What it does… chromium
What is it?
Chromium is a trace element or mineral, which we need in tiny amounts. Its main role is regulating blood glucose (sugar) levels by enhancing the action of the hormone insulin. It’s also important for the metabolism of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and fats.
What does it do?
Reduces insulin resistance: Also known as impaired glucose tolerance, 200mg a day of chromium can help lower the spike in after-meal blood glucose levels, according to a US study.
Improves type 2 diabetes: A review of clinical studies involving 1690 people showed that chromium picolinate significantly helped control this condition and reduce the amount of medication needed.
Reduces risk of depression: A small American study showed an eight-week, high dose (600mg) course helped improve mood in 70 per cent of cases.
Banish sugar cravings: Some trials have shown a reduced craving for carbs, particularly sugary treats, with 600mg daily dose of chromium picolinate.
When do I need it?
If you have an expanding waistline: along with the addition of visceral fat to your body, seeing your middle get bigger could indicate insulin resistance that can then take up to 10 years to develop into full type 2 diabetes. This is also often accompanied by craving for sugary carbs.
How do I get it?
Eat: Rich sources include Brewer’s yeast, wholegrains, lean meat, pulses and oysters. However, as there is no recommended intake, a supplement ensures adequate levels.
Take: Either chromium or chromium picolinate capsules (200mg daily). Chronium is best absorbed with vitamin C-rich foods or drinks, while tea and coffee hinder absorption.
Be careful if…
You have insulin resistance or diabetes, as chromium can affect diabetes medication. In this case, consult your doctor before taking any supplements.