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Essential Trace Minerals
Chromium Supplements Maintain Proper Balance

There are two kinds of minerals: macrominerals and trace minerals. The macromineral group is made up of magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, calcium and sulfur and our body needs a large amount of these minerals.

Trace minerals, on the other hand, are the ones that are needed in just a tiny amount, that is, we need just a trace of them in our body. Nevertheless, they are absolutely essential for our body to function in a healthy manner. These trace minerals include chromium, selenium, manganese, zinc, iodine, iron, cobalt, and copper. Scientists still do not know exactly how much of these trace minerals are required for our body to function properly.

Chromium is a trace mineral that is essential for the body's ability to break down carbohydrates, fat, protein and sugar. A chromium deficiency is rare, as the mineral is easily accessible to those who maintain a healthy diet. Chromium is widely available in small quantities in our daily food supply. Some foods that are rich in chromium include fish, poultry, broccoli, carrots, whole-grain, fruits, vegetables, and spices. In contrast, foods high in simple sugars (like sucrose and fructose) are low in chromium. Deficiencies can occur for people who only consume foods that are processed and depleted of nutrients. Also, dietary intakes of chromium cannot be reliably determined because the content of the mineral in foods is substantially affected by agricultural and manufacturing processes.

According to National Institute of Health, adult women in the United States consume about 23 to 29 mcg of chromium per day from food, which meets their adequate intakes unless they're pregnant or lactating. In contrast, adult men average 39 to 54 mcg per day, which exceeds their adequate intakes.

The average amount of chromium in the breast milk of healthy, well-nourished mothers is 0.24 mcg per quart, so infants exclusively fed breast milk obtain about 0.2 mcg (based on an estimated consumption of 0.82 quarts per day). Infant formula provides about 0.5 mcg of chromium per quart. No studies have compared how well infants absorb and utilize chromium from human milk and formula.

Chromium concentration significantly decreases in hair, sweat and blood in our body in old age which might suggest that older people are more vulnerable to chromium depletion than younger adults.

Chromium supplements or multivitamins that include chromium may be helpful in maintaining a proper balance. There have been numerous clinical trials for chromium and its several forms to test its effects on the body. Some studies have indicated that chromium may lower cholesterol levels. Other studies have been done to research the relationship between chromium and insulin.

There is clinical evidence that the molecule called glucose tolerance factor (GTF) contains chromium. Some research indicates that GTF plays a crucial role in the cell's sensitivity to insulin. These studies suggest that chromium may help to normalize blood sugar levels. Chromium supplements may help to prevent dropping blood sugar levels for people without diabetes.

Vitamin C assists in the absorption of chromium. Taking excessive amounts of the supplement may impair zinc absorption. Diabetes patients should consult with their doctors before taking chromium supplements to ensure their insulin requirements are not altered.