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Chromium
Overview
Chromium is an essential trace mineral meaning that it is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates, and it also helps to regulate the metabolism of our blood sugar and thus helps deter diabetes. The benefits of chromium also include controlling fat and cholesterol levels in the blood, and if adequate amounts are provided to the body, it can help to prevent hypertension or high blood pressure. Dieters claim taking chromium helps reduce body fat, and that it also helps improve muscle tone. So it is a miracle breakthrough in dieting. It is the answer that all dieters have been waiting for—weight loss without the need to diet. Role of chromium in weight loss is to correct insulin resistance which is in fact due to a chromium deficiency. The known causes of chromium deficiency are malnutrition, alcoholism, and strenuous exercise. Today, Chromium is prescribed by physicians and herbal specialist for the following positive benefits:
arw Appetite suppressant


arw Lowers blood sugar


arw Increases insulin sensitivity


arw Decreases body fat /increases lean body mass


arw Helps maintain health blood lipid levels, specifically triglycerides and HDL cholesterol.
 

What is Chromium?
Chromium is naturally occurring mineral trace mineral in human nutrition. Trivalent chromium is an essential trace metal and is required for the proper metabolism of sugar in humans. Unlike other essential trace metals, chromium has not been found in a metalloprotein with biological activity. Chromium is a metal with atomic number 24 and an atomic mass of 52 daltons. It receives its name from the green, orange, yellow, and red colors which emanate from the oxide and acid which contacts specific minerals and yields a chrome-green, chrome-yellow, and other color pigments. Chromium deficiencies can affect the potency of insulin in regulating sugar balance. Chromium deficiency may be seen as impaired glucose tolerance. It is seen in older people with type 2 diabetes and in infants with protein-calorie malnutrition. Chromium deficiency is characterized by insulin resistance, hyperglycemia and lipid abnormalities. Low chromium levels may cause high cholesterol and a greater risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD). Severe chromium deficiency may cause weight loss, poor coordination, destruction of the nerves in the extremities of the body (peripheral neuropathy) and inflammation of the brain. Chromium supplements are available in different forms:

Chromium picolinate

Chromium
 

Chromium(III) picolinate is the chemical compound that is sold as a nutritional supplement to prevent or treat chromium deficiency. This bright-red coordination complex is derived from chromium(III) and picolinic acid. Small quantities of chromium are needed for glucose utilization by insulin in normal health, but deficiency is extremely rare and has only been observed in hospital patients on long-term defined diets.
This supplement has been touted a miracle mineral, one advertised to have myriad effects including weight loss, mood enhancement, energy promotion, increase in life span, and even the prevention of acne (Krzanowski, 1996). The most common usage for chromium picolinate is as a weight loss aid; claims that this supplement can melt fat, drastically reduce appetite, and increase metabolism are rampant and account for the popularity of chromium picolinate in our diet-obsessed culture. Chromium picolinate is a common ingredient in many herbal weight-loss concoctions readily available for over-the-counter sale at the local drugstore or on the internet. Additionally, scientific research is generally unsupportive of the weight loss claims surrounding chromium picolinate; consumers must be aware of these discrepancies when making a decision to take this or any other nutritional supplement.

Chromium polynicotinate
Chromium polynicotinate is an ionic substance used in some nutritional supplement products. It appears in products that are referred to as a medical food used for nutritional support for conditions associated with diabetes mellitus type 2.
Chromium polynicotinate is an effective assimilated form of chromium which some researchers suggest may have more benefits for certain conditions than does the picolinate form. A recent study on antidepressant pharmacotherapy for dysthymic disorder (depression) in 5 patients showed that chromium polynicotinate supplementation led to remission of dysthymic symptoms and concluded that preliminary observations suggest that chromium may potentate antidepressant pharmacotherapy for dysthymic disorder. Another study on chromium polynicotinate in rats prevented the sucrose-induced elevation of systolic blood pressure and decreased measures of lipid peroxidation.
Both forms of chromium reduce high serum glucose levels which can contribute to aging via a destructive process known as glycosylation, also called nonenzymatic glycation, in which glucose molecules bind to proteins and interfere with their function. People with diabetes have a highly increased rate of protein glycosylation and this plays a major part in their increased risk of atherosclerosis and many other diseases. For many with diabetes, chromium enhances the ability of insulin to lower serum glucose levels.

