Supplement of the Month: Chromium

What is Chromium?

Chromium is a trace element. It is known to enhance the effectiveness of insulin, which is a hormone involved in the metabolism and storage of carbohydrates, protein and fat in the body. Chromium is the active ingredient in glucose tolerance factor (GTF), which is a dietary factor that has been shown to improve impaired glucose tolerance in rats.

Where is Chromium found?

Chromium is widely distributed in the food supply, but the content of the mineral in food is altered by agriculture and manufacturing practices and therefore most foods provide only small amounts. It is found canned foods, meats and animal fats, fish, brown sugar, coffee, tea, calf liver, whole wheat bread, rye bread, some spices, and brewer’s yeast. Cooking in stainless-steel cookware increases the chromium content in food.

What are the benefits of Chromium?

Chromium is used to improve blood sugar balance and glycemic control in diabetes. It is also used to treat pre-diabetes, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), and decrease LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Some people take chromium to increase muscle mass and lose weight. It is also used to increase athletic performance and increase energy.

Are there interactions with medications and Chromium?

Antacids, corticosteroids, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors alter stomach acidity and may impair chromium absorption.  Additionally, chromium may enhance the effects of beta-blockers, corticosteroids, NSAIDS, prostaglandin inhibitors, nicotinic acid and insulin.

Are there side effects from Chromium?

None.

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