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Chromium - properties, uses, supplementation, sources. Does it help you lose weight?

Chromium is a micro-element about which researchers debate whether it is really necessary for us!

Nina Wawryszuk - AuthorAuthorNina Wawryszuk
Nina Wawryszuk - Author
AuthorNina Wawryszuk
Natu.Care Editor

Nina Wawryszuk specialises in sports supplementation, strength training and psychosomatics. On a daily basis, in addition to writing articles for Natu.Care, as a personal trainer she helps athletes improve their performance through training, diet and supplementation.

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Chromium - properties, uses, supplementation, sources. Does it help you lose weight?
29 April, 2024
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Chromium is a micro-element that our bodies do not need much of. Interestingly, in some medical circles researchers are questioning whether this mineral is actually necessary for us!

Discussions among scientists about chromium are ongoing, but we know for sure that this element has several important functions in our body. From this article, you will learn, among other things, what the properties of chromium are, why it is difficult to identify products rich in this element and why you won't lose weight from chromium supplements.

The following are some of the most important facts about chromium.

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Description of contents:

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  1. Chromium - role in the body
  2. .
  3. Chromium for weight loss - does it work
  4. .
  5. Chromium - sources in the diet
  6. .
  7. Chromium deficiency - symptoms
  8. .
  9. Chromium excess - symptoms
  10. .
  11. Recommended doses of chromium
  12. .
  13. Chromium dietary supplements - product overview
  14. .
  15. Summary
  16. .

See also: 

Chromium - role in the body

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Chromium is a micro-element that occurs in your body in trace amountsand. We only have 0.4-6 mg of chromium in the body . The intestinal bioavailability of this element is only 2.5% .

Good chromium, bad chromium

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There are two basic forms of chromiumand:

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  • Trivalent - chromium (III) . A biologically active dietary ingredient that can be found in foods. It is not deposited in the body and is excreted mainly in the urine. 
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  • Secondary - chromium (VI)and. Considered a toxic substance and dangerous to humans. It is only used in industry and is not intended for food use.

Inhalation of chromium (VI) compounds irritates the respiratory tract and can cause pulmonary sensitisation . Increases the risk of lung, nasal and sinus cancer.

In this article, we will focus on chromium (III).

Properties of chromium

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It was not until the 1960s thatand scientists identified chromium as the next major player among minerals in the human body. Although some researchers are currently questioningand whether this mineral is actually necessary for us, it has certain functions in the body.

How does chromium affect our body?

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  • Participates in the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydratesand.
  • Promotes digestive enzyme activity and gene expression .
  • Improves immune and antioxidant capabilities .
  • May regulate blood cholesterol levels .
  • May increase tissue sensitivity to insulin in type II diabetes .
  • May lower blood sugar in type II diabetes .
  • May reduce the urge to snack and reduce feelings of hunger .

Chromium for weight loss - does it work?

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No, the use of chromium supplements does not lose weightand. If you come across a promise of a weight-loss effect of chromium somewhere - check what research the author is citing.

Based on current evidenceand, chromium is not effective in significant weight loss in overweight or obese individuals. It appears to be even less effective in people of normal weight, even when combined with exercise.

There are, however, studies that suggest that supplementation with 600 to 1,000 μg of chromium picolinate per day may help reduce feelings of hungerand, reduce snacking and binge eating in some peopleand. Remember, to lose weight, a diet and calorie deficit is key.

Chromium - sources in the diet

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This mineral is derived from the soil, so it is found in most vegetables, fruits, whole grain products, nuts, spices, beer yeast, beer and wine. However, the amount of chromium in these foods varies depending on local soil and water conditions, as well as production processesand
Aleksandra Cudna.

Aleksandra CudnaDietitian

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The amount of chromium in oatmeal can vary by as much as 50 timesand (!) depending on differences in cultivation and processing. For this reason, let the list of chromium-containing products below serve you as a guideline rather than a rigid determinant.

Dietary sources of chromiumand:

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  • full grain cereal products,
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  • yeast,
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  • oat flakes,
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  • cacao,
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  • grape juice,
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  • legumes,
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  • broccoli,
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  • bananas,
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  • apple,
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  • eggs,
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  • cholesterol cheeses,
  • fruits,
  • and eggs,.
  • poultry meat,
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  • beef liver,
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  • tomatoes,
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Chromium deficiency - symptoms

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No chromium deficiency is reported in healthy populationsand. Specific symptoms indicative of deficiency of this elementand have also not been established. 

Probably the best studied group of people for chromium deficiency are patients fed parenterallyand. In these individuals, chromium deficiency manifested as impaired glucose tolerance, weight loss, peripheral neuropathy and confusionand.

There are some at-risk groups at risk of deficiency, but these individuals may just as well be deficient in other vitamins and minerals.

Who is at risk of deficiency chromiumand?

