What is chromium?
Chromium is an essential trace mineral which required by human body in relatively smaller quantity compare to macro minerals such as calcium and sodium.
It is found primarily in two forms:
Trivalent (chromium 3+) – Biologically active form which found in foods.
Hexavalent (chromium 6+) – Toxic for human and it’s used in industrial applications.
Our body only use chromium in small amount for cellular functions. It plays a vital role in the insulin-signaling pathways that enhance the metabolism and storage of carbohydrates, fats, and protein in the body. Insulin is a hormone that secreted by pancreas in response to increased blood glucose levels, such as after a meal. Chromium helps to move blood glucose from the bloodstream into the cells to be used as energy; chromium supplements have been used successfully in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and glucose intolerance.
The modern industrialized food supply chain causes low soil levels of chromium and the loss of chromium from refined foods such as sugar and flours. Older people and individuals who exercise regularly are also at risk of a deficiency.
Because adequate dietary chromium helps to maintain insulin, chromium deficiency could lead to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Even mild deficiencies can contribute to symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, poor blood glucose control, and changes in appetite and body weight.
Chromium health benefits:
1. Blood sugar and diabetes control
Chromium can enhance the role of insulin that controls blood sugar and helps transport glucose into cell for energy production. Several studies have evaluated the effect of chromium on glucose levels; improved blood sugar utilization and decreased insulin requirements in patients with insulin resistance. Therefore, an adequate intake of chromium will support the metabolism of sugar and beneficial for preventing glucose intolerance and diabetes.
2. Chromium and cholesterol levels
Normal lipids metabolism requires the appearance of chromium; few studies show a link between high chromium intake and levels of blood cholesterol. The effects of chromium supplementation (150 to 1,000 μg) has decreased triglyceride and total and LDL cholesterol levels, and increased concentrations of apolipoprotein A which connected to HDL cholesterol levels. These positive effects will help to prevent the development of cardiovascular disease.
3. Improves weight management
Chromium has been associated with reduction in the risk of obesity. A study found that higher chromium intake slowed down the fat accumulation in the body and controlled craving of carbohydrates. Chromium is often added with many weight loss products and metabolism boosting ingredients.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends 20μg to 45μg to maintain normal body functions. However, daily recommended intake for optimum health and disease prevention is 200+ μg. Higher doses up to 1,000 μg is recommended by many nutrition experts for those with insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Always advise your physician to make sure high dose intake is safe for your health conditions.
Food sources high in chromium: Broccoli, potato, orange, green bean, apple, whole wheat, red wine, basil, garlic, turkey, beef