30 years ago, Dr Walter Mertz from US Department of Agriculture (USDA) identified Chromium play an important role in working with insulin to regulate blood sugar and glucose metabolism. With this central role in glucose metabolism, sufficient intake of Chromium also impacts the energy level, fat and protein metabolism.

How does Chromium help insulin to regulate blood sugar in the body?

When we eat a meal of simple carbohydrate, the carbohydrate is easily and quickly digested into the glucose, which is the simplest unit, and absorbed into the blood. The blood glucose level surged beyond the acceptable limit of 80-120 mg/DL. This triggers the pancreas to secrete insulin.

Insulin binds onto the receptor on the muscle cells and allows the glucose and amino acids, from the protein digested, to enter. So, blood glucose level drop to normal, the muscle use the glucose for energy, the amino acids for muscle-building and excess glucose is converted into fat and stored.

Imagine the receptor cell is like the door of a house, which opens to allow glucose and amino acids in, insulin is the key to the door, and then Chromium is the doorknob.  So, without the doorknob, you cannot open the door.

Where can you find Chromium?

Foods that are high in Chromium are broccoli, grape juice, potato, garlic, basil, apple, banana, green beans, and brewer’s yeast. But most people do not get enough of Chromium in their diet.

High intake of refined carbohydrates and process food robs the body of Chromium. Aging, stress and pregnancy can also reduce the amount of Chromium in the body.

So, Chromium supplements should be the way to go. Chromium picolinate is the most common form of supplements as discovered 30 years ago. There are studies that showed Chromium picolinate to cause damage in DNA. Chromium polynicotinate is more effective than other forms because elemental Chromium bound to niacin (Vitamin B3), which makes is more bio-available.

What are the benefits of Chromium?

1) Improve glucose tolerance and reduce diabetes

Chromium increase the efficiency of insulin by increasing the binding onto the receptor cells as well as increasing the number of receptor cells in the muscle.

A study conducted in China and supported by many studies in US showed that Chromium supplementation improve blood sugar, insulin and cholesterol level in people with type 2 diabetes

2) Build muscle

Increasing efficiency of insulin helps to transport glucose to muscle cells providing energy. It also increases the uptake of amino acids alongside the glucose, which are the basic unit for muscle-building. Insulin efficiency also reduce the breakdown of muscle

A study by Dr. Gary Evans from Minnesota State University of 10 university students split into 2 groups. One group was given Chromium supplement for 6 weeks and the other a placebo. The students were made to do weight lifting 3 hours per week. They were measured for body fat and lean muscle mass before and after the study. The results showed the group with Chromium gain 30% more lean body mass versus placebo.

3) Increase fat loss

Higher efficiency of insulin means the pancreas does not have to release more insulin. Remember, insulin promotes fat deposition and blocks fat burning. So, less insulin means less fat deposition and increase fat burning.

Study by Dr. Gary Evans from Minnesota State University of 31 footballers given 200 micrograms of Chromium picolinate and compared against placebo for 6 weeks. The results showed the group with Chromium gain an average of 5.69 lb of muscle and lost 3.6% of body fat versus placebo 4.0 lb of muscle and 1% of body fat respectively

4) Reduce cholesterol

A new study showed that Chromium polynicotinate helps to reduce blood cholesterol level. Robert Lefavi from Auburn University worked with 34 male athletes and found that giving Chromium to their diet reduces blood cholesterol level by 14% and improve HDL(good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) ratio by 7%.

How much Chromium do you need?

An average adult requires 35 micrograms / day. For weight loss, 400 micrograms / day is required. Do not exceed 1000 micrograms / day as it might lead to liver dysfunction, kidney failure and cancer.

If you are diabetics and or overweight , start taking Chromium supplements, especially in the form of Chromium polynicotinate.  Do check with your doctor on a regular basis if you are taking medication to ensure that you are not overdosing.

If you like this post, you can receive more by filling in the form at the right side and you will get more tips and information coming your way.