There are so many minerals that our bodies need. We are left confused over what we need to take, how we can get them, and the amount we need daily. If you have never heard of chromium, do not fear. You are not the only one.
One of the only times you will hear about it is if you have been diagnosed with a deficiency. You may have also heard about it if you have had a history of digestive problems. Your doctor may have mentioned the mineral in passing as one of those that you may need to get more of.
Chromium supplements may be required. Before you start taking them, here’s a look at everything you need to know about them to help you determine if they are right for you. You also find out more about how chromium helps your health and supports your bodily functions.
Chromium for the Digestive Health
Chromium is needed for a healthy digestive system. Only a small amount is needed, and there are high chances that you get enough through your diet, especially if you have spices, whole grains, and cheese. In fact, you can get enough from plenty of fruits and vegetables daily.
In some parts of the world, especially in the Western World, even the drinking water includes chromium. Also, if you cook with stainless steel materials, you will naturally get the mineral into your diet easily. There are high chances that you will never need to take chromium supplements because of all the sources that you get it from.
However, some people will be at risk of developing a chromium deficiency. Your digestive system may not be able to absorb it effectively, leaving you with some health problems. Those most at risk include the elderly and people with diabetes. Certain diets may also lead to a deficiency since you can overlook the foods with it. This is when you may need to take chromium supplements to help support you.
However, how exactly does chromium work in your body? It is needed to help transport your blood sugar into your bloodstream and your cells. The blood sugar can then be used as energy and help to turn the other nutrients in your body into energy, especially proteins and fats. The mineral helps to prevent the blood sugar levels from increasing and requiring as much insulin to tackle it.
Because of the effect, it is possible that chromium can help those with type II diabetes manage their illness. It is possible to control your blood sugar levels, reducing the amount you suffer and could help to reverse the need for more medications. Before you start skipping your insulin medications, you will need to talk to your doctor. More studies are required to see just how chromium can help.
Some studies show that the nutrient can help with fat burning and muscle building. This is linked to the ability to turn more proteins, fats, and carbs into energy. It is possible to burn through more calories and get the nutrients where they need to be. Your body can use up the carbs more effectively. Since there is not as much blood sugar to cause a problem, the metabolism is not as likely to store calories unnecessarily.
It is not just the digestive health that benefits from more chromium. Studies have shown that glaucoma is more prevalent in those with low levels of the mineral. There are currently no studies that show chromium can help prevent the development of glaucoma when you have it or reverse the condition, but you can lower your risk of the onset of the condition.
At the same time, studies show that the mineral can help prevent some bone loss. Chromium helps to slow down calcium loss from the body, which is something that occurs as we age. Calcium loss happens mostly during and after menopause, due to the hormonal changes. A lack of the mineral can lead to brittle bones and the onset of osteoporosis, so it is worth finding a way to prevent it.
When Should You Consider a Chromium Supplement?
If you can get the mineral through your natural diet, is there any reason you should consider a supplement? Well, like with other nutrients, there are times that our bodies cannot absorb everything. There are certain types of people who will find supplements will help to overcome some of their health problems.
As mentioned, those with diabetes may gain some help through the addition of the supplement. This is especially the case if you have a high blood sugar problem.
The mineral helps to manage and reduce the glucose levels in your blood. If you have diabetes, you will know that your glucose levels affect your health. The higher your glucose, the more insulin your body needs. This can cause major health problems, especially since your body is not able to gain benefits from lower amounts of insulin.
By reducing your blood sugar levels, your body does not need to produce as much insulin. You find another way to tackle the sugars, helping to improve your insulin receptor activity.
Studies have shown that chromium can help to improve your insulin receptor, meaning that less insulin tackles the larger amounts of blood sugar. Some diabetes patients have reversed their condition and no longer need to take medications. You will want to discuss this possibility with your doctor.
Other studies have shown positive results in women with a hormonal imbalance. Your hormonal balance will affect so many elements of your health. Women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) have seen the best results, but there is hope for women with other hormonal issues.
PCOS can affect your glycaemic control, which is linked to diabetes. In fact, women with PCOS are more likely to suffer from diabetes since the metabolism does not work properly and it is harder to get rid of the blood sugar levels and convert all nutrients to energy. With chromium, you improve the ability to convert food and calories into energy and naturally lower the blood sugar levels.