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  • Athletes -due to regular exercise and possible increased chromium excretion 
  • Diabetics - possibly through altered chromium metabolism .
  • Pregnant women - especially if the woman has diabetes or gestational diabetes .
  • Older people - possibly due to increased urinary excretion of chromium .
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Experts recommend that potential deficiencies in vitamins and minerals should first be supplemented through a balanced and varied dietand. A nutritious menu prevents most deficiencies. If you decide to take a dietary supplement, consult your doctor.
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Aleksandra Cudna.

Aleksandra CudnaDietitian

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Chromium excess - symptoms

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An excess of vitamins and minerals in the body most often occurs as a result of taking too many dietary supplementsand.

Experts at the European Food Safety Authority have concluded that there is a lack of conclusive scientific evidence to support the negative health effects associated with high chromium intake . However, this does not mean that we can take it by the handful. The dose makes the poison.

Excessive chromium supplementation can lead to stomach problems and low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)and. Too much chromium in the body can also damage the liver, kidneys and nerves and cause irregular heart rhythms.

To avoid excess chromium in the body, be sure to take a reasonable and sensible dosage. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the leaflet and remember that more does not mean better.

For the sake of avoiding excess chromium, follow the manufacturer's recommendations on the leaflet.

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In nutrition standards for Poland the requirement for chromium has not been established. According to the recommendation of the National Centre for Nutrition Education the recommended average dose for an adult is 40 μg. The maximum daily amount of chromium in dietary supplements for adults is 200 µg in Poland. Chromium is a micronutrient, so we need it in small amounts compared to e.g. sodium, potassium, magnesium, which are macronutrients.
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Aleksandra Cudna.

Aleksandra CudnaDietitian

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Chromium dietary supplements - product overview

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When looking for the best chromium, pay attention to a few things:

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  • Form of absorption. Buy organic chromium (e.g. chromium picolinate) as it is much better absorbed than inorganicand.
  • Additional ingredients. Vitamin B3 and vitamin C  support the absorption of chromium in the body. 
  • Dose per tablet. Some manufacturers counter-intuitively do not offer maximum allowable doses, but much smaller ones. This means that you need to take several servings per day, instead of one.
  • Rationale. Cool down. Tempted by marketing slogans, think about whether you need this dietary supplement. Familiarise yourself with the proven and potential effects of chromium.
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  • Check interactions with other dietary supplements, solid medicines and herbal preparations taken at the same time. You can read about this below.
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Chromium is often sold in supplement form together with berberine. Take a look at the article on berberine  and find out if it helps with weight loss.

Chromium - interactions

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Want to start supplementing with chromium? Take caution if you are takingand:

  • levothyroxine (a drug used to treat thyroid disease),
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  • insulin,
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  • drugs used for the treatment of diabetes,
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  • aspirin,
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  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,
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Are you using these substances and not sure whether or how to take chromium? Ask your doctor about safe supplementation.

Summary

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The debate among researchers about chromium as an essential element for the body continues. As scientists exchange views and studies, chromium meanwhile deals with carbohydrate metabolism and digestive enzymes in your body. The biological process continues, regardless of the objections to the validity of taking this element.

See also: 

I just sat down to make oatmeal, it's even an exciting roulette! There's no telling where my oatmeal comes from or how much chromium it has! That's why it's so important to make sure our entire menu is varied and nutritious so we don't have to worry about that.

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From this article, remember:

  • Chromium is a trace element, and is found in small amounts in nature. 
  • There is only 0.4-6 mg of chromium in your body, and the bioavailability of this element in the intestines is only 2.5%.
  • The best absorption of chromium is in the intestines.
  • The best absorbed form is organic chromium - chromium picolinate.
  • .
  • Chromium has no weight-loss properties and supplementation alone does not cause weight loss.
  • The amount of chromium in the intestines is not as high as in the intestines.
  • The amount of chromium in food can vary considerably and depends on local soil and water conditions, as well as production processes.
  • Chromium deficiency and excess are rare, and there are no official dosage recommendations.
  • .

FAQ

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. How does chromium work for weight loss?.

Chromium is not effective in weight loss in people who are overweight or obese according to current scientific evidence. It appears to be even less effective in people of normal weight. There are, however, studies There are, however, studies that suggest that supplementation with 600-1000 μg of chromium picolinate per day may help to reduce feelings of hunger, reducing snacking and overeating (so-called binge eating) in some people.

. What time to take chromium?.

Chromium can be taken at any time of the day, but is best taken after a meal, which may increase its absorption into the body. Chromium's bioavailability is also favoured by the presence of vitamin C (e.g. in vegetables and fruit) and vitamin B3 (e.g. in wheat bran, chicken breast).

. What not to combine chromium with.

Chromium should not be combined with magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, vanadium, phytates, as these compounds negatively affect the absorption of each other and you will not supply them to your body at the same time. Safely maintain a 4 hour interval between chromium and these compounds.

