Chromium Facts

You may have heard about chromium and its supposed power to build muscle, control blood sugar, and assist in weight loss. Before asking around where chromium, you might want to find out what chromium really is, and how true are the claims being made about it.

What is chromium?

Chromium is a mineral that works with insulin to control blood sugar. Chromium deficiency may cause insulin and sugar in the blood to increase – common characteristics of diabetes. But this is different because chromium can be found in a number of different foods, which means chromium deficiency in the US is rare. Chromium deficiency has been found to occur only in atypical populations, such as people given long-term IV nutrition that did not include chromium.

Chromium safety

The US FDA approved a qualified health claim (a calim that is based on credible but limited evidence) that a common supplement in the form of chromium, chromium picolinate, may reduce the risk of insulin resistance.

Also according to the FDA, the relationship between either insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes and chromium picolinate is highly uncertain.

The American Diabetes Association adds that research on chromium and its relationship with insulin is "not yet conclusive enough to merit supplements."

Well-controlled studies also invalidated the claims of many chromium supplements of aiding weight-loss and building muscle mass.

If you are taking chromium supplements, there are no known risks related to intake beyond present recommendations. This is why the Institute of Medicine has not yet set a safe upper limit.

On the other hand, large doses of chromium may react with medications. Some lab studies expressed concern that chromium picolinate supplements could spike DNA damage, though this occurrence has not yet been seen in living organisms.

The institute of medicine reports the most American adults meet the recommended chromium consumption – 20-25 micrograms per day in women, and 30-35 in men.

The chromium content of foods differ greatly, plus they are spread in miniscule amounts in different kinds of foods. Good chromium sources include seafood, whole grains, bran, cereals, and meat. As for fruits and veggies, chromium content varies, though broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, and pears are reportedly good sources. Foods with high sugar content are low in chromium, and are apt to increase chromium loss in the urine.

People with abnormal blood sugar levels who are considering taking chromium supplements should consult their doctor first. They should also be prepared to follow up with necessary monitoring.

Source: MSN Health