Chromium is an essential micronutrient or trace mineral required for proper insulin function, healthy blood-sugar levels, and carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. The typical North American diet is deficient in chromium because of over-consumption of simple carbohydrates and refined sugars that are lacking in chromium.
Soil depletion is also playing a role in chromium deficiency. If your diet isn’t high in foods like brewer’s yeast, meat, brown rice and whole grains, you may want to consider supplementation. Diets high in simple sugars, or carbs (like cakes, fruit juice, soft drinks, candy), that are quickly absorbed by the body to produce energy can increase the amount of chromium we pass in our urine.
Reasons Why Chromium is Important
Type 2 Diabetes
Studies show that people with type 2 diabetes have lower blood levels of chromium than those without the disease. Supplemental chromium has been shown to have beneficial effects (increased insulin binding, increased insulin receptor number, and increased insulin receptor phosphorylation), without any documented side effects on people with varying degrees of glucose intolerance ranging from mild glucose intolerance to overt type 2 diabetes.
Note: It is essential that diabetic individuals consult with their physician and carefully monitor their blood sugar levels, because insulin requirements or drug levels may need to be adjusted when changing or adding elements in your diet.
Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar, and it is increasingly prevalent in our society. Hypoglycemia can cause an array of symptoms, including dizziness, fatigue, mood changes, PMS, sugar cravings, headaches, difficulty concentrating, tremors, temperamental outbursts, depression, excessive sweating, hot flashes, palpitations, cold extremities, abdominal pain, and even panic attacks.
One study found that chromium supplementation alleviated the hypoglycemic symptoms and significantly raised the minimum serum glucose values observed 2 to 4 hours following a glucose load.
Since nutrients can help regulate blood sugar, incorporating key nutritional supplements and making positive dietary and lifestyle modifications can make a dramatic health difference.
A study on antidepressant pharmacotherapy for depression in 5 patients showed that chromium polynicotinate supplementation led to remission of depressive symptoms, and concluded that preliminary observations suggest that chromium may help with depression.
Chromium has shown the most promise for treating subtypes of depression that affect carbohydrate cravings and appetite regulation, such as atypical depression. For example, the study above showed that chromium may affect symptoms such as increased appetite and eating, carbohydrate cravings, and diurnal mood variation, a type of depression in which symptoms are worse in the morning but improve as the day goes on.
There appears to be evidence that chromium supplementation can lower serum cholesterol, but it may require a longer time or higher doses of chromium with diabetic patients.
Chromium helps to keep insulin activity in the body efficient, an effect that may be bone-protective in a couple of ways, including:
• Promoting the production of collagen by our bone-building cells (called osteoblasts); and
• Moderating bone breakdown (resorption).
This latter effect was demonstrated in a study where postmenopausal women supplementing with the insulin-sensitizing nutrient chromium picolinate were found to have less calcium and collagen protein molecules in their urine.
Learn More About Chromium’s Benefits
There is no doubt that chromium is a nutrient that is vitally important to health, and although it is only needed in trace amounts, it plays an important role in our bodies. To learn more about the trace mineral chromium, contact our knowledgeable staff at Village Green. And remember – before taking chromium or any supplement, please consult with your health care practitioner to make sure it is right for you.
Bonus! Now through December 31, 2020, we are having our largest sale of the year, with 35% off Pathway products and 25% off other supplements, including practitioner brands… so it’s a great time to shop!
Photo from here, with thanks.