Chromium chelate
Chromium is required for normal protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism. Chromium plays a role in regulating appetite, reducing the cravings for sugar and increasing lean body mass.
Chromium contains a special bioactive formulation called Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF). GTF facilitates insulin action by binding insulin to cell membranes, serving as a bridge between the insulin molecule and the cell membrane receptor sites. Glucose is used by cells for energy, and insulin is used by the body to transport the glucose into the cells. Chromium's GTF factor essentially assists the glucose to enter the cell. Therefore, all both insulin and GTF are needed for proper glucose metabolism. Chromium deficiency can lead to Type II diabetes and heart disease. Chromium deficiency is thought to contribute to glucose intolerance.

Chromium has also been shown to reduce levels of harmful LDL cholesterol (a form of cholesterol that has been linked to heart disease) and increase beneficial HDL cholesterol (HDL cholesterol helps return cholesterol to the liver, keeping it from building up in the blood vessels).

Chromium Chelavite
Chromium Chelavite is patented compound known as chelates, which are predigested and easily absorbed. These particular chelates have chromium bonded to a niacin complex. Niacin-bound chromium complexes significantly increase the bioavailability and biological activity of chromium. Some studies have shown that niacin-complexed chromium is absorbed and retained greater than chromium picolinate, reducing body weight, increasing lean body mass and promoting proper insulin function in the body.

Where is it Found?
The best source of chromium is in true brewer's yeast. Nutritional yeast is not the same and will not contain the same amount of chromium. It can also be found in grains and cereals although most of it is lost through refining. Chromium can also be found in large amounts in some beers.

Product related PDF file
Chromium For Diabetes
Effects of Chromium
 

Benefits / Uses
Chromium is important in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Chromium helps moves blood sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream into the cells to be used as energy and turn fats, carbohydrates, and proteins into energy. Chromium stimulates fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis, which are important for brain function and other body processes. It is an activator of several enzymes, which are needed to drive numerous chemical reactions necessary to life. Chromium supplementation also improves glucose tolerance in people with Turner's syndrome, a disease linked with glucose intolerance. Chromium is also important in insulin metabolism. Insulin is an important hormone for controlling blood sugar levels as well as for metabolising fats and proteins in the body. Chromium may decrease the amount of insulin resistance present and thus it may change the type or amount of medication needed to treat the diabetes. It may help them control their blood sugar and may play a role in the development of adult-onset diabetes. Chromium, in a form called chromium picolinate, may improve symptoms of depression in people with atypical depression. Chromium, in combination with copper, may have potential suppressive effects on immune function.

When To Take / Type to take

Chromium supplements are best taken with a meal.

Chromium supplements come in several salt forms. The most common are chromium picolinate, chromium nicotinate and chromium chloride. Chromium picolinate is a complex of chromium and picotinate acid, which is a naturally occurring metabolic derivative of tryptophan. Adding the picolinate or nicotinate salt increases absorption, retention and accumulation of chromium compared to inorganic salts such as chromium chloride.

