Chromium is an essential nutrient involved in normal carbohydrate and fat metabolism. It also helps regulate blood sugar, which can improve the glucose/insulin system in people with hypoglycemia, diabetes and other blood sugar disorders.
At the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland, researchers tested chromium supplementation on patients with type 2 diabetes. They tested 180 men and women who were given either a placebo, 200 mcg chromium or 1,000 mcg chromium daily for four months. At two months, researchers noted a significant improvement in symptoms in the group taking the larger chromium dose. By four months, both chromium groups had decreased fasting glucose levels and insulin values. Overall, the researchers determined that chromium had a significant effect on glucose, insulin and cholesterol levels for people with type 2 diabetes.
In a similar study reported by the Nutrient Requirement and Functions Laboratory in Maryland, 60 people with blood sugar disorders were given chromium for four months. As with the other study, the group getting 1,000 mcg chromium daily reported significant improvements in their glucose/insulin system.
Chromium is available from whole grains, chicken breast, refried beans, wheat germ, mushroom, green peas and apples (with skin). However, some estimate that up to 90% of people are chromium-deficient, particularly those with blood sugar disorders, as their chromium requirements are higher. To ensure adequate chromium levels, consider a chromium supplement.
Sources: J Am Coll Nutr 1997 Oct;16(5):404-10; Diabetes 1997 Nov;46(11):1786-91; Leslie Beck’s Nutrition Encyclopedia by L Beck, Prentice Hall:2001