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Chromium: What is it?
Chromium is a mineral that humans require in trace amounts, although its mechanisms of action in the body and the amounts needed for optimal health are not well defined. It is found primarily in two forms: 1) trivalent (chromium 3+), which is biologically active and found in food, and 2) hexavalent (chromium 6+), a toxic form that results from industrial pollution. This fact sheet focuses exclusively on trivalent (3+) chromium. Chromium is known to enhance the action of insulin [1-3], a hormone critical to the metabolism and storage of carbohydrate, fat, and protein in the body . In 1957, a compound in brewers' yeast was found to prevent an age-related decline in the ability of rats to maintain normal levels of sugar (glucose) in their blood . Chromium was identified as the active ingredient in this so-called "glucose tolerance factor" in 1959 . Chromium also appears to be directly involved in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism [1-2,611], but more research is needed to determine the full range of its roles in the body. The challenges to meeting this goal include: • • • Defining the types of individuals who respond to chromium supplementation; Evaluating the chromium content of foods and its bioavailability; Determining if a clinically relevant chromium-deficiency state exists in humans due to inadequate dietary intakes; and Developing valid and reliable measures of chromium status .
What foods provide chromium?
Chromium is widely distributed in the food supply, but most foods provide only small amounts (less than 2 micrograms [mcg] per serving). Meat and whole-grain products, as well as some fruits, vegetables, and spices are relatively good sources . In contrast, foods high in simple sugars (like sucrose and fructose) are low in chromium . Dietary intakes of chromium cannot be reliably determined because the content of the mineral in foods is substantially affected by agricultural and manufacturing processes and perhaps by contamination with chromium when the foods are analyzed [10,12,14]. Therefore, Table 1, and food-composition databases generally, provide approximate values of chromium in foods that should only serve as a
½ cup Chromium (mcg) 11 8 4 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 1-13 1 1 1 What are recommended intakes of chromium? Recommended chromium intakes are provided in the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) developed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences . 1 Potatoes. 1 medium Green beans. the National Academy of Sciences established an "estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intake" range for chromium. Table 2: Adequate Intakes (AIs) for chromium  Age 0 to 6 months 7 to 12 months 1 to 3 years 4 to 8 years 9 to 13 years 14 to 18 years Infants and children (mcg/day) 0.5 11 15 Males Females Pregnancy Lactation (mcg/day) (mcg/day) (mcg/day) (mcg/day) 25 35 21 24 29 44 .2 5. 1 cup Turkey breast. 2 slices Red wine. DRIs for chromium were established. 1 tablespoon Beef cubes. so AIs were developed based on average intakes of chromium from food as found in several studies . 5 ounces Apple.guide. Table 1: Selected food sources of chromium [12. In 2001. The RDA is the average daily intake that meets a nutrient requirement of nearly all (97 to 98%) healthy individuals . dried. These values include theRecommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) and the Adequate Intake (AI). 3 ounces Orange juice. 1 medium Banana. The research base was insufficient to establish RDAs. whole wheat. Chromium AIs are provided in Table 2.15-16] Food Broccoli. 1 teaspoon Basil. it is generally set at a level that healthy people typically consume. mashed. 1 cup Garlic. unpeeled. ½ cup Grape juice. dried. In 1989. Dietary Reference Intakes is the general term for a set of reference values to plan and assess the nutrient intakes of healthy people. 3 ounces Whole wheat bread. An AI is established when there is insufficient research to establish an RDA. 1 cup English muffin. For adults and adolescents that range was 50 to 200 mcg .
No studies have compared how well infants absorb and utilize chromium from human milk and formula [10. Absorbed chromium is stored in the liver. acute exercise. The chromium. two indicators that the body is failing to properly control blood-sugar levels and which are precursors of type 2 diabetes . . which meets their AIs unless they're pregnant or lactating. The average amount of chromium in the breast milk of healthy. and the remainder is excreted in the feces [1.82 quarts per day) . especially if chromium intakes are already low [28-29]. which might suggest that older people are more vulnerable to chromium depletion than younger adults . What affects chromium levels in the body? Absorption of chromium from the intestinal tract is low. Infant formula provides about 0.24 mcg per quart.30-31]. so infants exclusively fed breast milk obtain about 0. sweat and blood . Three hospitalized patients who were fed intravenously showed signs of diabetes (including weight loss. no chromium-specific enzyme or other biochemical marker has been found to reliably assess a person's chromium status [9. and grain products) . reports of actual chromium deficiency in humans are rare. spleen. That's because blood. urine. neuropathy. and hair levels do not necessarily reflect body stores [9. Chromium is now routinely added to intravenous solutions. which exceeds their AIs . When can a chromium deficiency occur? In the 1960s. Furthermore. No large.14].2 mcg (based on an estimated consumption of 0. poultry. Who may need extra chromium? There are reports of significant age-related decreases in the chromium concentrations of hair. as chromium status is difficult to determine . but the research to date is inconclusive.14]. Diets high in simple sugars (comprising more than 35% of calories) can increase chromium excretion in the urine . pregnancy and lactation. and bone . However.34]. corrected their diabetes symptoms [7. In contrast. fish. There is considerable interest in the possibility that supplemental chromium may help to treat impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes.5% of the amount consumed [19-25]. however. The body's chromium content may be reduced under several conditions. One cannot be sure.19 to 50 years >50 years mcg = micrograms 35 30 25 20 30 45 Adult women in the United States consume about 23 to 29 mcg of chromium per day from food.4% to 2. Infection. chromium was found to correct glucose intolerance and insulin resistance in deficient animals.5 mcg of chromium per quart . and stressful states (such as physical trauma) increase chromium losses and can lead to deficiency. well-nourished mothers is 0. ranging from less than 0.23]. soft tissue. and impaired glucose tolerance) until chromium was added to their feeding solution. added at doses of 150 to 250 mcg/day for up to two weeks. adult men average 39 to 54 mcg per day. Enhancing the mineral's absorption are vitamin C (found in fruits and vegetables and their juices) and the B vitamin niacin (found in meats.