Dosage
There are no recommended dietary allowances for chromium. The amount of chromium needed to meet normal daily recommended intakes will be different for different individuals. According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, the safe and adequate daily intakes of chromium are as follows:
Infants birth to 6 months: 0.2 mcg
Infants 7 to 12 months: 5.5 mcg
Children 1 to 3 years: 11 mcg
Children 4 to 8 years: 15 mcg
Boys 9 to 13 years: 25 mcg
Teenage boys 14 to 18 years: 35 mcg
Girls 9 to 13 years: 21 mcg
Teenage girls 14 to 18 years: 24 mcg
Adult males, 19 to 50 years: 35 mcg
Adult males, older than 50: 30 mcg
Adult females, 19 to 50 years: 25 mcg
Adult females, older than 50: 20 mcg
Pregnant women: 29 to 30 mcg
Lactating women: 44 to 45 mcg

Possible Side-Effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions
No side-effects have been reported for chromium. Chromium administered in high doses may cause skin irritation. Because of the low absorption and high excretion rates of chromium, toxicity is not common. Taking excessive chromium supplements can lead to stomach problems and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
Individuals with preexisting medical conditions should consult with their physician particularly if they are taking prescription or over-the-counter-medications or supplements. Women who are pregnant or breast feeding and children should also consult with there physician prior to taking any new supplements. Chromium chelate did not have any reported significant side-effects or medication interactions at the time of this writing.

Research Studies / References

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Chromium in metabolic and cardiovascular disease. Horm Metab Res. 2007 Oct; 39(10):743-51.


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Effect of chromium niacinate and chromium picolinate supplementation on lipid peroxidation, TNF-alpha, IL-6, CRP, glycated hemoglobin, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels in blood of streptozotocin-treated diabetic rats. Free Radic Biol Med. 2007 Oct 15; 43(8):1124-31. Epub 2007 May 18.


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Plasma mineral content in type-2 diabetic patients and their association with the metabolic syndrome. Ann Nutr Metab. 2007; 51(5):402-6. Epub 2007 Sep 11.


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Effect of chromium on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in a rat model of type 2 diabetes mellitus: the fat-fed, streptozotocin-treated rat. Metabolism. 2007 Sep; 56(9):1233-40.


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Combination of chromium and biotin improves coronary risk factors in hypercholesterolemic type 2 diabetes mellitus: a placebo-controlled, double-blind randomized clinical trial. J Cardiometab Syndr. 2007 Spring; 2(2):91-7.


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Chromium yeast supplementation improves fasting plasma glucose and LDL-cholesterol in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2006 Nov; 76(6):391-7.


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High glucose and ketosis (acetoacetate) increases, and chromium niacinate decreases, IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 secretion and oxidative stress in U937 monocytes. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2007 Oct;9(10):1581-90.


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Effect of chromium supplementation on glucose metabolism and lipids: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Diabetes Care. 2007 Aug; 30(8):2154-63. Epub 2007 May 22.


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Chromium picolinate and biotin combination improves glucose metabolism in treated, uncontrolled overweight to obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2007 May 16; 24(1):41-51 [Epub ahead of print]


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Longitudinal hair chromium profiles of elderly subjects with normal glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Metabolism. 2007 Jan; 56(1):94-104.


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Chromium picolinate supplementation attenuates body weight gain and increases insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes: response to Martin et al. Diabetes Care. 2006 Dec; 29(12):2764; author reply 2764-5.


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Clinical studies on chromium picolinate supplementation in diabetes mellitus–a review. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2006 Dec;8(6):677-87.


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The effect of chromium picolinate and biotin supplementation on glycemic control in poorly controlled patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a placebo-controlled, double-blinded, randomized trial. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2006 Dec;8(6):636-43.


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Chromium (III) complexes of D-glucosaminic acid and their effect on decreasing blood sugar in vivo. Arch Pharm (Weinheim). 2006 Sep; 339(9):527-30.


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Chromium picolinate supplementation attenuates body weight gain and increases insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2006 Aug; 29(8):1826-32.


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The influence of chromium chloride-containing milk to glycemic control of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Metabolism. 2006 Jul; 55(7):923-7.


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Effect of chromium on the insulin resistance in patients with type II diabetes mellitus. Folia Med (Plovdiv). 2005; 47(3-4):59-62.
 
Influence of chromium-enriched yeast on blood glucose and insulin variables, blood lipids, and markers of oxidative stress in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2006 Mar; 109(3):215-30.