So far, studies are showing positive results. More studies are needed for a full consider how chromium can help.
While studies have not considered other hormonal imbalances, there is hope that chromium can help. This could help to manage some conditions caused by hormonal imbalances, including the struggle to absorb some nutrients.
Improving your mood could also be gained using chromium supplements. This is not just for those in a bad mood now and then, but for those with mood disorders including atypical depression and dysthymic disorder.
Theories into how the mood is helped involve the way chromium helps the cells. They become more sensitive to the amount of insulin in the body, making it easier for nutrients like tryptophan to pass around the body. Tryptophan helps to improve the amount of serotonin in the body. It is that nutrient that helps give you the warm, satisfied, tired feeling after eating plenty of turkey at Thanksgiving or Christmas!
Your body has more of the building blocks to release the happy chemicals from the brain. This makes it easier to overcome depression and other mood disorders since the right amount of serotonin is released. It is the low levels of serotonin that lead to low moods.
The big question many have, especially when they hear of a mineral for the first time, is whether it is safe to take. Chromium is a natural mineral that you will find in your food. It will help improve your bodily functions and health, and will not harm you.
However, this is only when you take the mineral in safe doses. If you take many supplements, you do put yourself at the risk of chromium overdoses. Like with anything, it is possible to get too much of a good thing.
Excessive chromium levels have led to low blood sugar levels in patients. Your body takes all the blood sugars to use for converting other minerals into energy. You are not left with enough for your short-term reserves, leading to problems with fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. If left to continue, you can have problems with hypoglycemia, which is just as dangerous as high blood sugar levels.
You may also experience stomach problems. Your digestive system is working overtime and can cause a variety of issues, including nausea and cramping. You may also experience some bloating and gas.
Some chromium supplements can make your allergies worse. There is also a case that you are allergic to the ingredients used in the supplements. You may find that getting chromium through natural methods is best.
More serious side effects of too much chromium include kidney and liver failure. You may experience an irregular heart rhythm, problems with your nerves, and other serious health conditions. The good news is many of these severe side effects are rare.
You do not just suffer from chromium problems from supplements. It is possible to get too much of the mineral due to your job since the mineral is gained through some metals. Some studies show excessive amounts can lead to some cancers and kidney damage. Skin conditions like inflammation and eczema are possible.
Taking Chromium Supplements with Other Medications
Before you start taking chromium supplements, you should discuss them with your doctor. This is especially important if you take other medications. Certain medications can affect the ability to absorb the mineral, while some medications are left ineffective because of the mineral.
For example, antacids can lead to the chromium not being absorbed into the body. This is due to the way the antacids affect the stomach acid and the breaking down of food to pass through the digestive system.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women will also need to discuss taking the supplement. It is possible that the chromium will pass to the baby and studies are not sure how this mineral will affect the growth of a fetus or baby. This is the case with all types of dietary supplements.
The dietary supplements are not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration. While this does not mean they are dangerous, it does mean there are limited recommendations. A doctor’s care is always best to seek. In some cases, the chromium (and other dietary) supplements can interact with medications and conditions, making your health worse rather than better.
More research is needed into chromium supplements and how they interact with medications and health problems. Your doctor may want to keep a closer eye on your health if you do decide to take the supplements. If side effects are noted early on, your doctor will be able to make an educated decision over what to do next.
Getting a Safe Amount of Chromium
Now that you know the importance of the nutrient and getting the right levels, it is time to look at just how much you need. The body can work with very little, especially compared to other nutrients. However, the studies mentioned above did use larger amounts, with up to 1,000mcg per day to show the positive results.
Most females need 20-25mcg per day, depending on age. Those who are pregnant will need 30mcg, and those lactating will need to increase their intake to 45mcg.
You can get most of your daily requirement through your food and method of cooking. However, you may need more if you have a medical condition. This is when taking supplements is worth considering. Your doctor may recommend supplements if you struggle to get enough in your diet.
If you are going to take supplements to help a medical condition mentioned above, discuss with your doctor first. This will help to avoid any potential health problems.
Chromium Supplements Can Be Useful
In short, it could be worth your time taking chromium supplements. There are certainly plenty of studies that show benefits. However, there are also serious side effects to protect yourself again. The best thing you can do is make sure you get enough through your diet and discuss the option of supplements with your doctor.