Nevertheless. . Body weight and composition Chromium supplements are sometimes claimed to reduce body fat and increase lean (muscle) mass.8. the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin but. Insulin resistance leads to higher than normal levels of glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia). at-risk populations where dietary intakes are known are necessary to determine the effects of chromium on markers of diabetes . 150 to 1. that study. Chromium deficiency impairs the body's ability to use glucose to meet its energy needs and raises insulin requirements. the body cannot use the insulin effectively. in part.000 mcg/day of chromium or a placebo) might simply show the benefits of supplementation in a chromium-deficient population. promote weight loss. This metaanalysis assessed the effects of chromium supplements on three markers of diabetes in the blood: glucose. and improve body composition. lower blood lipid levels. except in one study. controlled clinical trials testing this hypothesis have been reported in the United States . A review of randomized controlled clinical trials evaluated this hypothesis . These findings are consistent with the results of earlier studies [41-44]. Type 2 diabetes and glucose intolerance In type 2 diabetes.randomized. Chromium supplementation had no effect on glucose or insulin concentrations in the non-diabetic subjects nor did it reduce these levels in subjects with diabetes. especially among the obese. Overall.000 mcg/day has decreased total and low-density-lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol and triglyceride levels and increased concentrations of apolipoprotein A (a component of high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol known as HDL or "good" cholesterol) in subjects with atherosclerosis or elevated cholesterol or among those taking a beta-blocker drug [38-40]. In some studies. Randomized controlled clinical trials in well-defined. The mixed research findings may be due to difficulties in determining the chromium status of subjects at the start of the trials and the researchers' failure to control for dietary factors that influence blood lipid levels [9-10]. where this sugar is used for energy. However. this is an active area of research. also known as hemoglobin A1C). because the cells comprising muscle and other tissues become resistant to insulin's action. Among the most active areas of chromium research are its use in supplement form to treat diabetes. and converted to fat when present in excess. insulin. of which 425 were in good health or had impaired glucose tolerance and 193 had type 2 diabetes. chromium supplements have shown no favorable effects on blood lipids in other studies . conducted in China (in which 155 diabetics were given either 200 or 1.37]. the value of chromium supplements for diabetics is inconclusive and controversial . It summarized data from 15 trials on 618 participants. Insulin permits the entry of glucose into most cells. It has therefore been suggested that chromium supplements might help to control type 2 diabetes or the glucose and insulin responses in persons at high risk of developing the disease. stored in the liver and muscles (as glycogen). Lipid metabolism The effects of chromium supplementation on blood lipid levels in humans are also inconclusive [1. and glycated hemoglobin (which provides a measure of long-term glucose levels. The disease typically occurs. What are some current issues and controversies about chromium? Chromium has long been of interest for its possible connection to various health conditions. However. for unknown reasons.
but the differences were small and of debatable clinical relevance . What are the health risks of too much chromium? Few serious adverse effects have been linked to high intakes of chromium. especially if you take prescription or over-the-counter medications. and aspirin) These medications may have their effects enhanced if taken together with chromium or they may increase chromium absorption Supplemental sources of chromium Chromium is a widely used supplement. particularly those marketed for weight loss and performance enhancement.14]. Before taking dietary supplements. nizatidine. rabeprazole. In several studies. Another recent review of randomized. controlled clinical trials did find supplements of chromium picolinate to help with weight loss when compared to placebos. Furthermore.000 mcg/day of chromium (in the form of chromium picolinate) on body mass or composition found no significant benefits . and esomeprazole) Beta-blockers (such as atenolol or propanolol) Corticosteroids Insulin Nicotinic acid Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) Prostaglandin inhibitors (such as ibuprofen. representing 5. It is one of the values (together with the RDA and AI) that comprise the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for each nutrient. piroxicam. famotidine. The safety and efficacy of chromium supplements need more investigation. pantoprazole.6% of the total mineral-supplement market . indomethacin.Yet a recent review of 24 studies that examined the effects of 200 to 1. chromium's effects on body weight and composition may be called into question because the researchers failed to adequately control for the participants' food intakes. Table 3: Interactions between chromium and medications [14. Chromium is sold as a singleingredient supplement as well as in combination formulas. Chromium and medication interactions Certain medications may interact with chromium. naproxen. especially when taken on a regular basis (see Table 3). check with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider. Please consult with a doctor or other trained healthcare professional before taking any dietary supplements.52-54] Medications Nature of interaction Antacids These medications alter stomach acidity and may impair chromium Corticosteroids absorption or enhance excretion H2 blockers (such as cimetidine. and rantidine) Proton-pump inhibitors (such as omeprazole. so the Institute of Medicine has not established a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for this mineral [10. most studies included only a small number of subjects and were of short duration . Supplement doses typically range from 50 to 200 mcg. A UL is the maximum daily intake of a nutrient that is unlikely to cause adverse health effects. lansoprazole. Estimated sales to consumers were $85 million in 2002. .
