protein and fat.

PREVENTION: sufficient chromium intake can prevent the development of diabetes in people who are resistant to insulin. The term ”insulin resistance” means reduced body sensitivity to insulin, so that the pancreas must produce more and more to maintain a normal blood glucose concentration. When the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, a type II diabetes is developing. Chromium can prevent it by allowing the body to use insulin more efficiently. It also helps in degrading fat, and can lower the level of ”bad”, LDL cholesterol, and increase the concentration of ”good”, HDL cholesterol – with it, chromium reduces the risk of heart disease.

ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: chromium can alleviate headache, nervousness and other symptoms of hypoglycemia (reduced blood glucose levels) by preventing a decrease in glucose concentration to a value lower than normal. It can help control glucose concentration in people with diabetes. Chromium can also help lower lipid levels and thus reduce the risk of heart disease. The most controversial claims regarding this mineral are related to his alleged connection to weight loss and muscle strengthening. Although some studies suggest that large doses of chromium picolinate can help lose weight and gain muscles, other studies have not confirmed this. At best, combined with moderate nutrition and exercise, dietary supplements with chromium can be of some benefit to people who are trying to lose weight. Further research is needed to accurately determine the role of chromium in these cases.

How much chromium is needed?

Chromium does not have the recommended amount, but scientists believe that a daily intake of 50 to 200 μg can prevent a deficiency in adults. The daily intake of 200 μg is very difficult to achieve with food only, no matter how varied it is.

IF YOU TAKE TOO LITTLE: chromium deficiency can reduce the efficiency of glucose utilization in the body. Chromium deficiency itself is probably not a cause of diabetes, but can contribute to its development in people who are prone to it. In addition, in people who do not take enough chromium anxiety, bad amino acid metabolism, and high levels of triglicerydes and cholesterol may occur.

IF YOU TAKE TOO MUCH: it seems that dietary supplements with chromium have no side effects even when taken in high doses, although mega doses may disrupt the absorption of iron and zinc. This effect can usually be canceled by taking a larger amount of iron and zinc with food or as dietary supplements. Preparations that contain chromium in the form of chromium picolinate (but not other forms that can be found in the form of dietary supplements) are associated with cancer and are are likely to be banned in the United Kingdom.

How to take it?

DOSAGE: chromium supplements usually contain doses of 200 μg. This is the dose that should be taken to maintain health, during weight loss programs or to improve insulin therapy.

USE GUIDELINES: recmmended chromium dose (200 μg) is taken with food or glass of water to reduce the possible stomach irritation. This mineral is better absorbed when taken with food that is rich in vitamin C. Absorption can be reduced by simultaneous use of calcium carbonate or antacids.

Do not be confused by those claims of how one type of chromium absorbs better than the other (e.g. picolinate is better than polynothyneins) – there are no relevant studies that would confirm this.

Other sources

Chromium-rich roods are grains, potatoes, dried plums, peanut butter, nuts, seafood and brewer’s yeast. A food with less fat contains more chromium than fatty food.

IMPORTANT: people with diabetes should consult a doctor before using chromium preparation because he may change the dose of insulin or any other medication needed to treat diabetes.