. Who should take chromium?.

Chromium may be helpful as an adjunct to the treatment of obesity, diabetes, abnormal lipidogram results. Chromium is safe for supplementation, but like any dietary ingredient it has contraindications for use, so consult your doctor before taking it.

. Does chromium help diabetes?.

Scientific studies suggest that chromium may increase tissue sensitivity to insulin in diabetes and lower blood sugar levels in type II diabetes. Remember that chromium should only be taken as an aid and adjunct to the treatment of these conditions.

. Which products are high in chromium?.

Most chromium is contained in whole grain cereals, yeast, oatmeal, cocoa,

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grape juice, legumes, broccoli, bananas, tomatoes, apples, eggs, yellow cheese. Poultry meat and beef liver are also good sources of chromium.

The following are good sources of chromium.

. Does chromium reduce cravings for sweets?.

Yes, chromium can reduce cravings for sweets. Research suggests that supplementation with 600 to 1,000 μg of chromium picolinate per day may help to reduce feelings of hunger, reduce snacking and overeating (known as binge eating).

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Sources

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Anderson, R. A., Bryden, N. A., & Polansky, M. M. (1992). Dietary chromium intake. Biological Trace Element Research, 32(1), 117-121. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02784595

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Brown, R. O., Forloines-Lynn, S., Cross, R. E., & Heizer, W. D. (1986). Chromium deficiency after long-term total parenteral nutrition. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 31(6), 661-664. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01318699

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Chan, Q., Wang, F., Han, Y., Ren, T., Shi, L., Ren, X., Zeng, F., Li, M., & Chen, W. (2022). An investigation on dietary chromium picolinate supplementation in the juvenile sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus: Growth, digestive enzyme activity, growth-related gene expression, immune and antioxidant capacity. Aquaculture Reports, 24, 101099. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aqrep.2022.101099

Di Bona, K. R., Love, S., Rhodes, N. R., McAdory, D., Sinha, S. H., Kern, N., Kent, J., Strickland, J., Wilson, A., Beaird, J., Ramage, J., Rasco, J. F., & Vincent, J. B. (2011). Chromium is not an essential trace element for mammals: Effects of a 'low-chromium' diet. JBIC Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, 16(3), 381-390. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00775-010-0734-y

DiSilvestro, R. A., & Dy, E. (2007). Comparison of acute absorption of commercially available chromium supplements. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 21(2), 120-124. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtemb.2007.01.004

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Dubois, F., & Belleville, F. (1991). [Chromium: Physiologic role and implications in human pathology]. Pathologie-Biologie, 39(8), 801-808.

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Jarosz, Prof. Dr. n med M. (2020, December 3). Nutrition Standards 2020. National Center for Nutrition Education. https://ncez.pzh.gov.pl/abc-zywienia/normy-zywienia-2020/

Jeejeebhoy, K., Chu, R., Marliss, E., Greenberg, G., & Bruce-Robertson, A. (1977). Chromium deficiency, glucose intolerance, and neuropathy reversed by chromium supplementation, in a patient receiving long-term total parenteral nutrition. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 30(4), 531-538. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/30.4.531

Offenbacher, E. G. (1992). Chromium in the elderly. Biological Trace Element Research, 32(1), 123-131. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02784596

Office of Dietary Supplements-Chromium. (n.d.). Retrieved 17 March 2023, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Chromium-HealthProfessional/

Read "Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc" at NAP.edu. (b.d.). https://doi.org/10.17226/10026

Thor, M. Y., Harnack, L., King, D., Jasthi, B., & Pettit, J. (2011). Evaluation of the comprehensiveness and reliability of the chromium composition of foods in the literature. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 24(8), 1147-1152. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfca.2011.04.006

Vincent, J. B., & Lukaski, H. C. (2018). Chromium. Advances in Nutrition, 9(4), 505-506. https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmx021

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Nina Wawryszuk - Author

Natu.Care Editor

Nina Wawryszuk specialises in sports supplementation, strength training and psychosomatics. On a daily basis, in addition to writing articles for Natu.Care, as a personal trainer she helps athletes improve their performance through training, diet and supplementation.

Alexandra Cudna-Bartnicka - Reviewed by

Clinical nutritionist

Verified by an expert

Clinical nutritionist whose main area of interest is nutrition in diseases and functional disorders of the digestive system.

Michael Tomaszewski - Edited by

Editor

Michael Tomaszewski

Graduate of Journalism and Artes Liberales at the University of Warsaw. Since 2017, he has been working with the biggest portals in Poland and abroad as an editor. Previously worked for 3 years in one of the leading pharmaceutical companies - he knows the health and beauty industry inside out. In his free time, he most enjoys playing tennis or skiing.

Agata Jach - Fact-checking

Fact-checker

Agata Jach

Agata Jach is in charge of verifying quoted sources and checking that published content is truthful.

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