gov). and added sugars. 10. However. and nuts. Bruce-Robertson A. Am J Clin Nutr 1977.mypyramid. Chromium occurrence and function in biological systems. Chromium in human nutrition: a review." The Dietary Guidelines for Americans describes a healthy diet as one that: emphasizes a variety of fruits. Chu RC. includes lean meats. . Stoecker BJ. 225-244. 3. cannot replace a healthful diet.gov/dietaryguidelines/index. refer to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans(http://www. dietary supplements. LL. 4. chromium nicotinate. Chromium.56:174-7. http://www. Mertz W. Greenberg GR. Sherwin RS. and stays within your daily calorie needs. Washington.healthierus. fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful sources of one or more nutrients that otherwise might be consumed in less than recommended amounts. pp. fish. 6th Edition. Interaction of chromium with insulin: a progress report. high-chromium yeast. whole grains. Am J Clin Nutr 1968. 2003. is low in saturated fats. However. vegetables. 8th Edition (edited by Bowman B. cholesterol. 6. chromium picolinate. J Nutr 1993. Physiol Rev 1969. Ellengerg & Rifkin's Diabetes Mellitus. pp. Chromium intakes and healthful diets Eating a variety of whole grains. trans fats. 1987. Ransome-Kuti O. Baron A (editors). Chromium as a supplement. beans. 5.85:292-5. Anderson R. DC. 9. Mertz W.Chromium supplements are available as chromium chloride. Nutr Rev 1998. Schwarz K. poultry. Majaj AS.21:203-11.S. and chromium citrate. Marliss EB. ILSI Press. Improvement of impaired carbohydrate metabolism by chromium(III) in malnourished infants. given the limited data on chromium absorption in humans. Mertz W. In certain cases. and milk and milk products should provide sufficient chromium. Porte Jr. D.49:163239. San Diego. Foods provide an array of nutrients and other compounds that may have beneficial effects on health.123:626-33. Chromium(III) and the glucose tolerance factor. 8. Academic Press. salt (sodium). and neuropathy reversed by chromium supplementation in a patient receiving long-term total parenteral nutrition. Lukaski HC. and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.30:531-8. 2001. while recommended in some cases. Chromium. fruits. Chromium chloride in particular appears to have poor bioavailability . glucose intolerance. McGraw-Hill. Mertz W. Arch Biochem Biophys 1959. New York. it is not clear which forms are best to take. Department of Agriculture's food guidance system (My Pyramid. In: Present Knowledge in Nutrition. Chromium deficiency. For more information about building a healthful diet. "Nutrient needs should be met primarily through consuming foods. CA. Hopkins Jr. meats. 366-372. Jeejeebhoy KN. Annu Rev Nutr 1999. eggs. References 1. According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. vegetables.19:279-302. 7.html) and the U. In: Trace Elements in Human and Animal Nutrition (edited by Mertz M). Russell R). 2.
Polansky MM. Iodine. Institute of Medicine. Promotion of chromium absorption by ascorbic acid. and urinary chromium losses in subjects consuming controlled lowchromium diets. 15.32:105-7. Metabolism of 51chromium in human subjects. Stress Effects on Chromium Nutrition in Humans and Animals. weight loss agent and muscle development agent. and serum chromium. Manganese. Chromium intake. Miguel SG. Nottingham University Press. 20. Bunker VW. DC. Nutr Today 2003. Kozlovsky AS. Cabanis M-T.57:419-23. 24.38:121-33. Kalafer ME. Boron. Andon MB. Trace Elem Elect 1994. Recommended Dietary Allowances.45:1808-11. Am J Clin Nutr 1993. Metabolic chromium balances in men. Anderson RA. J Nutr 1983. Vincent JB. National Research Council. Kolovsky AS.54:909-16. Teissedre P-L. 25. chromium excretion. absorption and excretion of subjects consuming self-selected diets. 10th Edition. Am J Clin Nutr 1986. Bryden NA. Kusubov N. Veillon C. Lim TH. Fraga JM. Cabrera-Vique C. Patterson KY. 26. 1994. Food and Nutrition Board. Patterson KY. and infant formulas. Food and Nutrition Board. 13. Reiser S. England. Cervilla JR. Breast milk chromium and its association with chromium intake. 21. J Agric Food Chem 1997. Glinsmann WH. 1971. Sargent T 3rd. 155-68. Vanadium. Am J Clin Nutr 1984. 12.244:R445-54. Am J Physiol 1983. cow's milk. Lawson MS. Molybdenum. Streeten DHP. Dowling HJ.44:77-82. National Academy Press. Polansky MM. Anderson RA. Rekant SL.33:213-30. Determination and levels of chromium in French wine and grapes by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry. Dattilo AM. