Chromium is a metal that’s known as an “essential trace element” because very small amounts of chromium are necessary for human health. Your body needs it to regulate blood-sugar levels. Chromium was discovered in France in the 1790s, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that it was recognized as an important trace element.
“Specifically, chromium is the main component of glucose tolerance factor, or GTF, which helps your body to utilize insulin better by enabling insulin to extract glucose from your blood and deliver it into the cells for use as energy,” according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. As a weight-loss supplement, chromium picolinate can help build muscle and burn fat, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In addition, chromium may also help to treat high cholesterol and high triglycerides, according to the University of Michigan Health System.
Most of the research that has been conducted uses 50-200 mcg per day.“You can get chromium from your diet, specifically from eating lean and processed meats, cheeses, brewer’s yeast, organ meats like pork kidney, whole grains, certain spices and molasses,” according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Other foods with the highest amounts of chromium are: broccoli, grape juice, whole-wheat products, potatoes, garlic and red wine.
To promote weight loss, take 200 mcg of the mineral in the form of chromium picolinate, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Also, it’s important to note that dosages of chromium up to 1,000 mcg may be unsafe. Taking excessive amounts of chromium could potentially cause damage to your liver, kidneys and bone marrow. And as always, it is important to ask your doctor before using it.
• Helps prevent obesity
• Controls hunger
• Might have the potential to help treat depression and improve athletic performance, according to the University of Michigan Health System.
• Chromium has been suggested for treating hypoglycemia, insulin resistance syndrome, acne, migraines or psoriasis as well, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
• Used to treat polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
• Researchers reasoned that chromium supplements might lower risk of a heart attack.
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: Chromium
University of Michigan Health System: Chromium
University of Maryland Medical Center: Chromium