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Home > Understanding Chromium
Understanding Chromiumby Dave Foreman
Chromium is an essential trace mineral found in grains and cereals. Unfortunately, because we live in a society where these grains and cereals are processed and refined, most Americans eat a diet low in Chromium. Though you can't hang your hat on one ingredient or product to get well, I believe mineral depletions (such as a lack of Chromium) is a major contributing factor to the rise in Type II diabetes cases. Of course poor diet and insufficient activity play a huge role in developing diabetes, but I believe mineral deficiencies are equally important. Let's take a closer look at this amazing mineral.
Interestingly, many of these conditions are interrelated. For example, overweight folks tend to have issues with cholesterol and triglycerides. Insulin resistance, an underlying cause of Type II diabetes, occurs when the body fails to respond properly to the insulin it produces. People who are insulin resistant may have the ability to overcome the resistance by producing more insulin. However, if the body cannot produce sufficient amounts of insulin, sugar levels in the bloodstream rise and Type II diabetes ultimately occurs. Chromium has the best track record for modulating insulin resistance. With regards to weight-loss, Chromium can help you with losing fat, while sparing loss of muscle tissue. This is important because most weight-loss programs will contribute to muscle loss, which in turn lowers metabolic rates. Ever notice that your metabolism seems slower after a significant loss of weight? This is probably due to losing muscle mass. Long-term weight-loss depends on maintaining active metabolic rates.
With so many companies marketing Chromium these days, it is hard to know which one to buy. I recommend finding Chromium in its original cultured form, such as in food form, like Brewer's Yeast. Many companies now sell whole food vitamins and minerals and this would be a great example of one. This form is considered food to the body and can be better absorbed, retained and utilized by the cells. There are other more popular forms of chromium available at your local Vitamin Shoppe. Chromium Picolinate and Chromium Polynicotinate have been well studied for their effectiveness as another form of chromium supplementation. These may be easier to find and just as effective for most. So how do you know if you need more Chromium? Most people eat less than the U.S. National Academy of Science's recommended range of 50–200 mcg per day. With the increasing numbers of overweight adults, diabetics and people with high cholesterol, Chromium supplementation is a good addition to your daily regimen. A daily intake of 200 mcg is a good place to start, but some people may require doses as high as 600-1000 mcg per day. Please consult with your healthcare provider before taking doses higher than 200 mcg per day.
Finally, there's a precaution for using this supplement. Chromium may enhance the effects of drugs for diabetes (e.g., insulin, blood sugar-lowering pharmaceuticals), possibly leading to hypoglycemia. Therefore, people with diabetes who take these medications should only supplement with Chromium if under the supervision of a doctor.