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A. Am J Clin Nutr 1991. In: Newer Trace Elements in Nutrition (edited by Mertz W. Delves HT. Veillon C. Anderson RA. Offenbacher E. Clayton BE. Supplemental-chromium effects on glucose. Iron. Chromium. Moser PB. The uptake and excretion of chromium by the elderly. insulin. 23. 22. Rey-Goldar ML. Moser-Veillon PB. Dekker. Souma ML. Nickel. 18. Am J Clin Nutr 1985. 1989. Bryden NA.39:797-802. Sports Med 2003. Vitamin K. pp. Cocho JA. Cornatzer WE). New York. Chromium in health and disease. Canary JJ. Anderson RA. Washington. Effects of diets high in simple sugars on urinary chromium losses.32:117-21. Biol Trace Elem Res 1992.35:515-8. 19. Arsenic. 16.11:178-81.11. Effects of chromium supplementation on urinary Cr excretion of human subjects and correlation of Cr excretion with selected clinical parameters. Pi-Sunyer FX. 27. National Academy Press. Copper. Bryden NA. Dietary chromium intake: freely chosen diets. institutional diets and individual foods. 2001. Anderson RA. Kinetics of trace element chromium(III) in the human body. Chromium content in human milk. glucagon. Anderson R. 14. Bryden NA. Polansky MM. Spencer H. and Zinc. Biol Trace Elem Res 1992. Offenbacher EG. 10th Edition.113:276-81. . 17. 28. DC. Silicon. Metabolism 1986.41:1177-83. Fdez-Lorenzo JR. Washington. Cabinis J-C. Anderson RA. Dalakos TG. The potential value and toxicity of chromium picolinate as a nutritional supplement. Doisy RJ.
Academic Press. JAMA 1979. Diabetes Care 2004. Am J Clin Nutr 2002. apolipoproteins. 43. Role of chromium in human health and in diabetes. Roeback Jr.63:954-65. In: Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease.31:661-4. Am J Clin Nutr 1981. Stoecker BJ. Schneider AJ. Offenbacher E. pp. 33. Bolonchuk WW. Volume 2: Essential and Toxic Elements (edited by Prasad A. Metabolism 1992. Verch RL. Hu FB. Marcel Dekker. 34. Cefalu WT. Age-related decreases in chromium levels in 51. Gibson RS. 2005. Forloines-Lynn S. and glucose in elderly subjects. 38. Dig Dis Sci 1986. Effects of chromium III on fasting blood glucose. New York. controlled trial. Milne DB. Howard M. Agrawal R. Lukaski HC. Fischer JE. .14: 671-4. 2nd Edition. New York. Hermann J. 36. 30. Brooks BA. 389-411.665 hair.241:496-8. 1976. Eylath U. A randomized. Cent Afr J Med 1983.29:80-2. Fletcher RH. pp. 40. Chromium. Chromium metabolism in man and biochemical effects. Effect of chromium supplementation on plasma lipids.872 patients — implications for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes mellitus. JR.) Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. New York.34:2670-8. Effect of chromium chloride supplementation on glucose tolerance and serum lipids including high-density lipoprotein of adult men. 35. 42. Cross RE. and serum samples from 40. New York. Wallach S. Brown RO. Doisy RJ. Heizer WD. Oxford University Press. In: Trace Elements in Human Health and Disease. Hla KM. Riales R. Olson JA. Pi-Sunyer F. Wittes JT. Principles of Nutritional Assessment. Howard JM. Althuis MD.41:768-71.29. Ross AC. Oberleas D). 79-104. 37. Atamian S. Radiochromium distribution in thyroid and parathyroid deficiency. sweat. Lifschitz ML. Shike M. Streeten DHP. Ann Intern Med 1991. 277-282. 39. 1997. Nutr Res 1994. Freiberg JM. Abraham AS. Freund H. 31. 41. Am J Clin Nutr 1996. Davies S. The effects of chromium supplementation on serum glucose and lipids in patients with and without non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Hunnisett A. Glucose and insulin responses to dietary chromium supplements: a meta-analysis. 1999. cholesterol and cholesterol HDL levels in diabetics.115:917-24. Jordan NE. Chambless LE. Arquitt A. pp. Albrink MJ.27:2741-51. strength and trace element status of men. Mossop RT. Metabolism 1997. Chromium deficiency during total parenteral nutrition. 32. Sunde R). Effects of chromium supplementation on serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in men taking beta-blockers.46:46973. 9th Edition (edited by Shils ME. Chromium deficiency after long-term total parenteral nutrition. Peabody RA. Chromium supplementation and resistance training: effects on body composition. Siders WA.76:148-55. In: Handbook of Nutritionally Essential Mineral Elements (edited by O'Dell B. Chromium. Ludington EA. 44. Am J Clin Nutr 1980:33:57-62.
