Chromium is an essential trace mineral commonly deficient in American diets. It has been reported that 90% of Americans have a diet that contains less than the recommended dietary allowance for chromium. Even though the concentration of chromium in healthy individuals is just a few milligrams, this small amount plays important roles in enhancing the effectiveness of insulin, regulating blood sugar levels and activating various enzymes for energy production.
Chromium is biologically active only when it forms complexes with organic compounds. One such complex is glucose tolerance factor (GTF). In addition to potential in the effect of insulin, GTF Seems to lower elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Deficiencies of chromium are some of the most common in the United States. The main cause is low dietary intake. High sugar consumption is also a major contributing cause of chromium deficiency because sugar leads to increased urinary excretion of chromium thereby accelerating deficiency. AN ASIDE: IS SUGAR GOOD FOR ANYTHING??? One of the main indications of chromium deficiency is type 2 diabetes.
In addition low chromium levels are associated with cardiovascular disease. Some studies suggest that chromium may be helpful in actually preventing TYPE 2 DIABETES. Side effects and toxicity from taking supplemental chromium are virtually non-existent. Food sources include whole grains, lean meats, cheese, black pepper and thyme.