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Chromium

What is It?*

Source Type: Mineral

Source(s):

  • Naturally found in some animal sources (lean meats, organ meats, cheese)
  • Naturally found in some plant sources (brewer’s yeast, whole grains, molasses, bran cereal, mushrooms, oatmeal, prunes, nuts, asparagus)
  • Naturally found in soil

Chromium is an essential trace mineral that enhances the action of insulin and helps regulate blood sugar levels. It is also involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Benefits*

The benefits of chromium include regulating blood sugar levels, lowering cholesterol levels, and assisting with weight loss.

Effectiveness*

Numerous studies have found that chromium supplementation reduces blood sugar levels, as well as the amount of insulin people with diabetes need. Another study shows that chromium supplementation given to individuals with new-onset type II diabetes saw a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose levels, as well as HbA1c. In addition, these participants saw a reduction in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL However, some other studies do not agree and do not see a clear benefit. If you have diabetes, it is recommended to speak with your physician before implementing chromium.

The research on chromium supplementation and cholesterol management is mixed. Some studies found that chromium improved cholesterol levels, while others did not.

Some studies have suggested that chromium supplementation may aid in weight management and the reduction of body fat. However, clinical trials have found only a very small benefit.

Risks*

Very high doses of chromium supplements can reduce how effective insulin is at controlling blood sugar and can cause stomach irritation, itching, and flushing. Individuals with kidney disease, liver disease, or anemia should be cautious about taking high amounts of chromium. There have also been some reports that chromium can make depression and schizophrenia worse. Additionally, those taking medication for diabetes should speak with their physician before adding any chromium supplement as it can increase the risk of low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.

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