Why Your Blood Needs Chromium (Find Out Here)
Table of Contents
Do you know why your blood needs chromium?.
Chromium is a trace mineral that facilitates carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. It is involved in glucose homeostasis, acts as a critical cofactor for insulin action, and a component of glucose tolerance factor.
Food sources of chromium include whole grain products, fruits, veggies, nuts, bread, and meats.
This article outlines the benefits and functions of chromium in the blood, why you need it and how to get the right amounts.
What is chromium and what does it do in the blood?
Chromium is a mineral found in many foods. Researchers do not fully understand what chromium does in the body, but it might help you use carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
There are two main forms of chromium, Cr (3+) and Cr (6+) states. Chromium (3+) is found in foods and dietary supplements.
Cr (3+) is the most stable form in biological systems and it does not penetrate biological membranes easily.
Chromium (VI) is a strong oxidant that penetrates biological membranes and reacts with cell contents and proteins, while being reduced to Cr (3+).
Chromium (6+) is a poisonous byproduct of industrial manufacturing. Reports from the chromate production industry have identified Cr (VI) as a potential carcinogen.
Benefits and functions of chromium (Cr3+ ions)
Chromium has been shown to have many benefits, such as:
- Improving your mood
- Boosting the effectiveness of insulin
- Strengthening bones
- Making new blood cells
Chromium (3+) plays a vital role on our health and performs specific functions by:
- Regulating insulin
- Controlling blood sugar levels
- Breaking down lipids and carbohydrates
- Interacting with thyroid metabolism
- Stimulating DNA-dependant RNA synthesis
Why Chromium is Good For Your Blood
Clinical studies suggest that eating foods containing chromium and ingesting chromium supplements may be beneficial to your health. Here are the reasons why your blood needs chromium.
Diabetes and High Blood Triglycerides
Inadequate chromium intake can certainly contribute to diabetes and high triglycerides.
A high triglyceride level in a person with diabetes is a risk factor for stroke.
In a study of men and women with diabetes who had high triglycerides, providing supplemental chromium just at the standard intake level of 200 mcg/day reduced triglyceride levels.
The form of chromium used in that study was chromium picolinate.
It appears that not all forms of chromium supplements are well absorbed and utilized by the body.
Although, the American Diabetes Association does not recommend chromium supplements for people with diabetes chromium picolinate has been shown to be one of the best absorbed sources.
There are also several large NIH studies underway exploring the chromium supplementation in a variety of medical conditions.
The combination of excess belly fat, high levels of fat in the blood, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and low levels of HDL cholesterol raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
A few clinical trials have studied the effects of chromium supplements on metabolic syndrome. These studies did not show a benefit of chromium supplementation in people with metabolic syndrome.
High cholesterol levels
High levels of LDL cholesterol can raise your risk of heart attack and stroke. Studies have examined whether chromium supplements improve cholesterol levels.
In a study, 200 mcg of chromium picolinate were given to volunteer subjects for 6 weeks. It was found that LDL cholesterol levels reduced significantly whiles HDL cholesterol increased substantially during treatment with chromium picolinate.
The HDL cholesterol raised slightly during the ingestion of chromium picolinate.
What foods provide chromium?
Many foods contain chromium, the amount of chromium in fruits and vegetables depends on the quantity in soil and water in which they were grown.
You can get recommended amounts of chromium by eating a variety of foods, including:
- Green beans
- Tomato juices
The richest food sources of chromium are:
- Brewer’s yeast
- Wheat germ
What about chromium dietary supplements?
Chromium is available in many dietary supplements, such as
multivitamin supplements that contains only chromium.
Chromium in dietary supplements is in many forms, including chromium picolinate and chromium chloride.
Your body absorbs chromium similarly from different forms used in supplements.
How much chromium do you need?
Scientists do not currently think that chromium is necessary for good health, and chromium deficiency has not been reported in healthy people.
However, scientists did consider chromium to be an essential nutrient, and so they came up with a set of recommended amounts based on the evidence available.
The average daily recommended amounts of chromium are listed below:
- Birth to 6 months: 0.2 mcg
- Infants 7–12 months: 5.5 mcg
- Children 1–3 years: 11 mcg
- Children 4–8 years: 15 mcg
- Teen boys 14–18 years: 35 mcg
- Teen girls 14–18 years: 24 mcg
- Adult men 19-50 years: 35 mcg
- Adult women 19-50 years: 25 mcg
- Pregnant women: 30 mcg
- Breastfeeding women: 45 mcg
Does chromium interact with other nutrients?
Yes. Chromium absorption is facilitated by histidine, which binds to Cr3+ ion and prevents the precipitation of chromium (III) at the basic pH in the small intestine.
Niacin and ascorbic acid are needed for chromium absorption and act in synergy with this mineral.
Other trace metals competes with chromium and modifies it’s absorption in the blood. For example: zinc, vanadium and iron supplementation decreases the absorption of Cr3+ ions.
What are the chromium deficiency symptoms?
Insufficient intakes of foods containing chromium might lead to:
- Weight loss
- Impaired coordination
- Reduced response to glucose in blood increasing the risk of diabetes
Is chromium toxic to the blood?
Toxic chromium levels are usually only seen with accidental food
contamination and not from a generous intake of foods containing chromium.
One would not overdose on chromium from eating a big bunch of wheat germ.
But it may be possible to cause chromium poisoning from excessive intakes of chromium supplements.
It also appears that excessive supplementation may interfere with the absorption of other vital nutrients.
The safest course is to avoid supplementation above the recommended 200 mcg upper level unless advised to do so by a physician.
People with kidney disease or liver disease should be cautious about taking high amounts of chromium supplements.
Does chromium interact with other medications?
Yes. Chromium supplements might interfere with medicines that you take. Here are a few examples:
- Antidiabetes drugs
- NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
Tell your doctor about any dietary supplements and the medicines you take.
Chromium is vital for biochemical processes in the blood, it plays a role in carbohydrates and lipid metabolism, and maintains normal blood sugar levels.
Chromium also helps to regulate insulin levels and is therefore crucial for people with diabetes.
Deficiencies in chromium can lead to problems such as high blood sugar levels, weight gain and cardiovascular disease. It is important to make sure you are getting enough chromium in your diet.
Some foods contain small amounts of chromium so be sure to take a supplement if needed.
Talk to your doctor first before ingesting chromium supplements, as too much can be toxic.
Related Post: Why Your Blood Needs Copper (Cu2+ ions)