What Is Chromium?
Table of Contents
Chromium is an essential mineral that helps regulate blood sugar. In addition, it reduces the risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It can be found in foods such as beef liver, apples, almonds, and broccoli rabe.
Chromium is a trace mineral that the body requires in tiny levels for good functioning. It is a sort of chemical element that is a really hard and brittle metal. What is the most well-researched use of chromium in terms of health promotion? Chromium advantages include blood sugar and diabetes control, heart health, weight management, and brain health.
Chromium is involved in the insulin-signaling pathways, which help our systems regulate the amount of sugar we eat by balancing blood glucose levels and providing us with consistent energy. Chromium has also been shown to protect DNA chromosomes from damage, suggesting that it may be able to prevent cell mutations that contribute to a variety of chronic illnesses. Furthermore, chromium is linked to lifespan and enhanced cardiovascular health because of its involvement in metabolizing lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, and other nutrients.
According to the National Institute of Health, there are two forms of chromium:
1) Trivalent (chromium 3+), which is “biologically active” and may be found in foods, and
2) Hexavalent (chromium 6+) is poisonous and hazardous for humans and is only utilized in industrial applications. (Chromium 6 is a cancer-causing substance that was included in the Erin Brockovich narrative that was turned into a film, as well as infiltrating the tap water of nearly two-thirds of all Americans.)
What does chromium appear in? Many entire foods, such as brewer’s yeast, various types of meats, vegetables, potatoes, and whole grains, naturally contain chromium. Chromium is mostly absorbed via the food since it is deposited in soil and pebbles that permeate the crops we eat and in lower quantities in the water we drink. Some of our chromium comes from drinking tap water and cooking with stainless-steel cookware.
Purpose of Chromium and Getting Enough of It
According to the USDA, chromium insufficiency is uncommon in the United States and other developed countries since most individuals eat enough chromium on a daily basis to reach or surpass the “adequate intake” level on average (the total amount needed to support health and prevent chromium deficiency). Although it’s not how I’d advocate obtaining enough chromium, chromium is found in whole wheat goods (including whole wheat bread and cereals), which is likely one reason why Americans, whose diets are often heavy in refined carbs, may acquire enough chromium on average.
According to USDA data, adult women in the United States ingest 23 to 29 micrograms of chromium per day from food (meets their requirements), whereas males consume 39 to 54 micrograms per day (exceeding their needs). Because the typical quantity of chromium in breast milk of healthy, well-nourished women is around 0.24 micrograms per quart (the optimal level that is equivalent to the necessary daily consumption), even newborns who are breast-fed or formula-fed generally receive enough chromium.
On the other hand, some medical experts feel that chromium insufficiency is considerably more common, particularly in those who don’t react adequately to insulin, which includes a large portion of the population that is overweight and consumes a bad diet. Chromium deficiency is more common in diabetics and the elderly than in otherwise healthy adults and children.
When a chromium deficit occurs, the following symptoms are common:
- blood glucose control issues
- a worsening of bone brittleness and loss
- tiredness, poor energy
- bad skin condition
- increased risk of high cholesterol and cardiac problems
- weak memory and concentration
- deterioration of eye health
- Changes in mood, such as an increase in anxiety
- alterations in appetite
- changes in weight
- growth and development are inhibited
- Healing wounds or recovering from surgery takes longer than expected.
Chromium Intake Recommendations
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences created Dietary Reference Intakes for chromium in 1989, and they are based on the quantity required by otherwise healthy individuals, so your precise requirements may vary depending on your current health weight and level of activity.
The following are the recommended chromium intakes depending on age and gender:
- 0.2 micrograms for infants aged 0 to 6 months
- 5.5 micrograms for children aged 7 to 12 months
- 11 micrograms for children aged 1 to 3 years
- 15 micrograms for children aged 4 to 8.
- 25 micrograms for males and 21 micrograms for girls between the ages of 9 and 13.
- Teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18: 35 micrograms for males, 24 micrograms for girls
- Adults between the ages of 19 and 50: 35 micrograms for males and 25 micrograms for women
- 30 micrograms for pregnant women
- 35 micrograms for nursing mothers
Many nutrition experts suggest 200 micrograms of chromium per day as part of a multivitamin. High dosages of up to 1,000 micrograms are given in certain situations for persons with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
Safety and Necessity of Chromium
Because studies yet have shown conflicting findings, the advantages of using chromium supplements are still debatable and questioned by some medical authorities. However, chromium picolinate, chromium polynicotinate, and various additional forms of chromium dietary supplements are available. You can purchase chromium-based supplements in tablet or capsule form and as part of a multivitamin, but most adults don’t require it since we only need a small amount, and most people already get enough.
