We need chromium too

Nutrition Expert: Sana Saiyed, practicing clinical nutritionist, Mumbai

Chromium is a naturally occurring heavy metal and is an essential micronutrient required to promote the action of insulin in body tissues so that the body can use sugars, proteins and fats.

Role of chromium in immunity

Chromium is very important for the immune system to fight with the foreign substances (i.e,virus and bacteria). It has capability to alter the response of the immune cell like T-cells,macrophages,cytokine that may lead to improved immune function.

Chromium deficiency

Numerous studies have shown that a strong association exists between chromium deficiency, high blood insulin, and elevated blood cholesterol levels. (1)

Risks of chromium deficiency

Chromium deficiency is a widespread problem. Many people such as athletes, diabetics, pregnant women, and the elderly are especially at risk of chromium deficiency leading to impaired insulin function, inhibition of protein synthesis and energy production, and to type 2
diabetes and heart disease.

Further, chromium losses are found in diets with large quantities of refined foods, especially simple sugars, which exacerbates the problem since these foods are not only low in chromium
but also increase losses of chromium through the urine.

Recommanded dietary allowance (RDA)

The recommended dietary allowance as per the Indian council of medical research (ICMR) is 50 mcg(microgram)/day.(2)

Supplementation:

Since decades Chromium has been proven effective to correct glucose intolerance and glucose resistance.

In a study three hospitalized patients who were fed intravenously showed signs of diabetes (including weight loss, neuropathy, and impaired glucose tolerance) until chromium was added to their feeding solution.

The chromium, added at doses of 150 to 250 mcg/day for up to two weeks,
corrected their diabetes symptoms (3).

In one study, 96 patients with type 2 diabetes took either 400 micrograms (mcg) or 200 mcg a day of chromium picolinate, or a placebo.

Those who took 400 mcg daily saw improvements in endothelial function, lipid profile, and biomarkers of oxidative stress, suggesting that chromium picolinate could benefit patients with type 2 diabetes. (4)

Food sources of chromium

Chromium is widely distributed in the food supply, but most foods provide only small amounts (less than 2 micrograms [mcg] per serving). Meat and whole-grain products, as well as some fruits, vegetables, and spices are relatively good sources (5)

In contrast, foods high in simple sugars (like sucrose and fructose) are low in chromium.

References:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/chromium-deficiency#:~
    :text=Chromium%20deficiency%20is%20a%20wide,and%20heart%20disease%20%5B4%
    5D.
  2. https://cbseacademic.nic.in/web material/curriculum/Vocational/2018/Food%20Nutrition&%20&%20Dietietics_XI.pdf
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/104057/
  4. https://ijpsr.com/bft-article/effect-of-proprietary-chromium-complex-and-its-individual-
    components-versus-chromium-picolinate-chromium-polynicotinate-and-chromium-dinic
    ocysteinate-on-endothelial-function-biomarkers-and-lipid-pr/?view=fulltext
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1375047

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