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Dietary Chromium

Dietary Chromium

What Chromium is good for:

Chromium is a naturally occurring element found in rocks, animals, plants, soil, and in volcanic dust and gases. Chromium is present in the environment in several different forms. No taste or odor is associated with chromium compounds.

Chromium is an essential nutrient that helps the body use sugar, protein, and fat. Chromium acts cooperatively with other substances to control insulin and certain enzymes.

Chromium Confusion

There is much confusion between dietary chromium and toxic levels of chromium. Exposure to toxic levels of chromium can be deadly; however, the human body does contain levels of chromium that are perfectly healthy. Let's try to differentiate.

Chromium as a mineral functions as a blood glucose tolerance factor, but the question is, what amount is appropriate as a supplement and can it be toxic? While experts concur that current results are postivie, studies continue to see how chromium supplements can help treat or prevent diabetes and other health problems.

Risks of Chromium

  • Breathing high levels of chromium can cause irritation to the nose, such as runny nose, nosebleeds, and ulcers and holes in the nasal septum.
  • Ingesting large amounts of chromium can cause stomach upsets and ulcers, convulsions, kidney and liver damage, and even death.
  • Skin contact with certain chromium compounds can cause skin ulcers. Some people are extremely sensitive to chromium or chromium. Allergic reactions consisting of severe redness and swelling of the skin have been noted.
  • Several studies have shown that chromium compounds can increase the risk of lung cancer.

Children should avoid playing in soils near uncontrolled hazardous waste sites where chromium may have been discarded. Although chromium is an essential nutrient, you should avoid excessive use of dietary supplements containing chromium.

Note:  The effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the dose, the duration, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present.

How am I exposed to chromium?

Water Well

  • Eating food containing chromium
  • Breathing contaminated workplace air
  • Skin contact during use in the workplace
  • Drinking contaminated well water
  • Living near uncontrolled hazardous waste sites

Where you get Chromium

Cheese, whole grains, meat, peas, beans and blackstrap molasses. It is relatively easy to get safe and adequate amounts of chromium (50-200 micrograms per day) by eating a variety of foods like brewer's yeast, calf's liver, American cheese and wheat germ.

DRI or RDA: None. As many as 90 percent of American diets are low in chromium, but few people are seriously deficient in this important mineral. The elderly, people who indulge in strenuous exercise, those who consume excessive amounts of sugary foods, and pregnant women are most likely to be deficient in chromium. Low chromium levels can increase blood sugar, triglycerides (a type of fat) and cholesterol levels and increase the risk for a number of conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.

Chromium Supplement

Chromium Picolinate is a trace mineral that is significantly reduced in the American diet due to the overprocessing of our foods. Chromium assists the action of insulin, a hormone involved in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. It also supports fat loss and promotes lean muscle mass. Chromium may improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels. Each capsule contains 1000 mcg of chromium picolinate.

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