WHAT IS CHROMIUM?
Chromium Cr, a trace mineral, is a basic element and has the atomic number 24. There are basically two types of chromium. One is considered essential to human health and the other is a cancer causing toxin. The one that is essential to human health is called trivalent chromium or Cr3+. The other is called hexavalent chromium or Cr6+. The chromium we are going to be referring to in this post is obviously the first one, Cr3+.
It is worthwhile noting at this point that scientists haven’t really figured out how chromium works to support our health. They know a little bit about what it does but not so much about how it does it. Although they do recognize it as an essential mineral.
What scientist have established is that chromium is involved in glucose metabolism. They are not sure how but they know it does. Insulin appears to be more effective when chromium levels are optimal. Because of its affect on insulin chromium also has an indirect role in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism all of which
When chromium is ingested at the same time as vitamin C more chromium enters our blood stream.
Contrary to what the diet and exercise gurus might tell you chromium lll does not promote weight loss nor does it increase lean body mass or decrease body fat.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DON’T GET ENOUGH CHROMIUM?
‘Chromium deficiency’ is the disorder that too little chromium in the diet produces. This deficiency was first observed in some extreme cases. These cases were hospitalized patients who were being fed intravenously. They developed problems with the way glucose was being managed in their bodies and they started to produce excess insulin in response. Chromium added to their diets corrected this.
Impaired glucose tolerance in both adults and in malnourished infants respond to chromium supplementation positively.
In the disease hemochromatosis, an hereditary disease creating iron overload, chromium is often blocked from getting into our systems because iron competes with chromium on the binding sites of the iron transport protein, transferrin. Normally there is no interference with chromium binding but if there is an excess of iron then there is interference.
Simple sugars cause an increased in the excretion of chromium through our urine. Another good reason to avoid simple sugars. This excessive excretion does not happen with complex carbs.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE GET TOO MUCH CHROMIUM?
There is no tolerable upper limit for trivalent chromium. Chromium lll does not appear to be toxic to human beings when taken through the diet or supplementally. Because of this the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine in the U.S. have not set a limit for chromium lll intake.
(Chromium Vl, however, is highly toxic and a recognized carcinogen.)
WHERE DO WE GET CHROMIUM?
The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following dietary intake for chromium:
- 0 – 6 months: 0.2 micrograms per day (mcg/day)
- 7 – 12 months: 5.5 mcg/day
- 1 – 3 years: 11 mcg/day
- 4 – 8 years: 15 mcg/day
- Males age 9 – 13 years: 25 mcg/day
- Females age 9 – 13 years: 21 mcg/day
Adolescents and Adults
- Males age 14 -50: 35 mcg/day
- Males age 51 and over: 30 mcg/day
- Females age 14 – 18: 24 mcg/day
- Females age 19 – 50: 25 mcg/day
- Females age 51 and older: 20 mcg/day
“Some studies using cell cultures indicate that chromium found in supplements, particularly chromium picolinate, may cause damage to DNA. Because very little is known about the potential adverse effects of supplementing on a regular basis with chromium, I recommend that you get your chromium from whole foods only.” http://drbenkim.com/nutrient-chromium.html