The chemical element Chromium, represented by the symbol Cr and with an atomic number of 24, is one of the most important trace elements in food.
• The element plays a significant role in enhancing the function of the enzyme insulin and has a part to play in the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
• The mineral also helps people to lose weight and control blood sugar.
Although the mechanism of its action still remains largely unknown, researches are currently under way to determine the same.
How does Chromium help the body?
The fact that chromium is significant for various biological processes was discovered back in the late 1950’s. A compound known as ‘Glucose Tolerance Factor’ (GTF) was identified for its role in improving the functions of insulin in carbohydrate metabolism in the body. But then again, this inference needs more logical and scientific findings to be of universal acceptance.
Role in controlling acute diabetes
Although insulin is produced in enough quantities in type 2 diabetes, the tissues and the muscle cells become immune to the functions of insulin, thus resulting in a poor control mechanism for blood sugar. However, recent studies have found out the body’s response to the actions of insulin becomes better and much more pronounced through the intake of chromium supplements. Notwithstanding, the exact process through which this happens is unknown to scientists.
Role in reducing weight
Some of the scientific experiments have found out a definite connection between the intake of chromium and weight loss. Subject to the fact that chromium helps in the metabolism of carbohydrates and glucose, it leads to a loss in weight and improvement of the body muscles. However, additional experiments are required to confirm this hypothesis.
There is still a shortage of information on how essential chromium is. However, studies have found out that a daily consumption of 30-100 µg should be enough for both adults and adolescents. Although, it would be highly unusual to consume an excessive amount of chromium from a regular diet, there are times when it causes negative impacts on the DNA structure. Some of the medicines have the potential to interact with chromium when supplements are consumed. Hence, doctors should be consulted beforehand.
Sources of chromium
Generally, broccoli, grape juice, English muffin, potatoes and garlic contain good quantities of chromium.