Chromium Sources and Functions
All of the nutrient minerals work together to keep you healthy and feeling good. Here is a summary of the role of chromium, a trace mineral, in your good health.
|What it does||Enhances the function of insulin in controlling blood sugar|
| Daily needs |
|[Infants: 0.2-5.5 µg] [Children: 11-35 µg] [Men: 30-35 µg] [Women: 20-25 µg] [Pregnant: 29-30 µg] [Lactating: 44-45 µg]|
|Not enough||Symptoms of Type II Diabetes|
|Too Much||No known toxic effects|
|Foods||Brewer’s yeast, whole grains, meat, broccoli|
*The lower value is for infants up to 6 mos., higher value is for infants up to a year old.
† The first value is for children 1-3 with the amount increasing until age 18.
# Adequate Intake (AI) is the average amount a healthy person consumes; no RDA established.
Just a trace
Note that the adequate daily intake of chromium is given in micrograms (µg). A microgram is .0001 milligrams (mg), so it is avery small amount. Only a trace of this mineral is needed, but it is nevertheless a very necessary part of healthy eating.
Helps keep blood sugar levels stable
Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps the glucose in your blood to get into your cells so that you can use it for energy. Chromium seems to make your cells more susceptible to insulin activity, and this helps keep the glucose moving into your cells.
When a person has high blood sugar, it means that the glucose from the diet is not getting into the cells and is, instead, left to circulate in the blood, or to be excreted in the urine. (This is why the first test for diabetes can be a urine test to see if there is excess sugar in the urine.) Getting the glucose from the food you eat into your cells is a complicated process. Part of this process seems to be the presence of the trace mineral, chromium.
Chromium is often taken in supplemental form, particularly in the form of chromium picolinate. Some people believe that supplementation with chromium picolinate will increase muscle mass. Others believe that taking it will help them lose weight.
The use of such supplements is controversial, since some studies have shown that such supplementation is not effective in improving insulin response, or in increasing muscle mass, or in decreasing body fat. There is some concern that chromium supplementation may be harmful over the long term.
There are other forms of chromium on the market, including GTF chromium, which some health experts prefer.
Eat fresh, whole foods
The best way to get enough of this important trace mineral is to eat fresh, whole foods, such as broccoli, green beans and other fresh vegetables. Whole grains are also a good source of chromium.
May help prevent disease
In addition to its role in treatment for diabetes and pre-diabetic conditions, there is some evidence that chromium may be a factor in improving HDL (the good cholesterol) levels in your blood, and in preventing heart disease.