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3 Benefits Of Chromium

By Jayton Miller

Chromium is a mineral known as an "essential trace element," which means you don't need a lot of chromium to experience the health benefits. Chromium is found in both food and some supplements, so getting enough should be easy. Not only that, there are many advantages from getting your daily amount of chromium.

Contents: 

What Is Chromium:

What Is Chromium There are two major types of chromium:

  • Trivalent Chromium: Found in food, trivalent chromium (chromium 3+) is biologically active, basically meaning it's safe to consume.
  • Hexavalent Chromium: This form is a toxic variant of chromium. Hexavalent chromium (chromium 6+) is a result of industrial pollution, meaning it isn't safe to consume.

Otherwise, it is an essential trace element, but whenever "chromium" is mentioned in terms of human health, assume trivalent chromium is what's being inferred.

In supplementation, chromium usually comes in the form of chromium picolinate. This type has been the most researched, and has a myriad of roles in the body, as the next section shows.

Benefits Of Chromium:

 

BenefitsChromium May Help Blood Sugar Regulation

Chromium is necessary for healthy blood sugar levels. Chromium does this by helping to transport sugar from the bloodstream into the cell cell to be used as energy. This review even showed that supplementing with chromium was able to help diabetic patients with glycemic control (most likely because of the reason we just laid out). 

Read More: Sugar Is Good For You | The Benefits Of Sugar

Chromium May Help With Weight Loss

Chromium has been shown to have a direct impact on food intake and satiety. In this study on overweight women it was shown that chromium intake reduced the amount of food eaten, increased satiety levels, and led to weight loss. This, in my opinion, is most likely due to the blood sugar regulation effect that chromium has. Balanced blood sugar is crucial for feeling full and satisfied when you eat, as well as for weight management. Regulating your blood sugar in general by eating frequently throughout the day with a balanced portion of macronutrients is going to make a massive difference for every area of your health. 

Chromium May Help With Insulin Resistance

Because of chromium’s ability to help to move sugar from the bloodstream into the cell to be used as energy it naturally helps to improve insulin resistance. In this double blind placebo controlled trial chromium supplementation was not only able to help regulate food intake for people with binge eating disorders, but also help to improve glucose regulation. 

These are fantastic things to have from a health and wellbeing standpoint, so it's pivotal to get your recommended daily allowance of chromium and avoid a deficiency in this essential mineral.

How to Use:

How To Use

Chromium usually comes in the form of a pill or powder when supplemented. The supplemental dosage is usually around 1000 micrograms daily split up into two doses. It is recommended to take this supplement with a meal.

According to the Dietary Reference Intakes (developed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences), males get anywhere between 25-35 mcg of chromium daily, while females acquire for 20-25. "Mcg" stands for microgram; one microgram equates to 1/1000 of a milligram, meaning you don't need very much. (In fact, the most you'd ever need as a human would be if you're a lactating female, at which point you'd only require 44-45mcg per day.)

These values are, in fact, not recommended daily allowances (RDAs) due to the lack of sufficient research of chromium. The ranges above are actually Adequate Intakes (AIs), which translates to, "a level that healthy people typically consume." There is also an "estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intake" for chromium: a range of 50-200mcg.

For supplementation purposes, keep this last range of values in mind; when looking for a decent product, look for 50-200mcg per dose.

Read More: How To Improve Your Electrolyte & Mineral Concentration

Symptoms of Chromium Deficiency:

Symptoms of Chromium Deficiency

There are only a handful of crucial symptoms for those with a chromium deficiency:

  • Craving sweets
  • Increased risk of depression
  • Decreased ability for your body to metabolize fats and glucose
  • Inhibition of protein production
  • Additional production of cholesterol and triglycerides

That last symptom is particularly bad because heightened cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood result in higher fat storage in the body as well as potential heart health issues.

Who Is at Risk of a Deficiency:

Who Is At Risk?

Chromium deficiency is quite rare; however, there are a select few who are at risk, including elderly people and those with Type 2 diabetes. Sadly, these claims are not substantiated by research and can only be speculative at best. Still, if you notice any of the above symptoms, it would be best to test chromium levels with your medical professional.

Symptoms of Chromium Toxicity:

Another potentially harmful condition is chromium toxicity, or where you take in too much chromium. Thankfully, with the intestinal absorption rate being so low, this affliction is also quite uncommon. There is no maximum daily intake level established by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, so it's tough to know whether or not there are any symptoms of taking too much chromium. 

At the very least, it would be wasteful to attempt to consume more and more chromium; while there aren't any adverse effects of this to date, there aren't any positive effects of doing this either.

Read More: Is Your Food Stealing Nutrients From You

Foods That Contain Chromium:

Foods With Chromium

Apparently, quantifying chromium amounts in food sources is tricky, based off of the fact that agricultural and livestock production quality is highly varied. With different soils, practices and pesticides, chromium levels are altered from one piece of food to the other, even if they're the same food.

Nevertheless, there are certain foods that should normally have a decent amount of chromium:

  • Lean Beef
  • Oysters
  • Eggs
  • Turkey
  • Cheese
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Prunes
  • Orange/ Grape Juice
  • Potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Basil

Again, this list doesn't include portion amounts or chromium levels per serving because there isn't a heavily-researched, set level for these foods. You shouldn't worry about this, though; you'll be able to ingest plenty of chromium by picking a handful of these foods and consuming them as part of your daily diet.

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Conclusion:

Overall, chromium is an extremely important trace mineral for the proper functioning of the human body. Correcting a deficiency in this crucial mineral can possibly help with weight loss, insulin resistance, hunger and satiety, and more. Make sure to grab a supplement if you have a deficiency!