CHROMIUM

Best sources of chromium:

ProductServing sizeCaloriesAmount (mcg)DRI / DV (%)Nutrient densityQuality
Romaine lettuce2 small plates815.713.115Excellent
Onions1 small plate6124.820.76.1Very Good
Tomatoes1 small plate3897.53.6Very Good

FUNCTIONS

The beneficial effects of products rich in chromium:

  • Assist in maintaining the normal blood sugar and insulin levels;
  • Maintain normal cholesterol levels.

Which indications require consuming more products rich in chromium?

  • Hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance;
  • High blood sugar;
  • Type 2 diabetes;
  • High blood pressure;
  • High levels of triglycerides and total cholesterol;
  • Low HDL – cholesterol.

THE IMPACT OF STORAGE, PROCESSING AND COOKING

In most cases, the processing and cooking methods reduce the chromium content in the products. For example, through the grinding process of the whole grains, the sprouts and the bran that  contain it, are removed and all the chromium is lost. On the other hand, acidic products cooked in a stainless dish can accumulate small amounts of chromium, by extracting it from the pot.

PUBLIC HEALTH RECOMMENDATIONS

In 2001, the National Academy of Sciences published Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for chromium. These DRI recommendations came in the form of Adequate Intake (AI) levels as follows:

  • 0 – 6 months: 0.2 mcg
  • 6 months-1 year: 5.5 mcg
  • 1 – 3 years: 11 mcg
  • 4 – 8 years: 15 mcg
  • 9 – 13 years, female: 21 mcg
  • 9 – 13 years, male, 25 mcg
  • 14 – 18 years, female: 24 mcg
  • 14 – 18 years, male: 35 mcg
  • 19 – 50 years, female: 25 mcg
  • 19 – 50 years, male: 35 mcg
  • 51+ years, female: 20 mcg
  • 51+ years, male: 30 mcg
  • Pregnant women, 14 – 18 years: 29 mcg
  • Pregnant women, 19+ years: 30 mcg
  • Lactating women, 14 – 18 years: 44 mcg
  • Lactating women, 19+ years: 45 mcg

FDA established the DV for chromium. The Daily Value (DV) for chromium is 120 micrograms (mcg) per 2000 calories. This DV target is used on food labels.

WHY DO WE NEED PRODUCTS RICH IN CHROMIUM?

This essential mineral was discovered by the French chemist Louis Nicolas Vauquelin in 1797. Many years later, the American doctor and scientist Walter Metz discovered that the chromium has a key role in the metabolism of the carbohydrates by creating a special compound which he called the glucose tolerance factor or GTF. Researchers even today do not know whether GTF is really a chemical compound or not, but they are sure that the nutrients linked to the GTF are very important for the blood sugar balance. By consuming products rich in chromium we increase the body consumption of this important nutrient as well as other nutrients which act synergistically with it. This process encourages its physiological function and contributes to optimal health.

People should eat natural, wholegrain products, because the refining eliminates the chromium which is found naturally in them. People whose diet is rich in simple sugars should be particularly careful to import products very rich in chromium, because refined sugars stimulate its excretion. Vitamin C enhances the chromium absorption.

THE BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF THE CHROMIUM ON THE HEALTH

Controls the blood sugar level

As an active component of the GTF, the chromium has an important role in controlling the blood sugar level. The basic function of the GTF is to enhance the cells ability to regulate insulin, a hormone responsible for transporting the sugar (glucoses) to the cells. After a meal, the glucoses level in the blood increases significantly. Consequently, the pancreas secretes insulin, which lowers blood glucose, increasing the speed at which it enters the cells. In order to achieve that, the insulin binds with the receptors on cell’s surface. The GTF stimulates the binding of the insulin with those insulin receptors.

Participates in the metabolism of the cholesterol and the nucleic acids

The chromium participates in the metabolism of the cholesterol, which means that it also takes part in maintaining the normal levels of the cholesterol in the blood. Besides that, it also participates in the metabolism of nucleic acids which are the basis of the DNA.

WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR CHROMIUM DEFICIENCY AND ITS SYMPTOMS?

If you have diabetes or some heart disease, it is possible that your body needs greater amount of chromium. Also, the need for it increases in cases of injuries, trauma and mental stress. All these conditions increase its excretion from the body. Also when it comes to stress, the increased need for chromium can be a consequence of inadequate level blood sugar.

It is considered that the chromium deficiency is very common in the USA, because the cooking and processing methods used there eliminate the most of it from the products. The deficiency results with insulin resistance, a condition in which the body cells do not respond to the presence of insulin. The insulin resistance can lead to enhanced levels of insulin (Hyperinsulinemia) and glucoses in the blood, which may result in heart disease or diabetes. Also, the chromium deficiency is associated with the X-syndrome. It is a condition that encompasses a whole range of symptoms:  Hyperinsulinemia, high blood pressure, enhanced level of triglycerides, enhanced level of blood sugar and low HDL, and they all increase the risk of heart diseases.

CAN WE CONSUME TOO MUCH CHROMIUM?

The National Academy of Sciences have not established the Tolerable Upper Intake Levels yet.

However, in 2001 this organization recommended that people suffering from diseases of the liver or the kidneys to limit its intake.