Chromium: The Deficiency Series

Chromium is an essential part of metabolic processes that regulate blood sugar. It helps insulin transport glucose into cells where it can be used for energy, and is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins as well. In fact, it works in a similar way as the popular diabetes drug Metformin, which lowers your blood sugar levels by improving the way your body handles insulin. 


Chromium is necessary for our health because it enhances the actions of insulin and plays a key role in maintaining normal metabolism and storage of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It also may help prevent weight gain, overeating, and maintain brain health and fight cognitive decline. The recommended intake of chromium for adults per day is 35 micrograms (mcg) for men aged 19-50 years, 30 mcg for men over 50, 25 mcg for women aged 19-50, and 20 mcg for women over 50 years.

Chromium enters the body mostly through the diet, the absorption of it in the body is enhanced by vitamin C, which is found in fruits and vegetables such as kale, peppers, kiwi and berries. absorption is similarly enhanced by the B vitamin niacin, found in meats, poultry, fish, and grain products. Chromium-rich foods are broccoli, whole-grain products, meat such as turkey breast or grass-fed beef, potatoes, romaine lettuce, raw onions, and ripe tomatoes. Other foods such as green beans, garlic, basil, apples, and bananas are good sources as well.


Absorbed chromium is stored in the liver, spleen, soft tissue, and bone. Chromium deficiency can occur when the body does not intake the recommended amount of the mineral. Deficiency of chromium impairs the body’s ability to use glucose to meet its energy needs and raise insulin requirements, causing poor blood glucose control. In addition to contributing to the development of diabetes, deficiency can also increase your risk of general metabolic syndrome. Mild deficiencies of chromium which can lead to in blood sugar imbalances cause symptoms such as anxiety, low energy or fatigue, poor skin health, a risk for high cholesterol and delayed healing time after injuries or surgery. 


Most people get enough chromium from food, but there are chromium supplements that help to control type 2 diabetes or the glucose and insulin responses in people who are pre-diabetic. Two dietary supplements containing chromium are chromium picolinate and chromium polynicotinate, however there are several other related types. It is important to note that taking high levels of chromium in supplement form can potentially interact with certain medications or worsen existing health conditions, so make sure to consult with a Health is Wealth representative to ensure what a healthy and adequate amount of chromium for your body is before taking the supplement.

Chloe Cunningham