What Does Chromium do for the body?
An essential mineral, chromium is essential for the growth and health of the body. Among other things, it is needed for the elimination of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. In America, chromium is the most popular mineral supplement after calcium. Moreover, it is highly controversial. This post explains 4 important health benefits of chromium as well as its side effects.
Chromium can be found in a variety of foods, especially vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, milk and dairy products, beef, turkey and poultry, wine and orange juice, wholemeal bread and Herbs like garlic and basil. The recommended daily amount for adults is 25 mcg for women and 35 mcg for men. A study done in the United States showed that the average adult who eats a balanced diet usually gets this amount every day. Therefore, chromium deficiency in humans is rare.
There are both positive and negative effects associated with chromium. On the plus side, chromium supplements have been demonstrated to help burn fat and lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
4 Important Health Benefits of Chromium
Chromium can help:
Control diabetes: In people with type 2 diabetes, the pancreas tries to regulate blood sugar by producing insulin. A gene called “Glucose Tolerance Factor” (GTF) makes cells more sensitive to insulin. GTF compounds contain chromium. Therefore, chromium supplements can help normalize blood sugar. Many clinical trials have shown that diabetics taking chromium supplements are able to reduce their medication. The effect of chromium increases when niacin (vitamin B3) is used. Studies have also shown that chromium can have a lasting effect on people with hypoglycaemia (high blood pressure), reducing symptoms such as headaches, nausea, fatigue, and irritability.
Aids in weight loss: Chromium picolinate helps overweight people lose weight. It helps improve body composition by increasing muscle mass and reducing fat. But studies show mixed results, as people who used chromium supplements lost about the same amount as people who use placebos. It is possible that when combined with a healthy diet and a vigorous exercise program, chromium supplementation may promote weight loss.
Prevents Heart Disease: Chromium can help raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels and lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol level. Chromium supplementation is thought to increase muscle mass, lower cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease. A recent study shows that chromium appears to have a mild cholesterol-lowering effect. Other studies may show that chromium helps reduce triglyceride levels, while increasing HDL levels. However, excessive intake can cause problems when chromium supplements are not used under medical supervision.
May help with polycystic ovary syndrome: Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common endocrine disorder of female infertility, often resulting in reproductive dysfunction, excess androgens, ovulation arrest, irregular periods, infertility, and pregnancy complications. Although the cause is unknown, they are often related to hyperandrogenism, insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. Chromium can help improve many of the symptoms associated with polycystic ovary syndrome and can provide good relief. If you have PCOS and are interested in trying chromium, it is best to talk to your doctor first.
Sources of Chromium
Chromium is found in the food we eat, and most people who eat a healthy diet do not need chromium supplements. But supplements (not just chromium) become particularly valuable in foods that are high in fat and based on refined ingredients. Therefore, some people develop chromium deficiency, and, in such cases, chromium supplementation is necessary.
Chromium comes in capsule, pill, or tablet form. In addition, it is available in various forms, including chromium chloride, chromium citrate, chromium Nicotinate, chromium picolinate, high chromium yeast.
It is not known which type is most effective in humans. However, chromium picolinate has been used in many of the studies carried out. Although there is no recommended dosage for chromium, 50 to 200 mcg taken daily is sufficient for adults. Many vitamin and mineral supplements contain enough chromium to prevent deficiency. The body seems to be able to absorb all forms of chromium equally.
Health Risks Associated with Chromium Use
Chromium can be used safely in doses of 200 to 1000 mcg per day for a short period of time (up to 2 years). Some people experience feelings such as irritability, headaches, insomnia, and mood swings. Higher doses have been associated with more serious side effects, including liver or kidney damage.
Long-term high-chromium supplements can be harmful. Chromium picolinate can cause chromosomal damage that leads to cancer. The use of chromium supplements by diabetics should be discussed with their physicians.
Chromium picolinate also alters certain brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. Therefore, people with behavioural problems should consult a doctor before taking chromium supplements.
The effects of chromium on women who are pregnant, or breastfeeding are still unknown. It is therefore not advisable for women in these categories to use chromium supplements.
According to isolated reports, chromium supplements may cause weight loss, anaemia, thrombocytopenia, liver dysfunction, renal failure, rhabdomyolysis, dermatitis, and hypoglycaemia.
Drug interactions with chromium supplements
Many types of medications can interact with chromium supplements. Some examples are given below. People who take these and other medications regularly should discuss their chromium intake with their health care providers.
NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
There is a risk of adverse effects associated with NSAIDs because they may increase the levels of chromium in the body. It is not advisable to take chromium supplements and NSAIDs at the same time.
Chromium can increase insulin sensitivity. Consumption of chromium and insulin at the same time can increase the risk of hypoglycaemia. Hence, both drugs should not be taken at the same time.
Metformin and other antidiabetic drugs
The results of some studies show that chromium supplements can lower blood sugar. Therefore, chromium supplements may have an additive effect with metformin or other antidiabetic drugs and may increase the risk of hypoglycaemia.
A small study found that using chromium picolinate supplements along with levothyroxine (used to treat hypothyroidism) reduced levothyroxine absorption within 6 hours.
Chromium is a trace mineral that is found in small amounts in the human body. It is needed for normal metabolism and helps the body use sugar (glucose) effectively. Some studies have suggested that chromium supplements may have a variety of health benefits, including improved blood sugar control and reduced symptoms of depression. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine the appropriate doses of chromium for different conditions. It is important to talk to your doctor before taking chromium supplements, as high doses can be dangerous.