Chromium is an essential mineral for various bodily processes including food digestion. This metal is obtained either through natural sources or through chromium supplements. The best natural sources of chromium are various, some of which include whole grains, bran cereals, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions. Chromium is also found in small or large amounts in other food sources such as cheese, molasses, various spices, fresh fruits, and certain vegetables. Two other interesting ways in which the body gets chromium is through drinking hard water from the tap and by cooking in stainless-steel appliances.
Chromium helps move blood sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream into the cells, so that the cells can successfully utilize the glucose as their energy source. This is a benefit diabetic patients can get from taking chromium supplements.
Chromium also helps metabolize fats and carbohydrates while aiding in the stimulation of fatty acids and cholesterol synthesis. This is very important for brain function and other vital body processes. Much like zinc, chromium plays an important role in the activation of various enzymes, which are required to direct numerous chemical reactions necessary for normal life functions.
Chromium plays a role in the glucose tolerance of people with Turner’s Syndrome (a disease connected with glucose intolerance). Chromium also aids in insulin metabolism. An increased amount of chromium intake may reduce the level of insulin resistance which is beneficial for people taking diabetes medications.
Chromium Picolinate, which is a combination of chromium and picolinic acid, is a compound that has a variety of health benefits. Combining chromium with picolinic acid increases the extent of the absorption of chromium. There have been some discussions about the health benefits of Chromium Picolinate in the process of weight loss. It is known to have been used by various athletes.
However, the biggest known chromium Picolinate health benefit is linked to depression. Chromium Picolinate has proven to be helpful for patients suffering from atypical depression. A pilot trial studying a set of patients has suggested that chromium may have antidepressant effects.
Chromium supplements are available in three essential forms: chromium chloride, chromium nicotinate, and chromium picolinate.
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