Nutrients, Nutrition

Chromium

Chromium… what do we know about it? I recently did a functional nutrient test and my chromium levels were pretty low. I knew chromium is vital for blood glucose regulation (I make sure my grandma supplements with this for her diabetes and we’ve seen improvements), but I thought I’ll refresh my mind about this essential mineral.

First discovered in 1797, chromium is mainly known for its role in enhancing sensitivity to insulin and thus lowering blood glucose levels. It does have a few other functions related to its blood sugar balancing benefits, such as:

  • Carbohydrate & fat metabolism
  • Nutrient absorption 
  • Cholesterol synthesis
  • May lower blood pressure
  • May improve blood lipids
  • May enhance cognitive function
  • It could even improve mood

Chromium deficiency is rare, since it is found in many whole foods, especially in:

  1. Broccoli
  2. Turkey
  3. Beef
  4. Shellfish
  5. Liver
  6. Brazil nuts
  7. Brewer’s yeast
  8. String/Green beans
  9. Apples (with peel)
  10. Grapes

It may even be found in some beer & red wine products (chromium is present in grapes after all)!

Signs of insufficient levels include:

  • Elevated blood sugar & lipids
  • Elevated insulin levels
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Impaired coordination
  • Low energy
  • Anxiety (due to blood sugar imbalances)

Vitamin B3 and C can enhance chromium absorption. Iron & chromium compete for the same transport proteins in the body, although chromium supplementation does not seem to affect iron levels.

Always aim to get your nutrients from whole foods first. And test – don’t guess!

References

  1. Linus Pauling Institute – Chromium
  2. Harvard School of Public Health – Chromium
  3. National Institutes of Health (NIH) – Chromium
  4. Chromium: The Deficiency Series
  5. Fight Weight Gain, Alzheimer’s, and Diabetes With Chromium

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