Chromium is a trace element found widely in the environment. It's found in the air, water and soil, and in plants and animals. Chromium is involved in the functioning of skeletal muscle. It's thought to influence how insulin behaves in the body, so chromium may affect the amount of energy we get from the food we eat.
Food Sources of Chromium
Good sources of chromium includes Cereals; Cheese; Fresh fruit; Meat; Nuts; Wholemeal flour.
Herbs that contain chromium include catnip, horsetail, licorice, nettle , oat straw, red clover, sarsaparilla, wild yam, and yarrow.
Benefits and Functions of Chromium
Chromium is important in maintaining a glucose balance in the body. As a valuable aid in transferring glucose from the blood to the cells and the regulation of insulin activity, it may be of immense worth to those suffering adult onset diabetes or hypoglycaemia. The high fat, super sugary diets that have become so familiar to western civilisations can actually rob our bodies of much needed chromium. Chromium is also useful for reducing high blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides and assisting where wounds are slow to heal.
Chromium deficiencies can affect the potency of insulin in regulating sugar balance. Unlike other essential trace metals, chromium has not been found in a metalloprotein with biological activity. Therefore, the functional basis for the chromium requirement in the diet remains unexplained.
Adults need at least 0.025 mg of chromium a day. Having 10 mg or less a day of chromium from food and supplements (other than chromium picolinate) is unlikely to cause any harm.
What are the deficiency symptoms of Chromium?
Deficiency of Chromium may lead to Confusion; Depression; Irritability; Weakness. A deficiency of chromium can cause impairment of glucose tolerance, which can lead to diabetes . It is also a suspected factor in arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). In some areas, protein-energy malnutrition appears to be associated with chromium deficiency.
Overdosage Signs of Chromium
The Agency advises against taking chromium picolinate supplements because there is a chance that this form of chromium could cause cancer, although further research is needed to be certain. Other forms of chromium are available, but there isn't enough evidence to know what the effects might be of having more than 10 mg each day.