However. Koivistoinen PE. 49. Stevinson C. Glucose metabolism in glucose-intolerant older people during chromium supplementation. San Diego. Absorption. Penton Media Inc.45. Siitonen O. 2005. Davidson MB. Chromium. Pittler MH. Glinsmann W. Sarlund H. plasma lipids.127:478-82. 54. 48. Mertz W. 51. Rinko CJ. Seaborn CD. Kumpulainen J. Br J Nutr 1992. misoprostol or prostacyclin.38:404-10. retention and urinary excretion of chromium-51 in rats pretreated with indomethacin and dosed with dimethylprostaglandin E2. Smith MM. Potter JF. Uusitupa MI. Kumpulainen JT.32:894-9. Sangiah S. Nutr Res 1995. Davis ML. Effects of over-the-counter drugs on 51chromium retention and urinary excretion in rats. 2003. Laakso M. Polansky MM. Anderson RA.68:209-16. Disclaimer Reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document. Chromium supplementation of human subjects: effects on glucose. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2003. Stoecker BJ. Davis-Whitenack ML. Kamath SM. Andres R. Diabetes Care 1983. About ODS The mission of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) is to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information. Levin P. stimulating and supporting research. Voutilainen E. Roginski EE. Metabolism 1985.34:199204. In: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.6:319-27. 53. plasma insulin. General Safety Advisory .com.S. Hersio K. Am J Clin Nutr 1985. insulin response. Adeleye BO. Ernst E.15:201-10. Freiberg JM. Metabolism 1983. The effects of inorganic chromium and brewer's yeast on glucose tolerance. Bryden NA. Elahi D. Lehto JT.42:454-61. Effects of chromium and yeast supplements on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in diabetic men. Rabinowitz MB. Effect of inorganic chromium supplementation on glucose tolerance. Pyorala KP. insulin. Pyorala K. Kolehmainen P. Offenbacher EG. 47. 50. and educating the public to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for the U. Chromium supplementation in impaired glucose tolerance of elderly: effects on blood glucose. and serum lipids in noninsulin-dependent diabetics. Anderson RA. Uusitupa MI. Sarlund H. Stoecker BJ.27:522-9.. Gonick HC. and the information provided herein is believed to be accurate. Pi-Sunyer FX. Am J Clin Nutr 1983. disseminating research results. and lipid variables. 52. Chromium picolinate for reducing body weight: meta-analysis of randomized trials.naturalmedicines. Mykkanen L. http://www. 55. Levin SR. CA. NBJ's Supplement Business Report 2003. C-peptide and lipid levels. 46. Nutrition Business Journal. J Nutr 1997. Rasanen T. population. and plasma chromium in elderly subjects. this information is not intended to constitute an "authoritative statement" under Food and Drug Administration rules and regulations.
chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Chromium_For_Insulin_Function.Health professionals and consumers need credible information to make thoughtful decisions about eating a healthful diet and using vitamin and mineral supplements. Each Fact Sheet in this series received extensive review by recognized experts from the academic and research communities. These Fact Sheets provide responsible information about the role of vitamins and minerals in health and disease. TABLE OF CONTENTS • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Chromium: What is it? What foods provide chromium? What are recommended intakes of chromium? What affects chromium levels in the body? When can a chromium deficiency occur? Who may need extra chromium? What are some current issues and controversies about chromium? What are the health risks of too much chromium? Chromium and medication interactions Supplemental sources of chromium Chromium intakes and healthful diets References Disclaimer About ODS General Safety Advisory Updated: 8/5/2005 • • • • • Contact Us | Accessibility | Site Map | Site Policies | Disclaimer http://www. pharmacist. registered dietitian. or other qualified health professional about the appropriateness of taking dietary supplements and their potential interactions with medications.shtml . It is important to seek the advice of a physician about any medical condition or symptom. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is also important to seek the advice of a physician.
contribute variable but potentially important amounts of chromium. Todd Runestad scans the literature. particularly high-bran cereals. [ 5 ] .Chromium For Insulin Function From The JANUARY 2003 Issue of Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals By Todd Runestad As this trace mineral begins its integration into foods. Few foods are good chromium sources. particularly when grains and sugars are refined. a recent USDA analysis found. [ 2 ] However. [ 4 ] Chromium appears to make insulin function more efficiently by enhancing the uptake of glucose from the blood into the cell. [ 3 ] Some researchers have long believed the rising rate of type II diabetes is due in part to chromium depletion in the food supply. The recent establishment of a daily chromium requirement of 35mcg for men and 25mcg for women by the Institute of Medicine in the US has raised its profile. food processing strips chromium from foods. It also activates insulin receptor kinase. leading to increased insulin sensitivity. conclusive research remains to be conducted on toxicity and optimal dosage amounts for various conditions. Chromium increases the number of insulin receptors on the cell membrane and enhances insulin binding to cells. Cereals.
