Low Chromium Levels: 8 Signs you’ve Lost your Shine

8 Signs Of Low Chromium Levels | Menopause Woman

Low chromium levels: 8 signs you’ve lost your shine

Chromium is a tough metal that’s best known for its lustrous shine. But did you know that it could have the same effect on your health? When your chromium levels go out of tune, your natural spark will dim and you might not even know why.

In medical terms, chromium is an essential mineral that plays a role in a whole host of your everyday functions. It’s not produced in the body, instead we rely on diet and supplements to get our levels just right. Chromium is stored in rocks and soil, and permeates through into foods such as yeast, potatoes and meats – it’s even in our water supply.

So, what does this wonder-metal do for my body?

Well, the short answer is that it has a bearing on all of the following body functions:

  • Blood sugar and diabetes control (burns calories, decreases sugar cravings and helps control blood sugar levels) (1)
  • Bone health (helps calcium retention, reduces bone loss and prevents osteoporosis, helps produce DHEA, a steroid hormone) (2)
  • Weight management (aids fat loss, stimulates muscle development, increases physical endurance)
  • Immune system health (3) (boosts DHEA which protects against disease (4), increases antibodies and lowers excess cortisol which is a stress hormone)

One of chromium’s most important roles is in enabling the effective metabolisation of fats. While most research indicates a link between optimal chromium intake and healthy arteries, some studies have even identified that people who died from heart disease had reduced chromium levels at the time of death.    

Chromium is crucial for the signalling pathways that determine our body’s ability to control sugar intake. This balances blood/glucose levels and keeps energy levels stable, helping you to be your normal vibrant self.

8 warning signs that you’re chromium deficient

Finding out that you’re deficient can be a tricky task, with many of the warning signs typically being put down to age or stress. These are the eight warning signs that you shouldn’t ignore:

  • Elevated  blood sugar and possibly hyperglycemia, or impaired glucose tolerance
  • Low blood sugar, and possibly hypoglycemia
  • Bone weakening
  • Low energy/fatigue
  • Low concentration/ poor memory (5)
  • Poor skin and/or eye health
  • Mood changes and increased anxiety
  • Changes in appetite or weight (6)
  • Increased injury healing time (e.g. wounds or post-surgery) (7)

What are the long-term effects of chromium deficiency?

Diabetes

It could increase your chances of becoming glucose-intolerant which may result in you either developing or becoming diabetic.

Weight gain

It could result in weight gain as you’d be unable to manage and metabolise blood sugars efficiently. It also plays a role in hunger and carbohydrate cravings that is not yet fully understood.

Cognitive health

It could leave you feeling permanently fatigued and unable to focus properly.

Skin and eye health

Chromium deficiency is likely to result in the onset of skin conditions such as acne (8). If the deficiency leads to the onset of diabetes, your chances of getting glaucoma would also increase.

Bone health

Chromium helps your body to retain calcium, preventing osteoporosis. A deficiency could make bones brittle, and is most prevalent amongst menopausal or postmenopausal women. If you are supplementing with calcium, please remember that magnesium and vitamin D are also needed to assist calcium absorption into your bones.

How to restore and maintain chromium levels naturally

Recommended chromium levels vary depending on your age, gender, weight, fitness and general health. If undertaking a course of restorative medicine, practitioners generally recommend a dosage between 50 and 200 micrograms daily, although a higher dosage can be used to treat a specific illness.

Here’s a breakdown of recommended chromium levels for demographics to get you started:

Teenagers (14 – 18 years) 35 micrograms (boys), 24 micrograms (girls)
Adults (19 – 50 years) 35 micrograms (boys), 25 micrograms (girls)
Pregnant/breastfeeding women 30 micrograms

 

8 warning signs that you’re chromium deficient

8 warning signs that you’re chromium deficient

There are two main ways to ensure that your levels remain balanced for optimal health; diet and supplements. Many everyday foods contain chromium, so don’t go throwing out all your recipe books just yet. Here’s some of the top performers:

Broccoli Pork chops (organic)
Grapes Calf’s liver (organic)
Potatoes Oysters, lobster tail
Garlic Scallops, shrimp
Basil Green pepper
Grass-fed Beef Pork chops (organic)
Oranges Fresh chilli
Turkey Carrots
Green Beans Eggs
Red Wine, Beer Spinach, cabbage
Apples Parsnips
Bananas Blueberries

Up to 90% of the chromium content found in food is lost in food processing, so foods should be eaten unprocessed and, most likely, together with chromium supplementation. Also, the soil we grow our food in today is generally depleted of many important minerals, including selenium, zinc, magnesium, iron, and silicon (silica) so try to buy organic or from your local farm.

Supplements are another great way to enhance your chromium levels. However, the body struggles to absorb chromium by itself, so nutritional experts recommend taking a product which combines it with protein picolinate, to enable better entry into the  bloodstream. Picolinate also increases the absorption of zinc, copper and iron.

Finding an optimal balance of chromium levels can do so much to improve your health. Whether you’ve become chromium deficient through heavy exercise, antacid use, a high carbohydrate diet or overdosing on refined sugar, or just through depletion in the ageing process, simply stick to these dietary and nutritional pointers, and you can rediscover the real you!   

References:

  1. Sharma S, Agrawal RP, Choudhary M, Jain S, Goyal S, Agarwal V. Beneficial effect of chromium supplementation on glucose, HbA1C and lipid variables in individuals with newly onset type-2 diabetes. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2011 Jul;25(3):149-53.
    Kleefstra N, Bilo HJ, Bakker SJ, Houweling ST. [Chromium and insulin resistance]. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2004 Jan 31;148(5):217-20.
    Lamson DW, Plaza SM. The safety and efficacy of high-dose chromium.
    Altern Med Rev. 2002 Jun;7(3):218-35.
  2. McCarty MFAnabolic effects of insulin on bone suggest a role for chromium picolinate in preservation of bone density. Med Hypotheses. 1995 Sep;45(3):241-6.
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/037784019502016S
  4. Shrivastava R, Upreti RK, Seth PK, Chaturvedi UC.Effects of chromium on the immune system. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2002 Sep 6;34(1):1-7.
  5. Krikorian R, Eliassen JC, Boespflug EL, Nash TA, Shidler MD.Improved cognitive-cerebral function in older adults with chromium supplementation. Nutr Neurosci. 2010 Jun;13(3):116-22.
  6. Martin J, Wang ZQ, Zhang XH, Wachtel D, Volaufova J, Matthews DE, Cefalu WT.Chromium picolinate supplementation attenuates body weight gain and increases insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2006 Aug;29(8):1826-32.
  7. Jin Y, Liu L, Zhang S, Tao B, Tao R, He X, Qu L, Huang J, Wang X, Fu Z.
    Chromium alters lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory responses both in vivo and in vitro. Chemosphere. 2016 Apr;148:436-43.
  8. Jamilian M, Bahmani F, Siavashani MA3, Mazloomi M, Asemi Z, Esmaillzadeh A.The Effects of Chromium Supplementation on Endocrine Profiles, Biomarkers of Inflammation, and Oxidative Stress in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2016 Jul;172(1):72-8.