Chromium is a mineral known as an "essential trace element," which means you don't need a lot of chromium to experience the health benefits. Chromium is found in both food and some supplements, so getting enough should be easy. Not only that, there are many advantages from getting your daily amount of chromium.

The Traditional Benefits Of Chromium

There are two major types of chromium:Trivalent Chromium: Found in food, trivalent chromium (chromium 3+) is biologically active, meaning it's safe to consume. Hexavalent Chromium: This form is a toxic variant of chromium. Hexavalent chromium (chromium 6+) is a result of industrial pollution, meaning it isn't safe to consume. Otherwise, it is an essential trace element, but whenever "chromium" is mentioned in terms of human health, assume trivalent chromium is what's being inferred. In supplementation, chromium actually comes in the form of chromium picolinate. This type has been researched as beneficial to your overall health, as the next section shows.

What is Chromium Used For?

Chromium may have numerous benefits to the mind and body, including the following: Improves Blood Sugar, Lowers Hunger/Cravings, Manages Weight Loss, Reduces Insulin Resistance, Potentially Reduces Symptoms of Depression.

Benefits of Chromium

Chromium packs a lot of punch with a really small dose (which is revealed in the next section). Here are the benefits: Improves blood sugar(1), Lowers hunger/cravings(2), Weight loss management(3), Reduces insulin resistance(4), Could potentially reduce symptoms of depression(4). These are fantastic things to have from a health and wellbeing standpoint, so it's pivotal to get your recommended daily allowance of chromium.

How to Use Chromium

Chromium usually comes in the form of a pill or powder when supplemented. Take with your first meal of the day. You should only have to supplement once daily.Chromium is typically included in many popular supplements and isn't normally bought by itself. It's a regular addition to weight management supplements, due to its suppression of cravings, most notably sweets and other carbohydrates that can be stored easily as fat. Another way chromium is supplemented is through daily multivitamins. In either case, it should provide your daily need for chromium. According to the Dietary Reference Intakes (developed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences), males get anywhere between 25-35 mcg of chromium daily, while females acquire for 20-25. "Mcg" stands for microgram; one microgram equates to 1/1000 of a milligram, meaning you don't need very much. (In fact, the most you'd ever need as a human would be if you're a lactating female, at which point you'd only require 44-45mcg per day.) These values are, in fact, not recommended daily allowances (RDAs) due to the lack of sufficient research of chromium. The ranges above are actually Adequate Intakes (AIs), which translates to, "a level that healthy people typically consume." There is also an "estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intake" for chromium: a range of 50-200mcg.For supplementation purposes, keep this last range of values in mind; when looking for a decent product, look for 50-200mcg per dose.

Who is at Risk of a Chromium Deficiency?

Chromium deficiency is quite rare; however, there are a select few who are at risk, including elderly people and those with Type 2 diabetes. Sadly, these claims are not substantiated by research and can only be speculative at best. Still, if you notice any of the above symptoms, it would be best to test chromium levels with your medical professional. There are only a handful of crucial symptoms for those with a chromium deficiency: Craving sweets, Increased risk of depression, Decreased ability for your body to metabolize fats and glucose, Inhibition of protein production, Additional production of cholesterol and triglycerides. That last symptom is particularly bad because heightened cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood result in higher fat storage in the body as well as potential heart health issues.

Foods that Contain Chromium

Apparently, quantifying chromium amounts in food sources is tricky, based off of the fact that agricultural and livestock production quality is highly varied. With different soils, practices and pesticides, chromium levels are altered from one piece of food to the other, even if they're the same food. Nevertheless, there are certain foods that should normally have a decent amount of chromium: Lean Beef, Oysters, Eggs, Turkey, Cheese, Apples, Bananas, Prunes, Orange/ Grape Juice, Potatoes, Mushrooms, Garlic, Basil. Again, this list doesn't include portion amounts or chromium levels per serving because there isn't a heavily-researched, set level for these foods. You shouldn't worry about this, though; you'll be able to ingest plenty of chromium by picking a handful of these foods and consuming them as part of your daily diet.

Citations and Sources

1. Suksomboon N, Poolsup N, Yuwanakorn A. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy and safety of chromium supplementation in diabetes. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2014;39(3):292-306. [PubMed] 2. Anton S, Morrison C, Cefalu W, et al. Effects of chromium picolinate on food intake and satiety. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2008;10(5):405-412. [PubMed] 3. Goodland N. Some views on the Salmon structure. Nurs Mirror Midwives J. 1971;133(5):9-10. [PubMed] 4. Brownley K, Holle A, Hamer R, Via M, Bulik C. A Double-blind, Randomized Pilot Trial of Chromium Picolinate for Binge Eating Disorder: Results of the Binge Eating and Chromium (BEACh) Study. J Psychosom Res. 2013;75(1):36-42. [PMC]

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