3mmol/L. Just as important. 10. 12.1mmol/l. and colleagues at the US Department of Agriculture. 1.000mcg/day group. Diabetics should not self-administer larger doses because of danger of dropping below normal blood-glucose levels.Because of chromium's role in insulin activity. nor do levels change in those consuming adequate chromium and wellbalanced diets. Measurements were taken at baseline. [ 10 ] As .5mmol/L). Diabetes There is evidence that suggests chromium may be useful in the management of diabetes. placebo. Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center. PhD. long-range. but at levels much higher than the daily amount recommended to stave off deficiency conditions. and serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) increased in the patients who received chromium. chromium does not appear to be for everyone. three months and at the conclusion of the study. Fasting glucose levels were lower in the 1. in conjunction with Beijing Medical University Hospital. There was no change in serum cholesterol or blood glucose during the study. [ 7 ] Despite this good news for diabetics and those with insulin resistance. Another well-designed. Additionally. 180 Chinese adults with type II diabetes took either 200mcg/day chromium picolinate. with pharmacological action in large doses for certain disease conditions. 7. placebo-controlled study enrolled 76 patients with established atherosclerotic disease. [ 8 ] How much chromium is enough? Some studies with 150mcg chromium chloride show no effect on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.5 per cent) in the placebo group but dropped to what is considered only slightly elevated levels (7.000mcg/day or placebo. suggesting an improvement in insulin sensitivity.000mcg/day chromium.5 per cent) in the 200mcg/day group and dropped significantly (6. after two months. Anderson. 8. researchers have looked at using the trace mineral to help diabetics control their blood-sugar levels. Twohour glucose values were also significantly lower after both two and four months (four-month values: placebo. work has been done on chromium's utility in depression and cholesterol management. Serum triglycerides were significantly lower in the chromium-treated patients than in the patients who received placebo. 1.8mmol/L ).6 per cent) in the 1. Plasma total cholesterol also decreased after four months in the 1.000mcg/day group. and will therefore benefit only those who are chromium-deficient or have abnormal bloodsugar values. Blood-sugar levels in people with good glucose tolerance who do not need additional chromium do not respond to supplemental chromium. A seminal study in this area was conducted in 1997 by Richard A. [ 6 ] In a randomised. haemoglobin values remained elevated (8. [ 9 ] Others with 200mcg chromium chloride show no effect on non-insulin-dependent diabetics. who were treated daily with 250mcg chromium chloride for seven to 16 months. Researchers believe this shows that chromium is essentially a food.000mcg/day chromium group than placebo (chromium. placebo-controlled trial. 25 of whom had diabetes.
79kg and 7. double-blind.4 per cent. lean body mass or body fat. [ 6 ] other findings report no benefit. 1. [ 13 ] One headto-head study pitting chromium picolinate against a newer chromium derivative. [ 11 ] A follow-up study by the same researchers found that those taking either 200mcg/day or 400mcg/day chromium picolinate lost significantly more weight than placebo over a 90-day period. triglyceride levels dropped 17. niacin-bound polynicotinate. 154 patients received either 200mcg/day or 400mcg/day chromium picolinate for 72 days. Equivocal studies like these took some of the air out of the chromium picolinate balloon for its weightloss uses (though the research was sponsored by a supplier of chromium polynicotinate). Both chromium groups had significantly higher positive changes in body composition compared to placebo.71kg vs. 28 patients received 200mcg/day chromium picolinate for two months.53kg for the placebo groups. 1. it was heralded as another supplement to aid in weight loss. [ 14 ] This is not entirely surprising. [ 6 ] Body Composition When chromium picolinate was introduced in the mid-1990s. A study using 220mcg/day chromium polynicotinate taken for 90 days by 26 healthy adults showed no improvements in normal bloodlipid levels. eight-week pilot study in the UK using only 100mcg/day chromium found no significant changes in insulin and lipoprotein concentrations among 12 type II diabetics.81kg and 1. an uncontrolled. [ 12 ] However. In a randomised. placebo-controlled study. Although there was no change seen in HDL or LDL cholesterol. as other studies also find no benefit from chromium in normal subjects with normal blood-sugar levels. a study of 16 young men taking 200mcg/day chromium picolinate for 12 weeks showed no change in strength. Without any loss of fat-free mass.mentioned above. particularly by losing body fat and not lean muscle mass. Cholesterol Chromium has been implicated as a factor in the maintenance of normal lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. double-blind. placebo-controlled study. In a prospective. The first report of chromium's ability to significantly reduce serum triglycerides in a group of non-insulin-dependent diabetic patients was in 1994. [ 15 ] While positive studies continue to be published. the chromium groups lost 7.000mcg appeared to work better than 200mcg. but no changes were seen in either the picolinate or placebo groups. found 400mcg/day chromium polynicotinate for eight weeks resulted in significant weight loss in young obese women. [ 16 ] Toxicity And Interactions . For example.
