Chromium is a mineral which is known as an essential trace element due to the fact that only very small amounts of it are required for human health. It is a metal which was discovered in France in the late 18th century, however, it was not considered a nutrient only until the 1960s.
This trace mineral is involved in the normal function of insulin, a hormone which is essential for the normal regulation of glucose. After absorption, it is stored in the spleen, liver, bones, and soft tissues.
It is found in many foods, but is also available in supplement form, as chromium picolinate, chromium chloride, and chromium polynicotinate (CP). CP was identified by scientists as the active component of glucose tolerance factor (GTF) and consists of pure niacin-bound chromium.
GTF is a cofactor for the hormone insulin in the regulation of blood glucose, that is needed for a healthy metabolism.
In 2016, about 1.9 billion adults were overweight worldwide. Of these, more than 650 million were obese. Supplementing with CP has been shown to actually help you lose extra weight most likely because it increases lean body mass and reduces fat mass.
Good For Diabetics
The global prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus among adults has risen from 4.7 percent in 1980 to 10 percent in 2016.
CP is used for improving blood glucose control in individuals with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes mellitus, as well as with high blood glucose levels due to taking HIV treatments and steroids.
It is thought that this trace mineral boosts the effectiveness of the hormone insulin. Diabetics may take CP supplements to regulate blood glucose levels with a daily intake of 200 mcg.
According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization, approximately 300 million individuals in the world are living with this mental condition, an increase of 18 percent over the last decade. If your depression goes untreated, it may get worse. More importantly, untreated depression may lead to suicide, as it does for approximately 10 percent of sufferers with depression.
Supllementanting with CP appears to effectively treat some types of mood disorders, according to the 2010 study issued in “Journal of Affective Disorders.”
Reduces LDL Cholesterol
According to research, taking this supplement helps to raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol. This prevents atherosclerosis, a serious condition which occurs when the blood vessels (arteries) which transport nutrients and the much-needed oxygen from the heart to the rest of the human body become stiff and thick.
If left untreated, atherosclerosis, also referred as hardening of the arteries, can lead to stroke, heart attack, or heart failure. This is vital information since cardiovascular diseases are the number 1 cause of death in the world. More people die annually from this type of life-threatening conditions than from any other cause.
Boosts Physical Resistance
CP also benefits bodybuilders, long-distance runners, swimmers, and tennis players, who need to utilize energy reserves to enhance their athletic performance, particularly professionals athletes.
The insulinogenic characteristic of this mineral has prompted the hypothesis by researchers that CP has an anabolic function. The anabolic state helps athletes achieve their fitness goals, as well as it develops muscle tissue.
Generally, the dosage of this supplement ranges anywhere between 50 and 200 mcg per day, however, it might vary if one is taking CP for inducing weight loss. Also, seniors need slightly less, hence, the recommendations for CP are 20 mcg for women per day and 30 mcg for men.
Substances which may boost the absorption of this trace mineral include:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like – ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, and indomethacin;
- vitamin C;
- vitamin B3;
- beta blockers (medicines which block epinephrine and norepinephrine from binding to beta receptors on nerves) – betaxolol, betaxolol, propranolol, atenolol, or acebutolol;
Chromium Polynicotinate Dangers
CP supplement is typically safe for most users, however, some of those taking it experienced side effects, such as – vertigo, watery stool, hives, and headaches. Also, this supplement has the potential to aggravate existing health conditions, especially kidney disease or liver disease since they may lead to organ damage.
This mineral may interfere with the absorption of thyroid medications which are used to supplement naturally occurring thyroid hormones in the human body.
Thyroid meds should be taken at least four hours before or after taking this supplement. Also, if you take the hormone insulin (like type 1 diabetics) or other drugs for type 2 diabetes (like Metformin), CP can cause blood glucose levels to drop too low.
Chromium Polynicotinate Vs. Chromium Picolinate
Chromium picolinate can be found in a variety of vitamin supplements, like – sports drinks, multi-vitamins, weight loss formulas, and diabetic formulas. Nevertheless, there is now an intense debate regarding its safety.
For instance, when this supplement is in contact with antioxidants, it may cause mutations in DNA, according to a study done by Dr. John Vincent of the University of Alabama. Therefore, CP is considered the safer form of chromium.
Cooking in stainless-steel cookware and drinking tap water supplies some of the chromium daily needs. Foods rich in chromium include – potatoes, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, oats, oat bran, corn, green beans, papayas, or bananas.