Chromium (Cr) is an important trace element necessary for proper protein, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, as well as to increase insulin susceptibility.
Until 1977, scientists did not recognize chromium as a vital nutrient. And only as a result of the experiment it was possible to establish that patients deprived of Cr suffer from impaired glucose metabolism.
Cr is a metal element that a person needs in small quantities. Once in the body, it affects metabolic processes, regulates blood sugar and enhances the function of insulin. In addition, it is involved in the metabolism of lipids, carbohydrates and proteins. In pharmacology, it is presented in the form of dietary supplements.
Chromium is one of the microelements that make up almost all organs and tissues of the body. The highest concentration of the element is in bone tissue, nails and hair, so a lack of Cr primarily affects their quality. All adult cells contain approximately 6 mg of this nutrient. Cr is excreted from the body with urine, feces and exhaled air. Zinc and iron enhance the effect of Cr, and an excess of calcium leads to its deficiency.
Different schools of biochemists determine the uneven daily rate of Cr. But most often, scientists call 0.2-0.25 mg of the substance per day as a safe dose of chromium for an adult. No more than 25-35 micrograms of microelement per day is recommended for people with a sedentary lifestyle. Athletes, on the contrary, should increase the dose to about 200 mcg daily.
It is important to say that Cr enters the human body not only with food, but also through the air. In addition, no more than 1 percent of the pure substance is absorbed from food. Almost 30% of an element is absorbed if its source is organic compounds, which contain this trace element. With age, the body's ability to absorb chromium weakens.
The substance obtained from the air is also not completely absorbed - no more than 25 percent, the rest is excreted during exhalation. Meanwhile, a long stay in rooms with a high concentration of chromium (at work) can cause respiratory dysfunction.
Chromium deficiency is a rare occurrence. Become a victim of a lack of Cr more prone to people whose diet is rich in refined foods. Also at risk are people with obesity, diabetes or atherosclerosis. Frequent stresses, hard physical work, and protein deficiency can trigger a decrease in chromium levels.
A lack of substance is fraught with metabolic disorders in the body, as well as the development of resistance to insulin.
Some sources suggest that chronic Cr deficiency can cause diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome, as well as cause reproductive dysfunction in men. Even a relatively small micronutrient deficiency affects jumps in blood glucose, causes anxiety, a feeling of fatigue. Disturbed cholesterol metabolism caused by insufficient consumption of chromium contributes to the development of atherosclerosis, growth retardation in children, long healing of wounds after injuries and surgeries.
A deficiency in the body of Cr can also occur:
- numbness of the limbs;
- hair loss;
- impaired coordination;
To understand that the body lacks chromium is possible by a strong desire for sweets, a constant feeling of hunger, profuse sweating and often repeated dizziness.
Cr takes pride of place among dietary supplements that contribute to muscle building.
Therefore, this substance has been popular among bodybuilders and those who want to lose weight for several years. Also, preparations containing Cr increase stamina and increase strength.
But taking dietary supplements, it is important not to neglect the advice about dosages, since an excess of the substance causes dizziness, hives, headaches.
Some scientists claim that chromium can affect glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. But these claims to date have not been supported by wide medical circles. Meanwhile, the tests are ongoing. It is also believed that chromium compounds have a beneficial effect on the general condition of people with Alzheimer's disease and amnesia. In addition, they strengthen the immune system and protect against the negative effects of infections. There is evidence that Cr helps raise the level of "good" cholesterol, and also prevents the development of cardiovascular disease.
The list of the main advantages of chromium includes abilities:
- control blood sugar;
- affect metabolism;
- reduce appetite;
- control cholesterol;
- prevent hypertension;
- normalize the permeability of membranes in cells;
- beneficial effect on the functioning of the thyroid gland;
- remove toxins, salts of heavy metals, radionuclides;
- strengthen bone tissue, hair and nails;
- prevent the development of cataracts (in combination with zinc).
High Chromium Products
One of the best sources of chromium is considered broccoli, liver, grape juice and brewer's yeast.
Significantly replenish micronutrient reserves can be from potatoes, whole grains, seafood and meat. Some fruits, vegetables and spices can also provide chromium. Lettuce, raw onions and ripe tomatoes will also provide the daily rate of the substance. But in most dairy products this micronutrient is extremely small.
|Product Name (100g)||Chromium (mcg)|
|Anchovy, crucian carp, pollock, flounder, salmon, pink salmon, saffron cod, catfish, mackerel, cod, catfish, herring, capelin, shrimp||55|
|Beef kidney, heart||30|
|Beef tongue, beets, chicken breast||20|
|Peach, quail eggs||14|
|Pearl barley, champignons||13|
|Turkey, radish, lentils, radish||11|
|Beef, Beans, Potatoes||10|
|Lamb, chicken liver, peas||9|
Dangers of overdose
Chromium, like other trace elements and minerals, is not able to cause toxic poisoning if its source is exclusively natural food. But with the use of dietary supplements, one must be careful.
It is believed that 5 mg of tetravalent chromium or 200 mg of trivalent chromium (found in food) cause intoxication, and 3 grams of the substance can even cause death.
Overdoses of chromium give rise to:
- skin lesions;
- violation of the kidneys, liver and nervous system.
Chronic chromium poisoning is accompanied by:
- regular headaches;
- sharp weight loss for no apparent reason;
- inflammation of the mucous membranes of the digestive tract;
- eczema and dermatitis;
- the formation of pustules.
Residents of industrial cities (where harmful production is conducted) are at risk of chromium poisoning. An excess of this trace element in the air can trigger the development of lung cancer and asthma.
It is also important to know that chromium interferes with the absorption of certain medications for the treatment of the thyroid gland. For maximum benefit, a 4-hour break should be taken between doses of both drugs.
As for diabetics, they should use dietary supplements with chromium content only under the supervision of the attending physician. In addition, antacids, H2 blockers, inhibitors, and corticosteroids can affect the absorption of chromium. It is undesirable to combine chromium with ascorbic acid, niacin, beta-blockers, insulin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, inhibitors (aspirin, ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen). But in this case, of course, we are talking about chromium in the form of dietary supplements, and not as part of food products.
For decades, scholars have debated the benefits and harms of chromium for humanity. But in recent years, they talked about this microelement with increased interest and respect, calling it a "longevity factor." The fact is that after studying the positive properties of this nutrient, biochemists agreed: regular use of chromium allows you to maintain brain function, immunity and muscle tone even in old age. Does this mean that a substance called chromium is able to prolong life, providing energy and clarity of mind in old age? If so, then this means that Cr is indeed an anti-aging element.