Many people are suffering from chromium deficiency worldwide. It was first recognized in the 1950’s as the “glucose tolerance factor”. It has since been the topic of many discussions, studies, and research in the role of carbohydrate metabolism and insulin stimulation.
Chromium is an essential mineral required by the human body. We all need it and use it. Although research has revealed very little information about the direct needs and requirements for us.
It is time to learn the truth about Chromium! Why we need it, how our diet is lacking it, and are you deficient?
What is Chromium?
Chromium is a chemical element that is actually a type of metal. It is named on the periodic table as Cr. Yes, this shiny metal is what you may know as chrome! It is used industrially for strengthening of other metals and increasing the resistance to corrosion. It hardens steel and makes Stainless Steel!
I know what you are thinking because I thought the same thing. A metal is an essential mineral in the body? Shocking it is not the only one. I recently wrote an article about Silver, another metal that is beneficial to the body.
Other “good metals” our Bodies use:
The chromium type commonly found in food and inside the human body is “trivalent chromium (Cr(III)). Most chromium is considered safe, however later in the side effects section, we will discuss a toxic form that should not be consumed or have long-term exposure to.
This trivalent chromium’s trace minerals from metals are found in many of the foods we consume on a regular basis. Extremely small quantities of chromium are present in many animal and plant tissues. Plants absorb chromium from the earth and animals, in turn, absorb it by eating plants.
Sources of Chromium
- Whole grains
- Brown rice
- Meat & Seafood
- Green beans
- Brewer’s yeast
- Dairy Products
- Other Fresh vegetables
- Herbs like nettle, yarrow, licorice and more
Why Do We Need it?
In 1999 the FDA recommendations state people needed on average 50 micrograms of chromium daily. The same year the National Research Council said that an intake between 50 and 200 micrograms daily is “safe and adequate.”
So why do we need it? What does chromium do for the body?
- Maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
- The production and use of insulin.
- Thereby regulating blood sugar.
- Chromium reduces food cravings
- How the body processes and uses carbohydrates, and fats.
- It promotes healthy Protein Synthesis.
- Can help prevent memory loss and age-related decline.
- Helps with muscle building and fitness.
- Helps prevent Bone loss in postmenopausal women.
- May help to prevent atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries.
- Weight loss.
In 1989 chromium picolinate hit an explosive boom in popularity with claims of weight loss
effects. This is a chemically combined version of naturally present chromium. It grew to such popularity that it was second to calcium as the most widely used supplements. In 2013 the Cochrane review stated that “there was reliable evidence to support such claims.”
Like many other natural supplements, Chromium stills needs further investigation and testing to verify some or all these claims. Before starting any supplement, you should always seek the advice of your doctor or medical professional. Medical Disclaimer.
Are you Suffering From Chromium Deficiency?
Who knew a little trace mineral such as chromium could have so many potential health benefits? Many do not. Sadly, it is often on the symptoms of a chromium deficiency that begin occurring until ourselves or a medical professional take notice.
Symptoms of Being Chromium Deficient:
- A sudden abrupt rise in anxiety levels or mood swings.
- Increased Anxiousness.
- Heart racing even during light exercise.
- Fatigue and lack of energy that lasts for days.
- Development or increased severity of Type2 Diabetes
- Glucose intolerance.
- Muscle weakness.
- Slow growth in young children.
- Elevated blood cholesterol levels.
- Learning disabilities.
- Coronary blood vessel disease.
- Depression and Bi-polar disorder.
- Poor skin health.
- Slow healing.
- Leg and arm cramps.
- Low Concentration and memory issues.
These symptoms can indicate a chromium deficiency may be present, but they can also be symptomatic of other issues as well. To know for sure talk with your doctor. Ask about checking your chromium levels.
How Does a Deficiency occur?
It is estimated 25-50% of the U.S. population is potentially deficient in chromium. This can be reflected in the very low soil levels of chromium and the loss of chromium from refining, prepackaged and cooking foods in general. Chromium also has a very low absorption rate that increases in difficulty with age. This makes the elderly at an even higher risk for deficiencies.
Let’s explore more reasons:
- Diets high in Simple Sugars can cause increases in chromium use in the body and long-term
- Fighting infections or illness can deplete chromium levels.
- Intense exercise programs can cause the body to use more of its chromium levels and lead to a deficiency if not supplemented.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding can decrease chromium levels.
- Physical & Emotional stress.
- Food sources are not consistent in chromium levels due to agricultural and food
- Chromium levels in food are reduced by cooking.
- Deficiency are often found in older adults. There has been a significant tie to
age-related decreases of chromium levels in older adults.
- Chromium levels are not typically tested for or monitored like many other minerals
levels in the body.
