We have now moved on from vitamins and are talking about minerals. Minerals are inorganic substances that are found in rocks and mineral ore. Obviously our bodies cannot produce inorganic substances so it is through diet and supplements that we acquire these important nutrients. Minerals are important partners to vitamins supporting all the vital functions of our bodies.
Chromium is an important mineral with a specific function. This special mineral is very relevant today because it helps us balance our blood sugar levels. This means it has the ability to help us correct dietary issues. Too many of us still eat lots of refined foods and sugars chromium helps us to make positive changes.
The supply of chromium is low in our diets so we need to be sure we get enough to support our health.
The EFSA support Chromium identifying that it:
- contributes to the maintenance of normal blood glucose concentrations
- contributes to the maintenance of normal body weight
- contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
Best Food Sources
Wholegrains, eggs, meat, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, pulses, nuts and seeds.
It should be noted that like all minerals the level of chromium available in your food will depend on the quality of the soil the plants are grown in or that the animals eat. Please see the last paragraph on why we need supplements.
Who needs Chromium?
There are a number of groups of people that will benefit from additional chromium:
- Elderly people often have absorption issues as they get older so they need chromium added to their diets
- Women can be deficient in chromium after giving birth
- Those who eat high levels of refined foods do not get chromium through their diet
- High carbohydrate diets deplete our bodies chromium supply quickly this can lead to hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, obesity and diabetes
- Anyone who is taking diabetic medication should work in conjunction with their doctor if they want to try using chromium. You need to monitor your blood glucose levels carefully and regularly
- Stress depletes chromium often leading to sugar cravings and so a vicious cycle begins. See our blog on Giving up Sugar for more advice!
- Dieters through restrictive food intake can become deplete in chromium
- Athletes through the intensity of exercise often deplete themselves of many vital nutrients including chromium
- If you suffer involuntary weight loss then you could be chromium deficient
How can I get enough Chromium?
Our bodies do not produce minerals so it is all through food intake. A diet in highly refined foods especially sugar will deplete the small amount of chromium that is available even quicker.
If you eat an organic diet full of a variety of fresh vegetables and some fruit alongside pulses, nuts, seeds, fish and organic meat you are ahead of the curve.
Types of Chromium
Most chromium supplements are picolinate. The substance picolinate is an effective carrier of many different nutrients and makes it more accessible to the body.
Chromium GTF includes the active component of Glucose Tolerance Factor. This is important for carbohydrate metabolism and maintaining blood glucose levels.
Partners of Chromium
When I was giving up sugar I found that products including cinnamon in my diet really supported me far more than just Chromium alone. You could sprinkle cinnamon on your cereals, porridge or desserts. I use it in my cappuccino instead of chocolate and now prefer that.
Cinnamon has been subject to research that suggests:
- It lowers blood sugar levels
- It can improve sensitivity to insulin
- It is anti-inflammatory
- It is loaded with antioxidants
Chromium is also included in most multi vitamin and mineral formulas and this may be sufficient for most people. Specific chromium supplements are more relevant to sugar cravings and the other conditions we have detailed.
Sadly, we will repeat this statement throughout this series of blogs. The nutrients in our modern diet do not compare to those of our ancestors. In previous times, our ancestors ate approximately 20 times more nutrients than we do today.
The ancestral diet was comprised berries, fruits and other vegetables. Today, we eat processed ready meals that lack the nutrient content our bodies need. In addition, the intensive farming of our land means that nutrients are vastly depleted from the soil. It is going to take a long time to recover this situation. The processing of our food removes even more nutrients.
This means we are exposed to a nutrient deficiency. We simply do not get the nutrients we need to thrive in this modern world. It is our aim for our customers that they do not just survive but achieve optimal health. In our opinion, it is extremely difficult to achieve this without the help of supplements.