Chromium and glucose metabolism


chromium is essential for energy metabolism and in particular for glucose metabolism. some clinical deficiencies of this race element are quite widespread for a variety of concurrent reasons.


absorption of inorganic chromium is very limited to,  begin with at a rate of about five percent. it decreases with age. then refined foods, and overly processed foods are dramatically impoverished of chromium. while high sugar consumption , increases chromium utilization, and excretion.


as it turns out the average american diet combines, all these things. and thus ends up bringing little chromium in all the while increasing the need for it.


further , increase chromium losses; chromium deficiency results in symptoms which are similar to those of type 2 diabetes. such as: Impaired fasting of glucose tolerance. hyperglycemia , high insulin levels and glucose excretion in the urine.


Indeed chromium appears to be required for insulin action. and it improves insulin sensitivity. although we still don’t know the exact mechanism of its action.


chromium deficiency also results in risk of dyslipidemia. with elevated blood triglycerides and cholesterol, high blood pressure, body fat accumulation and increased incidence of atheroscleroticp plaques.


chromium toxicity

the cardiovascular symptoms, and the diabetes-like symptoms described befor. are all reversed by chromium supplementation, in chromium-deficient individuals. but chromium is well known for its toxicity.

as well as its potential health benefits reminding us one more time that. we must never forget to look at the whole picture in biological systems.


chromium is present in many different valency states. the two most common are chromium-3 and chromium-6. while chromium-3 is beneficial and non-toxic. 


hexavalent chromium is extremely toxic. and in the presence of the pro-oxidative conditions. however chromium-3 can be oxidized to chromium-6.

this is the main reason why we have to be extremely careful with chromium supplementation. indeed chromium supplements have been shown , to improve this lipidemia, blood glucose, and insulin sensitivity in some diabetes patients.


they are also sometimes recommended to , athletes to make up for their increased chromium losses. however intensive chromium supplementationals  also raises concerns, for its potential genotoxicity. due to degeneration of chromium-6. 


it is also possible that the beneficial effects of chromium are in fact a consequence of its very toxicity. based on the hormesis principle , small doses of a toxic chemical may induce a sort of good stress, stimulating our cells to activate their own protection and repair mechanisms.


after all low doses of heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium, have also been shown to induce stress-related increase in cell glucose uptake.

so maybe the anti-diabetic activity of chromium-3. is in fact due to its biological oxidation to chromium-6.


the recommended daily allowance for chromium-3 is 35 micrograms for men, and 25 micrograms for women. and no upper limit has been established.




sources of chromium

a very good source of chromium is brewer’s yeast. because its chromium is bound to niacin. and other amino acids making it more easily absorbable 10 to 25. because of the leftover east beer , is also reaching chromium. 


Broccoli is another excellent source. and also fresh fruits and vegetables mushrooms.


whole grains and nuts are also good sources. but of course your chromium content is highly variable. depending on the composition of the soil. as far as supplements go, the organic chromium picolinate is more efficiently absorbed.


but it is also being questioned for its higher oxidative toxicity, niacin bound chromium is still well absorbed and is less toxic. so it appears to be the best. 


Also, inorganic chromium supplements such as brewer’s yeast, although they are much less effective.  But it can also be used as a natural chromium supplement.