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Introduction

Chromium is a metallic element (mineral) required by the human body in very small amounts. It is an essential part of metabolic processes and helps to regulate blood sugar, and helps insulin transport glucose into cells, where it can be used for energy

Chromium is also involved in the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Chromium enhances the actions of insulin and is necessary for maintaining normal metabolism and storage of fats, proteins and carbohydrates

Chromium is widely distributed in the food supply, however, most foods provide only small amounts. Meat and whole-grain products, as well as some fruits, vegetables, and spices are a relatively good source.

Chromium has been implicated as a cofactor in the maintenance of normal lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. A deficiency of chromium results from diets low in biologically available chromium. Picolinic acid, a metabolite of tryptophan, forms stable complexes with transitional metal ions, which results in an improved bioavailability of the metal ion chromium

The Bottom Line – Chromium is required by the human body to help regulate blood sugar and aid metabolism.

Chromium Health Benefits

Chromium is used for improving blood sugar control in people with prediabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and high blood sugar due to taking steroids and HIV treatments.

Below is a list of the possible benefits we’ve found:

Chromium Can Enhance The Action of Insulin

Chromium is known to enhance the action of insulin, a hormone critical to the metabolism and storage of carbohydrate, fat, and protein in the body. Studies have shown that this trace element is found in RNA and helps the body use insulin. [1]

Chromium Can Help Manage Diabetes

According to an Associate Professor of Medicine at University of Vermont: “Prior human studies have suggested that chromium picolinate decreases insulin levels and improves blood sugar metabolism in both obese people and people with type 2 diabetes.”

However, whilst this mineral has shown to be of benefit in managing blood sugar levels, the underlying biological process still requires more research to determine just how effective Chromium is in this area. [2]

Chromium Can lower low-density lipoprotein

lower low-density lipoprotein is essential known as “bad cholesterol” and can result in a number of health problems if left unmanaged. Studies have shown that by taking chromium picolinate capsules, this can indeed lower your LDL.

A study carried out using 28 subjects, showed that over a relatively short period of time, the researchers saw a significant decrease in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. [3]

Chromium Can Help Curb Cravings

Although there is only a small amount of research in this area, one study did show that by taking chromium picolinate for 8 weeks significantly reduced carbohydrate cravings. This could be potentially beneficial for people trying to reduce their intake of carbohydrates. [4]

The Bottom Line – A metallic trace mineral that plays an important role in helping the body to use insulin. It may also aid weight loss and help to reduce bad cholesterol, however, more research is needed to really understand its full potential.

How To Use Chromium

Chromium is found in an abundance of natural foods but can also be purchased in capsule form and taken on a daily basis. 

The most common methods of taking Chromium are:

  1. Food Products
  2. Capsules

The typical dosage amount for Chromium is 0.2 to 0.6 mg (micrograms) per day. However it can vary depending on your age.

  • Birth to 3 years of age—10 to 80 micrograms (mcg) a day.
  • 4 to 6 years of age—30 to 120 mcg a day.
  • 7 to 10 years of age—50 to 200 mcg a day.
  • Adolescents and adults—50 to 200 mcg a day

Are There Any Foods That Contain Chromium?

Food sources of Chromium include:

  • Whole grains
  • Brown rice
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Green Beans
  • Herbs are also rich in chromium.

Chromium Side Effects List

We have found the following side effect information for Chromium:

Skin irritation, headaches, dizziness, nausea, mood changes and impaired thinking, judgment, and coordination. [5]

Note: these side effects are possible but may not be the typical user experience.

Is Chromium Safe?

Taken as part of a food source, or as a supplement in the recommended amounts, yes, it is safe to consume.

When Should I Not Take Chromium?

  • If you are pregnant and/or breast-feeding: Stick to the recommended daily intake requirements.

Has Chromium Been Linked To Any Deaths?

This has not been linked to any deaths.

The Bottom Line – Chromium is an essential mineral that helps the body regulate blood sugar, potentially help with weight loss and has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol if taken in the recommended dosage.

Where Can I Buy Chromium & Do I Need A Prescription?

Chromium is present in a variety of food sources and can also be purchased in capsule form from good health food stores and online retailers without the need for a prescription.

Conclusion

Chromium is an essential metallic mineral that the bodies requires in small traces elements in order to help regulate blood sugar levels, metabolize carbohydrates and fats, as well as it’s potential for reducing bad cholesterol (also known as LDL (low-density lipoprotein).

This can be found in plenty of natural foods sources such as whole grains, broccoli, brown rice and other fresh vegetables. But, it can also be taken a capsule form supplement.

There is little research that really confirms whether relying on this alone is enough to help combat diabetes and reduce weight, however, the studies that have been carried out so far do look relatively promising.

Abbey Carlson, RD
Abbey Carlson, RD
Staff Writer & Fact Checker at DietProbe
Abbey is a registered dietitian who specializes in human nutrition and obesity prevention.
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This article has been reviewed and fact-checked by a certified nutritionist, and only uses information from credible academic sources.