Because it’s still difficult to prove that chromium plays a particular biological purpose in the body that other minerals or chemicals can’t do as well, there’s no consensus among health experts on whether individuals should take a chromium supplement regularly. According to most nutrition experts, food sources are a better method to get the proper amount of chromium.
For example, the European Food Safety Authority produced a study in 2014 claiming that chromium has no established health benefits in otherwise healthy individuals. Hence, it was removed from the list of essential elements. Furthermore, chromium supplements may be costly, dissuading individuals from using them regularly.
What harm may chromium cause to our health if we ingest too much of it? The majority of research demonstrates that chromium is safe at modest levels but that too much may produce toxicity and catastrophic consequences. Fortunately, chromium overdoses are uncommon since chromium only penetrates cells in trace quantities, and the remainder is readily flushed from the body. However, when too much chromium is consumed (most usually from supplements rather than food), it may infiltrate cells and cause DNA damage, so it’s always a good idea to stay within the suggested quantity.
Try to get adequate vitamins and minerals from natural whole food sources, as with other nutrients; this way, you’ll know you’re getting the correct combination of vitamins and minerals that nature intended, without putting yourself in danger of overdoing any one nutrient.
Chromium’s 8 Health Benefits
1. Assists in the control of blood sugar
Chromium may assist insulin, a crucial hormone that regulates blood sugar and transports glucose into cells for use as energy, perform better. Because it may help you better absorb and transport nutrients from carbs, lipids, and proteins contained in the foods you consume, chromium also promotes a healthy metabolism and nutrition storage throughout the body.
Brewer’s yeast (also known as nutritional yeast) has a lot of chromium and has been shown to aid in the metabolism of sugar (in the form of glucose) in the blood, which is good for reducing glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and diabetes.
When people with type 2 diabetes were given a placebo or chromium supplements every day for four months while continuing to take their regular medications and not changing their eating habits, insulin levels and cholesterol levels decreased significantly in the supplemental chromium group compared to the placebo group, according to a study conducted by the Human Nutrition Research Center of the United States Department of Agriculture.
It’s worth noting. However, that research on the efficiency of chromium in preventing diabetes has had inconsistent findings. Many studies show that chromium has a strong ability to control blood sugar in people who have diabetes without combining it with any other intervention methods, while others show that chromium does not have a strong ability to control blood sugar in people who are diabetic without combining it with any other intervention methods.
2. Assists in the reduction of high cholesterol
Chromium is required for optimal fat metabolism, including cholesterol metabolism. Studies have linked higher chromium consumption to better arteries and blood cholesterol levels. According to several research, those who die from heart disease had lower chromium levels in their blood at the time of death.
When researchers at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center’s Department of Medical Education tested the effects of chromium supplementation in adults over a 42-day period, they found that those who took chromium had lower total cholesterol and lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) “bad” cholesterol than those who took a placebo.
3. May Assist in the Prevention of Weight Gain and Overeating
Chromium (in the form of chromium picolinate, or CrPic) has been linked to a lower risk of obesity, reduced weight gain, and the ability to control food consumption. The specific method by which chromium impacts appetite and weight is unclear at this time; however, some research shows that increased chromium consumption is linked to lower adipose tissue (body fat buildup) and better eating control.
The Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University discovered that chromium supplementation significantly helped healthy, overweight adult women who reported wanting carbs adjust their meal consumption. Over eight weeks, researchers compared the effects of 1,000 milligrams of chromium vs. placebo in 42 overweight women. The group receiving 1,000 milligrams of chromium daily had lower food consumption, lower hunger levels, less fat cravings, and a modest drop in body weight.
4. Aids in the maintenance of brain health
Recent research has emphasized the importance of balanced insulin response in preserving brain health and cognitive function as we age. Because chromium may improve glucose levels and insulin responsiveness. It may operate as a favorable modulator of brain function and has been linked to a decrease in age-related brain changes.
Chromium has been related to improved hypothalamus function. The hypothalamus is a crucial aspect of the autonomic nervous system since it regulates body temperature, thirst, appetite, sleep, and emotional activity. According to studies, chromium may help keep the hypothalamus younger, better control hunger in older people, and prevent aging-related damage to brain neurons.
