Chromium is a mineral needed by the body for proper metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Chromium is not easily obtained through diet alone, so many people use supplements instead. This may be done not only to avoid deficiency but also to help improve blood glucose levels. Some research has suggested that supplementing with chromium may have a positive influence on certain health issues.
Chromium is believed to affect carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body and may be of particular interest in the management and prevention of diabetes. Insulin resistance, a condition wherein the body cannot use insulin properly, is the precursor to type 2 diabetes. However, in one study from the University of Wyoming, researchers looked at the impact of chromium in diabetic mice. They discovered that the mineral improved markers of diabetes by mitigating not only insulin resistance but also glucose tolerance. The researches believe this is because chromium increases insulin's signaling action and decreases the amount of sugar that stays in the blood.
High blood glucose causes widespread damage to bodily tissues, particularly the nerves. For this reason, neuropathy, or nerve pain, is a common problem for people with poorly controlled diabetes. Although chromium is unlikely to treat or reduce this issue once it's already present, it could keep it from becoming worse. In individuals who are diabetic but have not developed neuropathy, taking a chromium supplement may help prevent it from occurring by supporting better glucose control.
Individuals who are pre-diabetic also experience issues with blood sugar control and insulin resistance. If this situation is not brought under control, it will eventually progress into full-blown diabetes. Because chromium appears to improve blood glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, the supplement may be able to prevent this progression.
High cholesterol is a growing problem in the United States, and it is characterized by excessive levels of fat in the bloodstream. High cholesterol can accumulate on the walls of the arteries, thereby increasing the likelihood of ischemic heart attack, ischemic stroke, blood clots and heart disease. Chromium, however, may help to reduce these serious risks. According to several studies, taking chromium picolinate, a particular form of the mineral, may help lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
Aside from helping to lower several key causes of heart disease, chromium may also benefit other areas of cardiovascular health. In a study from 2010, scientists looked at the potential impacts of chromium supplementation on various markers of heart health, such as blood pressure and poor vascular function. Although their findings did not show any improvements in blood pressure, they did notice that the mineral seemed to cause relaxation of the blood vessels. This suggests that chromium may help to improve blood circulation and accelerate the heart's recovery following a heart attack.
What Forms Are There?
Chromium supplements include chromium polynicotinate, chromium chloride, chromium citrate, chromium picolinate and high-chromium yeast. Of these, chromium chloride has the poorest bioavailability, while chromium picolinate has the best.
How Is It Taken?
There is little known about optimal chromium dosages. Many experts suggest that diabetics should take between 100 and 400 micrograms daily with 1-2 days off each week. However, the same experts recommend that healthy people without diabetes should only take 100 micrograms 2-3 times weekly.
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Recommendations: 1 capsule daily, or as recommended by a healthcare practitioner.
Supplement Facts: Serving Size: 1 Capsule Servings Per Container: 100
Amount Per Serving | Daily Value (%): Chromium (from Chromium Polynicotinate) 400 mcg
Other Ingredients: Cellulose, gelatin (capsule) and vegetable stearate.
Warnings: Consult a physician or licensed qualified healthcare professional before using this product. Keep out of reach of children.