Chromium is an essential nutrient required for normal sugar and fat metabolism and works primarily by potentiating the action of insulin. It is present in the entire body but with the highest concentrations in the liver, kidneys, spleen and bone.
Although chromium is only required in very small amounts, our modern day diet has left many people short of chromium on a daily basis, with the average American being chromium deficient, and two out of three being hyperglycemic, pre-hyperglycemic or diabetic.
Chromium is required for
Chromium is needed for energy, maintains stable blood sugar levels. In cooperation with other substances, it controls insulin as well as certain enzymes. It works with GTF (Glucose Tolerance Factor) when this hormone-affiliated agent enters the bloodstream because of an increase of insulin in the bloodstream. GTF (containing niacin, vitamin B3, glycine, cysteine, glutamic acid etc.) enhances insulin, which results in the sugars passing quicker into the cells and in that way they are removed from the bloodstream. By stabilizing the blood sugar level it also assists in regulating the cholesterol in the blood. Natural chromium levels decline with age and so with the action of the GTF. Although chromium picolinate is readily absorbed by the body, and is one of the best types of chromium when it comes to absorption, it will only be absorbed it if there is a shortage of chromium. Chromium picolinate has been used as a carbohydrate-burning supplement for some time and has proved very successful. (Chromium picolinate is chromium chelated with picolinate - a natural amino acid metabolite) It is also required in synthesis of fats, protein and carbohydrates, and may assist in preventing coronary artery disease.
Deficiency of chromium
A shortage of chromium may also lead to anxiety, fatigue, glucose intolerance (particularly in people with diabetes), inadequate metabolism of amino acids, and an increased risk of arteriosclerosis.
The dosage is the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), but be aware that this dosage is the minimum that you require per day, to ward off serious deficiency of this particular nutrient. In the therapeutic use of this nutrient, the dosage is usually increased considerably, but the toxicity level must be kept in mind.
In the case of microelements, such as trace elements, the amounts are very small, yet they are still important.
- 120 microgram per day is indicated as dosage.
Toxicity and symptoms of high intake
Because chromium is not easily absorbed (chromium picolinate is the best absorbed) and since it is lost easily in the urine, toxicity does not seem to be a problem, but dermatitis has been noted, as well gastrointestinal ulcers as well as liver and kidney damage if taken in large dosages over prolonged periods. If you are diabetic, do not supplement with chromium, as it can make your blood sugar levels drop. Some people have reported a skin rash and lightheadedness - if this occurs, stop taking the supplement and consult your medical practitioner.
Best used with
It is best taken with vitamin B 3, glycine, cysteine and glutamic acid.
When more chromium may be required
Should you be suffering from overweight, high cholesterol, exercise heavily or have sugar cravings, you might benefit from a chromium supplement.
Enemy of element
Chromium absorption is made more difficult when milk, as well as when foods high in phosphorus are eaten at the same time.
Other interesting points
Chromium picolinate is chromium chelated with picolinate - a natural amino acid metabolite and is helpful in assisting with the loss of fat and increased lean muscle tissue. Chromium picolinate in this form is the most bio-available. Avoid chromium chloride, which is found in some supplements. It is mostly un-absorbable
Chromium is found in eggs, beef, whole grains, brewer's yeast as well as molasses.