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Chromium: the mineral that helps control blood sugar

The issue of glycemic control (blood sugar) involves a series of factors and if you know how this mechanism works and know how to act, it will be simpler to stay healthy and with blood sugar always under control.

Chromium is one of the factors that must be taken into account.

What is chromium?

Chromium is an essential mineral, needed by the body in small amounts – between 20 to 35 µg for adults.

Examples of chromium sources are: brewer’s yeast, some beers and wines, oysters, liver, potatoes, whole grains, wheat germ, egg yolks, coffee, carrots, spinach, broccoli, nuts, green beans, meat, seafood.

Why can chromium be missing?

  • Generally all foods have a very small amount;
  • Of the total ingested only 0.5 to 2% is absorbed;
  • The amount in food depends on the amount in the soil and with the current trend towards intensive cultivation, food is becoming increasingly nutritionally poor;
  • There may be increased requirements, decreased absorption, or increased excretion which necessitates increased intake of the nutrient.

What is chromium used for anyway?

There are several descriptions of the mechanisms of action, the most relevant of which describes that chromium is necessary for the proper functioning of insulin and its receptor. Without chromium, the insulin receptor cannot function at its full potential.

Individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance have shown in several studies low levels of several minerals including chromium.

The supplementation

-Potential supplementation targets:

  • all those whose analyzes demonstrate a lack of chromium;
  • people with insulin resistance;
  • people with intestinal problems that may affect absorption;
  • athletes and pregnant women (intense exercise and stress lead to greater urinary losses of minerals);
  • individuals with low food intake;
  • elderly (several studies show low levels of chromium even with apparently adequate food intake);
  • those who feel a lot of compulsion for sweets;
  • in patients with diabetes, supplementation should be arranged together with your doctor, as it may interfere with the effect of your medication.

In individuals with insulin resistance, supplementation has better results and the worse the dysregulation, the greater the effect of chromium.

The studies with the most positive results used a minimum of 200 µg of chromium per day and a maximum of 1000 µg in the form of chromium picolinate or chromium nicotinate.

There are no adverse effects described, except in animal studies in which doses much higher than those already tested in humans were used.

If you have some degree of glucose dysregulation or if you are already diabetic, you can measure blood chromium levels and the consequent supplementation.

Eat whole foods whenever possible.

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