If you experience low energy, fatigue, poor skin health, low concentration and poor memory you may be experiencing a Chromium deficiency. Other symptoms of a Chromium deficiency include changes in appetite, weak bones, changes in weight, delayed time in healing wounds, worsened eye health, and poor blood glucose control. Chromium is an essential mineral our bodies need for insulin to function properly. If you don’t have enough Chromium your body can’t control your blood sugar. Chromium levels tend to be 40% lower in diabetics than in healthy people. So it’s important to supplement with this mineral if you are diabetic. Learn 8 health benefits of Chromium below.
Health Benefits of Chromium
1. Helps Control Blood Sugar and Prevent Diabetes
Chromium can help enhance the role of insulin, the critical hormone that controls blood sugar and helps bring glucose into cells where it’s used for bodily energy. Chromium also supports a healthy metabolism and storage of nutrients throughout the body, since it can help you better absorb and distribute nutrients from carbohydrates, fats and proteins found in the foods you eat.
Brewer’s yeast (also called nutritional yeast), for example, is a high source of chromium and has been found to help support metabolism of sugar (in the form of glucose) within the blood, which is beneficial for preventing glucose-intolerance, insulin-resistance anddiabetes formation. (3)
One study conducted by the Human Nutrition Research Center U.S. Department of Agriculture found that when individuals being treated for type 2 diabetes were either given a placebo or chromium supplements over a four-month period each day while continuing to take normal medications and not changing eating habits, insulin values and cholesterol levels decreased significantly in the group given supplemental chromium compared to the placebo group. (4)
However, it’s important to note that studies show mixed results when it comes to chromium’s effectiveness in preventing diabetes. Many studies show beneficial effects, but others show that chromium doesn’t have a strong ability to control blood sugar in people prone to diabetes without combining it with any other intervention methods. (5)
2. Helps Reduce High Cholesterol
Chromium is needed for normal metabolism of fats, including cholesterol. Research shows a link between higher chromium intake and healthier arteries and levels of blood cholesterol. Some studies even show that people who die from heart disease tend to have lower levels of chromium in the blood at the time of death.
When researchers at the Department of Medical Education of Mercy Hospital and Medical Center tested the effects of chromium supplementation in adults over a 42-day period, the participants experienced lowered levels of total cholesterol and lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) “bad” cholesterol when taking chromium compared to the placebo group. (6)
3. May Help Prevent Weight Gain and Overeating
Chromium (in the form chromium picolinate or CrPic) has been associated with a reduction in the risk for obesity, less weight gain and may positively affect food intake. At this time, the exact mechanism by which chromium affects hunger and weight is still unknown, but some studies find that higher chromium intake is associated with a reduction in adipose tissue (fat accumulation on the body) and better controlled eating.
One study done by the Biomedical Research Center at the Louisiana State University found that chromium supplements effectively helped modulate food intake in healthy, overweight, adult women who reported craving carbohydrates. After comparing the effects of chromium versus placebo in 42 overweight women over an eight-week period, the group taking 1,000 milligrams of chromium daily experienced reduced food intake, reduced hunger levels, fewer fat cravings and a slight decrease in body weight. (7)
4. Helps Maintain Brain Health and Fight Cognitive Decline
Recent studies highlight the role of healthy insulin response in maintaining brain healthand cognitive function into old age. Because chromium is capable of improving glucose levels and insulin response, it may act as a beneficial modulator of brain function and is associated with a reduction of age-related alterations of the brain.
Specifically, chromium is linked to healthier hypothalamic functions. The hypothalamus is extremely important, a central part of the autonomic nervous system that helps controls body temperature, thirst, hunger, sleep and emotional activity. (8) Research suggests that chromium can help keep the hypothalamus in a more youthful state, better regulate appetite in elderly adults and prevent negative effects on brain neurons caused by aging.
Many other parts of the brain may also benefit from higher chromium levels, including the the pineal gland and thymus, which are also impacted by insulin control.
5. May Help Improve Skin Health and Prevent Acne
Rapid changes in blood sugar levels are associated with acne and other skin reactions, so because chromium helps to balance blood sugar levels it is linked with improvements in skin health. Foods rich in chromium (such as broccoli) also usually contain other phyotnutrients and antioxidants that can improve skin’s appearance and help fight acne or common signs of aging.
6. Supports a Healthy Metabolism and Energy Levels
Getting adequate amounts of trace minerals like chromium, calcium and magnesium are especially important for people who are active, since these micronutrients are needed to ensure the capacity to boost energy (calorie) expenditure, muscle and work performance.
Especially when someone restricts her body weight by eating less food and exercising, she needs to make sure to include plenty of chromium-rich foods in her diet in order to keep her metabolism running strong. Eating chromium-containing foods is important to make up for the loss of chromium being excreted through extra urine and sweat due to the recovery period following exercise. (9)
7. Helps Maintain Eye Health
What is chromium useful for when it comes to protecting your eye sight? Chromium can help protect from age-related eye disorders like glaucoma. Glaucoma is related to diabetes and caused by a buildup of fluid in the eye, adding harmful pressure to the eye’s delicate optic nerve, retina and lens, which can eventually lead to blindness. Chromium can lower the risk for diabetes and related eye disorders because of its beneficial role in controlling blood glucose.
8. Helps Protect Bones From Fractures and Osteoporosis
Chromium is known to slow the loss of calcium, so it might be beneficial for preventing bone loss and bone-related disorders that are especially common in older women. Therefore, it’s also a natural remedy for osteoporosis.