Elements play a very important role in our body. One of them is chromium, which is a mineral, which occurs in two forms: hexavalent as well as trivalent. The first one is contained, among others, in plastics, in mascara, dyes and pigments, the second one is in our body. This element is often called trace, because it’s not needed much so that we can function normally. What do we need it for? What does it affect? What does it depend on?
Chromium is necessary for weight loss
There is a certain group of people who, despite following a proper diet and fully active life, cannot lose weight. They wonder what they are doing wrong, change the diet constantly, exercise even harder and more. It doesn’t matter. We begin to feel frustration, as a consequence we return to an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle, kilograms add up even more. However, it turns out that the problem may be chromium, and more precisely the lack of it. A very big problem of humanity is the problem of insulin resistance. The emerging insulin resistance usually leads to pre-diabetes, and then to type 2 diabetes. The lack of chromium in the diet is often responsible for this state of affairs. A proper diet is essential. Thanks to it, we provide energy to the body, regenerate muscles quickly, and reduce hunger. When it comes to chromium, although it’s needed in very small amounts, it’s an essential nutrient.
The process of using chromium in the body
Before we can answer the question exactly what chromium does in our body, we need to learn more about the entire scheme of our digestive system, because it starts with it. When we eat, the digestive system turns food into glucose, and it just gives us energy because it’s a source of fuel. This energy is broken down and is sent to the bloodstream so that we can feed our cells. What happens next? The pancreas produces insulin. Thanks to this, cells are able to absorb glucose. It’s insulin that extracts glucose from the bloodstream. The more glucose we have in our blood, the more insulin increases. If there is too much of it, it can cause damage to blood vessels, oxidative stress, atherosclerosis, and thus cause disease and stroke. Excessive glucose is also damaged nerves, which can lead to neuropathy, limiting the nerves’ ability to send the right signals.
For everything to work properly, you need insulin, as well as this very important element – chromium. They depend on each other and are important for the body to prevent the negative effects of free glucose in the body. So how does chromium work in all this? This binds to the glucose transporter. When glucose level with the cell, it wants to go on. Insulin opens the door for it, and chromium „pushes” it further. When chromium is not present, glucose is unable to go further and circulates in the bloodstream. And a big problem arises here. If we start to eat more food, it’s known that more glucose is produced. The human body produces larger amounts of insulin to be able to open the door further for glucose. If there is more and more insulin in the body, the need for glucose increases even more.
This is the state in which we feel the need to eat something sweet. More sugar is even more insulin in the body. This is how insulin resistance is created, which at first we don’t need to know, because it doesn’t give any specific symptoms. We begin to gain weight, because if the amount of glucose is not reduced by the presence of insulin, it’s converted into fat. There is a vicious circle from which it’s really difficult to get out of. But are you sure? It turns out that the basis here is just chromium, which can prevent the appearance of this very vicious circle. If the body has the right amount of chromium, insulin would open the door for glucose, and chromium alone would help glucose pass through them, where further glucose would act on the cells driving them to act. Chromium causes insulin to decrease in the bloodstream because glucose returns back to normal. We don’t have that appetite for sugar anymore, so we don’t gain weight that way.
Advantages of using chromium and signs of deficiency
Chromium is necessary for glucose metabolism. It prevents insulin resistance. It reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It’s poorly absorbed, which is why very many people experience the effects of its deficiency. So what can mean that we don’t have enough? Anxiety, constant fatigue, abnormal growth in children. There may be problems with blood sugar metabolism, there may be altered cholesterol metabolism, atherosclerosis. Athletes experience increased performance. It’s recommended to use chromium in the treatment of acne and polycystic ovary syndrome, Turner syndrome, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and older people who have problems with proper thinking. When not to use chromium? If we take medicines for the above diseases, because they may already contain chromium, which is supposed to improve its absorption. In such cases it’s necessary to consult a doctor. It interacts with drugs such as prednisone, levothyroxine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen, as well as antacids or proton pump inhibitors.
Where can we find chromium?
It’s recommended to take 25 micrograms of chromium per day. Where can we find it? In broccoli, turkey breast, red wine, as well as potatoes and green beans. If we eat healthy and our diet is rich in lean meat, grains and vegetables, then the body certainly receives as much chromium as it needs. However, if our diet deviates from full-fledged, it’s certainly worth supplementing it with appropriate supplements. In this form it’s the best, and if we take it for a long time, it can cause liver, kidney, skin or digestive system problems. So we focus on a healthy diet, and choose supplements as a last resort, when in fact we have too little of this chromium. So what should you bet on? Which supplements should you choose?
Chromium picolinate is the most-chosen form of the supplement that most of us choose. Picolinic acid is a natural chelator that allows this element to be absorbed much better. A less popular figure is his presence in glycine. Chromium glycinate binds to the amino acid glycine and reaches the body. Chromium nicotinate is another form. Nicotinate is a salt or an ester of B vitamins. It’s more difficult to get it, but it’s available in several places online. These three solutions are ways in which chromium can enter cell membranes.
So, as you can see, chromium is a trace element, but it plays an extremely important role in the human body and it’s worth remembering about it. Some prefer chromium to improve weight loss, others for health reasons. One thing is certain, be sure to focus on ingredients rich in chromium, and if it’s not enough, supplement it with appropriate supplements.