Here's an article that's clearly skeptical about any health claims related to chromium supplementation (see below). What it fails to consider, however, is chromium's ability to increase insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes. That effect can help diabetics stabilize their blood sugar.
I agree with the article, however, on the point that chromium shouldn't be taken as a separate supplement. Get your chromium from whole food sources or organic vitamins. Just eating organic foods will automatically provide higher levels of chromium.
As with most minerals, there is a risk of toxicity from overdose when taking chromium, so don't think that more is necessarily better. In fact, this mineral should only be ingested in very tiny amounts -- micrograms. Personally, I don't keep track of my chromium intake. I just eat superfoods, whole food supplements, sea vegetables and other healthy food sources and let nature take care of the chromium.
Chromium is an essential trace mineral for the human body.
- It's important in processing carbohydrates and fats, and it helps cells respond properly to insulin - the hormone, produced in the pancreas, that makes blood sugar available to the cells as our basic fuel.
- No one understands the exact role of chromium in all this, or even how much chromium is enough, but it doesn't take too much imagination to come up with theories that chromium might promote weight loss, treat diabetes, and perhaps even help prevent heart disease or alleviate depression.
- Thus, chromium, especially in the form of chromium picolinate, has become a popular supplement, and its purveyors make many health claims - while downplaying any safety concerns.
- Clinical trials in the United States involving people with diabetes have so far produced no clear evidence of benefits from chromium supplements.
- If you were chromium-deficient, you might be able to reduce your LDL ("bad") cholesterol and raise your HDL ("good") cholesterol somewhat with chromium supplements.
- Of course, what happens in a test tube or in lab animals might not happen in the human body.
- Last year, England's Food Standards Agency, a food-safety watchdog group set up by Parliament, concluded that chromium picolinate can potentially cause cancer and warned consumers not to take it.
- Don't exceed the amount in multivitamin/mineral pills - 20 to 120 micrograms - which preferably should not be in the form of chromium picolinate.
- Bottom line: Chromium is an essential mineral, but deficiency is rare in the United States.
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