Higher chromium levels may also assist other regions of the brain, such as the pineal gland and thymus, which are also affected by insulin regulation.
5. May aid in the improvement of skin health
Because rapid variations in blood sugar levels are connected to acne and other skin responses, chromium’s role in balancing blood sugar levels has been linked to improved skin health. Foods high in chromium, such as broccoli, also include other phytonutrients and antioxidants that may help enhance skin’s look and battle acne and other aging indications.
6. Aids in the maintenance of a healthy metabolism
Getting enough trace minerals such as chromium, calcium, and magnesium is particularly essential for active persons since these micronutrients are required to increase energy (calorie) expenditure, muscle mass, and job performance.
If someone is trying to lose weight by eating less and moving more, she should be sure to consume lots of chromium-rich meals to keep her metabolism operating smoothly. It’s critical to consume chromium-rich meals to compensate for the chromium lost via increased pee and perspiration during the recovery period after exercise.
7. Assists in the maintenance of eye health
When it comes to eye protection, what role does chromium play? First, chromium may aid in the prevention of age-related eye problems such as glaucoma. Glaucoma is caused by an accumulation of fluid in the eye, which puts severe pressure on the eye’s sensitive optic nerve, retina, and lens, ultimately leading to blindness. In addition, chromium may reduce the risk of diabetes and associated eye diseases because of its involvement in blood glucose regulation.
8. Aids in the prevention of fractures and osteoporosis
Because chromium is known to inhibit calcium loss, it may be useful in avoiding bone loss and bone-related illnesses, which are particularly frequent in older women. As a result, it’s a natural osteoporosis treatment.
Chromium’s Best Food Sources
There is no accurate database of chromium content in common foods that have been approved by the USDA or any competent source at this time. Another aspect that makes determining the greatest chromium food sources challenging is that chromium concentration varies greatly within a single meal depending on where it was produced since soil quality significantly impacts chromium levels.
The time of year the food was produced, the precise plant species, the maturity of the item, and how long it’s been sitting after being harvested — and even contamination from the environment — are all-natural variables that determine how much chromium is present in meals. For example, the concentration might rise when chromium escapes into a meal while cooking from stainless steel or nickel pots and pans.
According to the USDA, the following are 12 of the greatest foods to eat to get more chromium naturally:
(Percentages based on RDA for a typical adult female):
- Broccoli per cup: 22 micrograms (88 percent DV)
- Grapes/Vinegar/Vine (pure, unsweetened): 8 micrograms (32 percent DV) in 1 cup of juice
- Cup of Potatoes: 3 micrograms (12 percent DV)
- 1 teaspoon garlic: 3 micrograms (12 percent DV)
- 1 tablespoon basil: 2 micrograms (8 percent DV)
- 3 oz grass-fed beef: 2 micrograms (8 percent DV)
- 1 cup Orange Juice/Oranges (pure, unsweetened): 2 micrograms (8 percent DV)
- 3 oz turkey: 2 micrograms (8 percent DV)
- 1 cup cooked green beans: 2 micrograms (8 percent DV)
- 5 ounces red wine: 1–13 micrograms (varies widely)(4–52 percent DV)
- 1 medium apple: 1 microgram (4 percent DV)
- 1 medium banana: 1 microgram (4 percent DV)
Soup with Broccoli and Cheese
35-minute total time
- In a large saucepan, sauté the butter, green onions, garlic, kale, and broccoli for 10 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring often.
- Heat for another 5–10 minutes after adding the bone broth. Blend the contents in a blender until it is completely smooth.
- Return the items to the pot and cook for 10 minutes over high heat.
- Stir in the kefir and cheese well. Serve after all of the ingredients have been combined.
Consequences of Too Much Chromium
While chromium obtained from dietary sources will not cause any difficulties, taking excessive doses as a supplement may interact with some drugs and exacerbate pre-existing health disorders.
Excess chromium has been related to digestive issues such as stomach pains and low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). Chromium toxicity, which may develop when the body’s chromium levels are too high, has the potential to harm essential organs such as the liver, kidneys, and heart. Although chromium poisoning is very unusual and improbable, it is defined by changes in nerve transmission and heart rate, therefore never use excessive amounts of supplements without first seeing a doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to take chromium?
A: The best time to take chromium is usually one hour before breakfast.
What is the purpose of Chromium?
A: Chromium is not harmful to the body and has many uses. It can be used in the environmentally friendly production of stainless steel, glass, organic composts, insecticides, and fungicides such as hexachlorobenzene (HCB).
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