Having problems with your blood sugar? Then you may be chromium deficient. Chromium is an essential trace element that plays a role in blood sugar metabolism by enhancing insulin’s effects and assisting in the thousands of necessary chemical reactions that occur in your body. Some studies have also suggested that it may help you gain muscle and lose fat.
Chromium is naturally found in small amounts in foods like broccoli, romaine lettuce and meat. One of the strongest sources of chromium is whole grains; however, after grains are processed into foods like white bread or white rice, the majority of the chromium is lost.
How Does It Work?
It’s unclear how it works exactly to lower blood sugar; however, some experts believe it works on insulin receptors, enhancing its effects on the body and lowering blood sugar levels. Some studies suggest that it can also increase the number of insulin receptors in the body, making it more effective at lowering blood sugar.
Is It Effective?
Studies have found that supplemental chromium can improve the signs and symptoms of diabetes and help insulin resistance.
With regard to fat loss, another study on 20 overweight women found that taking chromium polynicotinate contributed to more fat loss with less muscle loss. The experimental group lost 84% body fat and 16% muscle, while the control group lost 92% muscle and only 8% fat.
Is Chromium Polynicotinate Safe?
First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that there are two main types of chromium. This article refers to trivalent chromium (chromium 3). However, an alternate version of chromium hexavalent chromium (chromium 6) is a known toxin, which should be avoided at all costs. Constant exposure to hexavalent chromium is linked to skin problems and lung cancer. However, hexavalent chromium isn’t typically found in the food supply. It’s mainly found in industrial chemicals and chrome plating.
Trivalent chromium, however, is well tolerated with very few side effects. The most common complaints include stomach discomfort, nausea or vomiting. Very rarely one can experience skin rashes, insomnia, headaches or mood changes.
How Much Chromium Polynicotinate Should I Take?
Speak to your doctor. If you decide to take chromium, 200 mcg daily is the recommended dose. Take it before or after a meal and don’t take it with a multivitamin or other medications because this could interfere with chromium absorption. Those with diabetes who are already on medication may need a smaller dose in order to prevent dangerously low blood sugar.
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