Not just weight loss: Chromium also lowers heart attack risk

Chromium is a trace element that helps balance blood sugar and may aid in weight loss. New research suggests that chromium deficiency is linked to a higher risk of heart attacks, and that the mineral may aid in healthy cholesterol levels.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University conducted a study across eight European countries and Israel with 684 men (who had recently had their first heart attack) and 724 men in good health. Using toenail chromium concentrations as the measure, researchers found low chromium levels were more prevalent in the heart attack group than in the others. Men with the highest levels of chromium were 35% less likely to have a heart attack than those with the lowest levels.

A study by Saudi Arabian researchers from King Abdulaziz University also confirmed that chromium significantly benefits glucose tolerance and cholesterol levels. This study had 44 healthy adults take either a chromium supplement or a placebo for eight weeks. The results proved positive; after treatment, chromium had helped raise the levels of the good type of cholesterol (HDL) and lower triglyceride levels. In addition, chromium had improved glucose metabolism.

Sources: Am J Epidemiol. 2005 Jul 15;162(2):157-64. Epub 2005 Jun 22.
Saudi Med J. 2000 Jan;21(1):45-50