Optimizing Your Chromium Levels May Help Regulate Blood Sugar from Mercola
The body requires a wide variety of minerals to function properly, either by triggering certain processes to start or by supporting organ systems. One of these minerals is chromium, an essential trace element needed by the body in relatively minute amounts. It is especially useful in balancing out blood sugar by regulating insulin production. Chromium may also positively affect heart health and depression, although more studies are needed to affirm these benefits.1,2
There’s no question that chromium is important in the maintenance of human health, but when is supplementation necessary? This article will tackle how essential chromium is, how a deficiency may affect your health, and how you can maintain healthy levels of this mineral at all times.
If this is the first time that you’ve heard about chromium supplements, no one can blame you. One of the possible reasons why chromium is not held in the same league as iron, calcium and other essential minerals is because it’s a trace element that’s hard to become deficient in.
However, it’s now gaining traction in the medical world as numerous studies are showing the importance of chromium in heart health, blood pressure and blood glucose levels. There are approximately 4 to 6 milligrams of chromium stores in your body, which can be found in the kidneys, liver, muscles, spleen, heart and bones.
The body’s ability to store and absorb this mineral often decreases with age, making the elderly especially susceptible to deficiency. Master athletes may also be at high risk, as increased exercise or physical activity triggers the mobilization of chromium into the blood, which is then excreted through the urinary tract.3
To deal with deficiency, most people take chromium supplements, which are now widely available in the market. Two of the most popular forms of chromium supplements are chromium picolinate and chromium polynicotinate. The difference between the two lies mainly in the type of acid the chromium is bound to.
Chromium picolinate, the synthetic type of chromium, is bound to picolinic acid, while chromium polynicotinate is bound to either niacin or nicotinic acid.4 Today, chromium polynicotinate is seen as a much more favorable product, as chromium picolinate has been linked to numerous health issues, including DNA damage with long-term use.5
But while chromium supplements are easy to acquire, this does not mean that you can self-prescribe if you suspect you have a chromium deficiency. This may open you up to numerous side effects and complications, especially if you’re taking certain medications.