Minerals: Essential for Health – Chromium
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Since the Magnesium and Zinc have been made to occupy the Royal Throne of the Health Empire, we can only assign the Bishop’s job for the Chromium. No need to feel sorry for the Chromium, it has been assigned a very hefty portfolio.
Chromium is essential to maintaining good health. It is required for normal carbohydrate, sugar, fat and protein metabolism. As a nutritional substance, it is an essential co-factor for insulin function. It helps to ensure that the blood sugar levels stay within the normal ranges by improving the way our bodies use insulin. Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone in our human body that allows glucose (sugar) to enter into our cells where it is used to produce energy. Chromium is needed to help insulin perform this enormous task.
Insulin is the “master metabolic hormone”. It is essential to utilize nutrients from food, helping to transport these nutrients into every cell in the body. Chromium helps insulin transport nutrients out of the blood to feed every cell in the body. It helps get sugar and fat where it is needed instead of building up to dangerous levels in blood vessels.
Chromium deficiency causes insulin resistance. Supplementation with adequate chromium overcomes that resistance due to chromium deficiency.
In a four-month, double-blind study carried out in China, 180 people with Type II diabetes were given twice-daily doses of either placebo or chromium supplements in various dosage. In measurements at two and four months, the group with the daily intake of 1,000 mcg chromium showed consistent improvement in biochemical indicators. They had significant reductions in blood-glucose and insulin concentrations two hours after a glucose load, fasting glucose and fasting insulin (measurements taken long after a meal, typically first thing in the morning), and glycosylated hemoglobin (a marker of long-term glucose control; lower is better). At 200 mcg per day, there was no improvement in fasting or two-hour glucose, but fasting and two-hour insulin decreased as much as with 1,000 mcg chromium picolinate per day. Glycosylated hemoglobin also fell, but less than with 1,000 mcg chromium picolinate daily.
This study suggested that chromium – particularly the higher dosage – favorably affects biochemical indicators of diabetes.
Chromium also helps the body lose weight by stimulating enzymes that metabolize glucose for energy. It plays an important role in the liver synthesis of fatty acids (burns fat). Chromium helps the pancreas and other organs keep in balance.
When our body is deficient in chromium, it takes twice as long for insulin to remove glucose from the blood. This slows down the whole sugar glucose process causing the body to become more reactive to every process that is occurring within it. Chromium enhances insulin performance and glucose utilization. It also helps to carry proteins in the body.
There are many things that deplete the body of chromium. Refined sugar causes the body to deplete the chromium levels within it. Also, the refining of starches and carbohydrates robs the food of its chromium. As we get older our bodies are unable to store as much chromium as we could when we were younger.
Chromium stimulates fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis, which are important for brain function and other body processes. It is an activator of several enzymes, which are needed to drive numerous chemical reactions necessary to life. Chromium supplementation is used to improve glucose tolerance in people with Turner’s syndrome, a disease linked with glucose intolerance.
Chromium has also been recognized for its effects on cognitive health as well. In May of 2009, scientists from the USDA and the Medical College of Georgia reported that Chromium supplementation helped prevent Alzheimer`s disease in rodents. Many studies suggest that by improving blood sugar metabolism by daily chromium supplementation can reduce dementia over the long haul. This is especially true in people with diabetes, wherein the aging process is happening at full speed.
Deficiency Symptoms of Chromium:
Common sign of chromium deficiency are: Anxiety, Aortic cholesterol plaque, Attention deficit disorder, Bipolar disease, Coronary blood vessel disease, Depression, Elevated blood cholesterol, Elevated blood triglycerides, Fatigue, Glucose intolerance (particularly in people with diabetes), Hyperactivity, Hyper-insulinemia. Hyper-irritability, Hypoglycemia, Impaired growth, Inadequate metabolism of amino acids, Learning disabilities, Obesity, and diabetes.
Rich Food Sources of Chromium:
Meat, Chicken, Black strap molasses, Dried beans Eggs, Fish and seafood Brewer’s yeast, Brown rice, Cheese & Dairy products, Fresh fruit & vegetables, Mushrooms, Potatoes with skin and Whole grains.
Catnip, Horsetail, Licorice, Nettle, Oat straw, Red clover, Wild yam and Yarrow.
Supplementation & Dosage:
Chromium as Chromium Picolinate or Chromium Nicotinate in dosage of 100-400 mcg/day is recommended to manage insulin resistance, weight control, energy production and as an help to manage diabetes. Even though considered safe with no side effects, higher dosage or prolonged usage should always be under the supervisions of your health care provider.
Note: Vitamin C increases the absorption of chromium.
Toxicity & Caution:
There is no evidence that chromium is toxic, even in high doses, since any excess is excreted. However, it is suggested not to take more than 400 mcg daily unless supervised by a medical health practitioner.