however.edu/books/0309072794/html/197. Anderson RA. Animal studies have concluded that vitamin C enhances chromium absorption. Animal studies have found that supplemented chromium chloride and picolinate are nontoxic. though it does accumulate in the liver and kidney. And not enough research has been done on toxic build-up of some of the metallic minerals. [ 18 ] Its toxicity and metabolic function at doses exceeding 2.000mcg/day is presently unknown. new research at Oxford University found that chromium may have antidepressant properties by increasing the availability of tryptophan for brain serotonin synthesis in rats.200-2. Food and Nutrition Board (FNB).nap. Institute of Medicine (IOM). as is the case with most forms other than chromium chloride. Chromium. Already. References 1. especially when their bioavailability has been enhanced. as might be expected in people with insulin resistance who attempt to treat themselves with functional foods. including chromium. San Diego: Academic Press 1987. Anderson et al. copper. vitamin K.http://books.400mcg/day chromium picolinate for five months developed serious renal impairment. more research is needed into dietary factors that affect chromium absorption. reported that a woman who took 1. boron. chromium. . As food formulators begin incorporating chromium into meal replacement bars and specialty beverages. molybdenum. arsenic. as well as in government houses. In: Mertz W.1:202-8. ed. P 225-44. [ 19 ]Other animal studies have found that amino acids double the absorption of chromium. iron. 3. Also. which is why the Institute of Medicine declined to establish a tolerable upper intake level when it set minimum requirements for chromium.html 2. antacids have been found to reduce chromium absorption and retention in rats. Dietary reference intakes for vitamin A. J Food Comp Anal 1988. vanadium. and zinc (2002). silicon. Vol I. [ 21 ] The future of chromium lies in research at laboratories and in clinical settings. [ 22 ] Additional research is still needed to conclusively determine the safety and toxicity of chromium—especially in regards to the many forms of the trace mineral and particularly in relation to optimal doses for various conditions. research is needed to determine chromium's efficacy with sporadic use. manganese. [ 17 ] One human case study. Trace Elements in Human and Animal Nutrition. in the body.Few serious adverse effects have been associated with excess intake of chromium from food. Chromium content of selected breakfast cereals. iodine. [ 20 ] As might be expected. nickel.
Chromium in the prevention and control of diabetes. Med Sci Sports Exer 1996 Jan. Curr Therapeut Res 1996 Oct.6(4):319-27. and serum lipids in noninsulin-dependent diabetics. et al. plasma insulin and lipoprotein levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 1983 Jul-Aug. Am J Clin Nutr 1983 Sep. et al. Effects of chromium and yeast supplements on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in diabetic men.38(3):404-10. 9. South Med J 1977 Dec. et al. A randomized. Anderson RA. J Am Coll Nutr 1998. 7. 5. Metabolism 1992 Jul. non-obese young subjects. Abraham AS. et al.28(1):139-44. 12. glucose intolerance and diabetes.46(11):1786-91. Chromium depletion in the pathogenesis of diabetes and atherosclerosis. Kaats GR. Curr Ther Res 1998.59:379-88. Diabetes Metab 2000 Feb. Boyle Jr E.70(1):14-8. 14. 10. The effects of chromium supplementation on serum glucose and lipids in patients with and without non-insulin-dependent diabetes. et al. 6. Lack of effect of dietary chromium supplementation on glucose tolerance. et al. Beneficial effect of chromium supplementation on serum triglyceride levels in NIDDM. Lack of toxicity of chromium chloride and chromium . double-masked. et al. Uusitupa MI. placebo-controlled study of the effects of chromium picolinate supplementation on body composition: a replication and extension of a previous study. Anderson RA. Anderson RA.17(6):548-55.17(12):1449-52. Diabetes 1997 Nov. 11.70(12):1449-53. 16. Kaats G.4. 13.26(1):22-7. et al. Lee NA. placebo-controlled study. Hallmark MA. et al. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2000 Jan.57(10):747-56. Reasner CA. Anderson RA. double-masked. Effect of inorganic chromium supplementation on glucose tolerance. 8. 15.41(7):768-71. Rabinowitz et al. Effects of chromium picolinate supplementation on body composition: a randomized. Effects of chromium and resistive training on muscle strength and body composition. Chromium. Effects of chromium supplementation on fasting insulin levels and lipid parameters in healthy. 17. insulin response. Gondy A. Trow LG. Diabetes Care 1994 Dec. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 1995 Jun. Wilson BE.28(3):179-84. Elevated intakes of supplemental chromium improves glucose and insulin variables in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Absorption. Attenburrow MJ. Kamath SM. Effects of amino acids on the absorption of trivalent chromium and its retention by regions of the rat small intestine. et al.15:201-10. misoprostol or prostacyclin. 21.32(4):428-31.html . et al.shtml http://www. 20. Effects of over-the-counter drugs on chromium retention and urinary excretion in rats.127:478-82.16(3):273-9. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2002 Feb. Nutr Res 1995. Chromium treatment decreases the sensitivity of 5HT2A receptors. Chromium picolinate toxicity. Nutr Res 1990.org/nutrition/Chromium. retention and urinary excretion of chromium-51 in rats pretreated with indomethacin and dosed with dimethylprostaglandin E2. 22.com/info/Minerals/chromium. et al. et al. Cerulli J. 19. Davis ML. Ann Pharmacother 1998 Apr.10:1261-71.picolinate in rats. Dowling HJ. J Am Coll Nutr 1997 Jun. et al. Return to the CHROMIUM Section http://www.159(4):432-6. J Nutr 1997.chiro. 18.nutritionalsupplementscenter.