- Absorption of chromium in the intestines is low at less than .4%.
- Testing was done on blood, urine, and hair for chromium cannot account for the amount in body stores giving no definitive way to ensure accurate results.
- Medications like antacids, corticosteroids, h2 blockers, and proton-pump inhibitors can
change the acid levels in the stomach reducing chromium absorption and increasing
the excretion from the body.
As you can see there are many factors that can lead to a decrease in chromium levels in the body. So what can we do to help?
Ways to Help Improve Your Chromium Levels.
#1) DIET. Improving your diet is almost ALWAYS the way to increase the amounts of any vitamin or
mineral in the body. With chromium, special considerations and changes may need
to take place to ensure that it is being properly absorbed in the body.
- Consume more raw, fresh and organic fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid preprocessed foods.
- Look for meats that are organically raised and farmed.
- Reduce the amounts of simple sugars in your diet.
- Include vitamin c in your diet to increase absorption.
#2) Supplements. Earlier I discussed the popularity of chromium picolinate and its large rise in popularity since 1989. This chemically combined version I am sure has some benefits, however, I choose natural all the way. If you found your way here, I am sure you are looking that way too.
Chromium beStable from heart & Body naturals is my recommendation. 100% natural, organic, plant-based supplements you can trust.
From Heart & Body Naturals
Chromium has been associated with a reduction in the risk of obesity, less weight gain, and it may positively affect food intake. Studies have found that higher Chromium intake is associated with a reduction in fat accumulation on the body and better-controlled eating.
In addition to problems with blood sugar metabolism, symptoms such as anxiety or fatigue may be produced by even a mild deficiency in chromium.
Chromium beStable is a natural safe way to regulate and add additional chromium to your diet.
Side Effects and Potential Risk of Chromium
Chromium is a mineral that exists in several forms that are safe for human consumption. There are dangerous forms that can be found in industrial pollution and known as “hexavalent chromium”, Cr(VI). It is both toxic and considered a cariogenic.
The chromium type commonly found in food and inside the human body is “trivalent chromium (Cr(III)). Does this type present side effects and risk?
Chromium seems to have very few side effects. Even high intakes of chromium have not shown any harsh effects. The Institute of Medicine has not established a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for chromium. (Chromium| Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet, 2018)
Some rarely reported side effects include:
- Sleep disturbances.
- Allergic reactions.
- Increased decline risk in liver or kidney disease patients.
Drug interactions are always possible in any dietary change or introduction of a supplement. This can particularly true for anyone on diabetic medication. It may also increase the effects of certain NSAID pain relievers and have an adverse reaction with antacids, corticosteroids, and beta-blockers. Always discuss drug interaction potential with your doctor or pharmacist.
Pregnant or nursing women and children should always consult a doctor.
More than a Chrome Bumper
I hope this helps you to uncover the truth about chromium and explore potential risks and prevention of chromium deficiency. Like many of the herbs, minerals and dietary natural supplements on the market it is always best to have all your info.
Know the signs of a deficiency and be prepared to talk about it with your doctor and nutritionist. Maybe a chromium boost is what you have been needing.
After introducing any supplement or diet change watch for any adverse reactions. If none exist stick with it for 2 to 4 months before fully evaluated its benefits for you. Often times minerals and vitamins take some time to build up in the body before a significant result is noticed.
I want to hear from you. Have you taken chromium or been on a chromium-rich diet plan? Do you have more questions? Maybe you just want to say something. Well, I want to know. Let’s start a discussion so we can all grow our knowledge.
Remember… “Knowledge is the Power to a Better You, Better Health and Unlocking your Natural Power!”
References & Resources
Authors, M. (n.d.). Topic: Chromium Deficiency. Retrieved from Science Direct: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/chromium-deficiency
Chromium: The Forgotten Mineral. (2007, January). Retrieved from Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/chromium-the-forgotten-mineral
Chromium| Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. (2018, September 21). Retrieved from National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Chromium-HealthProfessional/
From Wikipedia, t. f. (2018, October 4). Chromium Deficiency. Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromium_deficiency
HBNaturals. (n.d.). Chromium beStable. Retrieved from Heart & Body Naturals: http://hbnaturals.com/chromium.asp?sponsorsite=chale
Jeejeebhoy KN, C. R.-R. (1977, April 30). Chromium deficiency, glucose intolerance, and neuropathy reversed by chromium supplementation, in a patient receiving long-term total parenteral nutrition. Retrieved from Pub Med US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/192066
Top 5 Signs of Chromium Deficiency. (2010, November 10). Retrieved from Newsmax: https://www.newsmax.com/fastfeatures/deficiency-of-chromium-signs/2010/11/10/id/371438/