Chromium deficiency is generally caused by an impaired glucose tolerance, elevated serum cholesterol, or triglyceride levels.
Deficiency of this nutrient have been estimated as high as 35 to 40 percent in the American population, more than any other country.
The reason is basically because of the low levels of chromium in the soil and the loss of this nutrient from refined foods; specifically sugar and flour.
Chromium is only needed by the human body in small amounts, but it is very difficult to obtain.
Absorption rates of this mineral increase as we age, making it a growing concern for the adult population.
Impaired glucose tolerance appears to be an immediate stage in both the history and the development of diabetes.
It is the name given to define blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but levels that are below someone that actually has diabetes.
Serum cholesterol is one of the two forms of cholesterol with the other being dietary cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a fat like substance that is soft, and is the building block of both body cells and hormones.
It is essential to overall good health, makes up fifty percent of the nervous system, and is also very important for metabolism.
The serum form of cholesterol flows through your bloodstream. Your body does manufacture most of its own blood cholesterol, but it also absorbs some of it from the foods that you eat.
Triglycerides are a type of fat that your body makes but it also comes from the foods you eat as well.
Left over calories from food turns into triglycerides, and these triglycerides are stored in fat cells for later use as needed by your body.
Trivalent supplements of Chromium can play a major role in these processes as it is recognized as a nutritionally essential mineral.
A biological active form of this mineral participates in glucose metabolism by enhancing the effects of insulin.
Chromium deficiency is most commonly found in infants that are fed strictly breast milk where the mother did not take any form of supplements of chromium.
It is also found in children who are malnourished as well as in the elderly.
It has also been reported in some people on long term intravenous feeding who did not receive supplements of chromium in their intravenous solutions.
However, a chromium deficiency can go undetected for years, primarily because there have not been any widespread records kept.
Insulin is secreted by specialized cells in the pancreas in response to increased blood glucose levels, such as after a meal.
One of Insulin processes is to bind to insulin receptors on the surface of cells, which activates the receptors and stimulates the glucose uptake by the cells.
Through its interaction with insulin receptors, Chromium than provides cells with glucose for energy and prevents blood glucose levels from becoming elevated.
There have also been reported cases of male runners who have indicated that urinary chromium loss was increased by endurance exercise.
This suggests that this mineral needs to be supplemented in individuals who exercise regularly.
In addition to its effects on carbohydrate (glucose) metabolism, insulin also influences the metabolism of fat and protein.
A decreased response to insulin or decreased insulin sensitivity may result in impaired glucose intolerance, or "type 2 diabetes" also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM).
This type of diabetes is characterized by elevated blood glucose levels and insulin resistance.
Recent studies have also shown that resistance exercise, particularity weight lifting, was found to increase urinary excretion of this mineral, especially in older men.
The amount chromium fond in foods will vary, and has been measured accurately in relatively few foods. Presently, there is no large database for chromium content of foods.
Foods high in simple sugars, however, such as sucrose and fructose, are not only low in chromium but have been found to actually cause a loss of this nutrient.
Foods that have shown signs of adding chromium include:
Broccoli, green beans, potatoes, grape juice, orange juice, beef, turkey breast, ham (processed), waffle, bagel, English muffins, apple w/peel, and bananas.
Chromium (III) is available as a supplement in several forms including chromium chloride, chromium nicotinate, chromium picolinate, and high-chromium yeast.
Chromium deficiency can be avoided altogether by simply taking a chromium supplement as part of your daily vitamin and nutrient regime.