. broccoli and processed meats. carbohydrates and fats. coffee. but many peopl find it difficult to digest. including cereals. chromium nicotinate and chromium picolinate. Chromium may also play a part in reducing high blood pressure. Amino Acids Health Conditions Pet Vitamins Antioxidants Omega 3 Fish Oil Green Tea Other Resources Legal Disclaimer Privacy What Chromium Does: Chromium has been shown to have a number of important effects in th body. thyme. as well as lowering cholesterol in the blood. as well as assisting in the conversion of fat. it seems t help regulate the effects of insulin on sugar. performing an important metabolic task. making it an important dietary need for those who are either prediabetic or have type II diabetes. Because of th many researchers believe that chromium can be helpful in reducing blo sugar in cases of Type 2 diabetes. In addition. Because chromium activates several enzymes. It is an important element in the metabolism of glucose into energy. Where Chromium Comes From: Chromium can be derived from food. black pepper. proteins and carbohydrates into energy for your body to use. and may help promote muscle tone.Home Best Products Herbal Supplements Health Supplements Vitamins Minerals Calcium Coral Calcium Chromium Magnesium Potassium Selenium Strontium Zinc Trace Mineral Magnesium Citrate Potassium Deficiency High Potassium Foods Low Potassium Chromium Overview Chromium is a trace mineral that is found in very small amounts in the human body. Specifically. including chromium chloride. chromium is essential in the breakdown of proteins. Chromium is available in several forms as a dietary supplement. it also is important for healthy brain function and a number o chemical processes necessary for life. Brewers’ yeast is the richest food source of chromium. beer. mushrooms. teas. Scientists believe that it helps insulin bring glucose into t cells for energy.
Health Benefits of Chromium: Chromium has been one of the most touted mineral supplements for some time. there are also many genuine health benefits to taking chromium supplement as part of a regular regimen of health supplements. I a very recent double-blind placebo study. – lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol. More research is needed to help determine the effects of chromium picolinate on weight loss. Because it is absorbed most easily by the body. Chromium may help improve muscle/fat composition during weight loss. but is not yet confirmed. researchers found that chromium picolinate was especially helpful in reducing a number of symptoms of depression in those who reported high carbohydrate cravings. Recommended Daily Intake of Chromium: The adequate daily intake (AI) for chromium as recommended by the National Institutes of Health is as follows: • Children 1 to 3 years: 11 mcg • Children 4 to 8 years: 15 mcg • Boys 9 to 13 years: 25 mcg • Teenage boys 14 to 18 years: 35 mcg • Girls 9 to 13 years: 21 mcg • Teenage girls 14 to 18 years: 24 mcg • Pregnant teenagers 14 to 18 years: 29 mcg • Breastfeeding teenagers 14 to 18 years: 44 mcg . Other studies have had more variable results. Compoundi the problem of dietary availability of chromium is the fact that the bod doesn’t absorb chromium from foods very well. and higher level of mood improvement on a daily basis. At least one study showed that those who took a chromium supplement while dieting lost twice as much weight as those who took a placebo. In some studies. While there have been many overblown claims made for th health benefits of chromium. These include: • • • • Chromium improves insulin function in the body and leads to better control of glucose in the blood.e. There have been very rare reports of kidney damage related to chromium picolinate. Among the improvements was a reduction in carbohydrat cravings. most chromium supplements use chromium picolinate. Chromium alleviates depression in those with atypical depression.Chromium is found in high amounts in relatively few foods. This has been sugges by the results of a handful of studies. those with type II diabetes have been able to reduce the amount of insulin that they take when they add chromium to their daily supplements. Chromium may be useful in improving lipid profiles – i. particularly of chromium picolinate. but other forms of chromium supplements hav shown no harmful side effects even at high doses.
one research study reported that chromium picolinate supplements caused chromosome damage – a precursor of cancer – in hamsters. hyperglycemia and abnormalities of lipids in the boold. There have been very rare reports of liver dysfunction and rapid heartbeat. In addition. Symptoms of Chromium Deficiency: Chromium deficiencies have been associated with impaired glucose tolerance. Total Balance includes 2 mgs of chromium as chromium nicotinate. and may affect the ability of insulin to regulate sugar balanc Low chromium levels may also cause high cholesterol levels. Supplementing with Chromium: Because the daily requirement for chromium is so low – around 250 mc – most doctors believe it’s preferable to get all the chromium your bod needs as part of your diet or in a good multivitamin health supplement Our own preference for a complete health supplement is Total Balance from Xtend-Life Natural Products of New Zealand. and for treatment of diabetes can be as high as 1000 mcg per day. The safety of dosages that high for an extended period of time has not been established. enzymes and other nutrients that offer a total solution to evening out nutritional nee . It is often associated with insulin resistance. and two reports of kidney damage attributed to chromium picolinate supplements. Sev chromium deficiency is rare. many doctors caution against taking chromium picolinate in hig doses. high blood sugar and insulin resistanc Chromium Toxicity: Extremely high doses of chromium may reduce the effectiveness of insulin and can cause stomach irritation. Chromium is only one ingredient in a synergistically balanced formula of vitamins. minerals. As a result. a form th has been shown to be safe. Other forms of chromium did not cause any damage.Adult • Men 19 to 50 years: 35 mcg • Men 51 years and older: 30 mcg • Women 19 to 50 years: 25 mcg • Women 51 years and older: 20 mcg • Pregnant women 19 years and older: 30 mcg • Breastfeeding women 19 years and older: 30 mcg Dosages recommended for disease prevention are generally in the ran of 300 mcg per day. More commonly. and increase the risk of heart disease. low levels of chromium in the body seem to be associated with type II diabetes. but can cause weight loss. peripheral neuropathy and inflammation of the brain.
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