All About Minerals

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Why chromium is good for you

Chromium is an essential nutrient required for normal glucose and fat metabolism and works primarily by ensuring insulin acts correctly. It is present in the entire body but with the highest concentrations in the liver, kidneys, spleen and bone.

Chromium is needed for energy, as it maintains stable blood glucose levels. In cooperation with other substances, it controls insulin as well as certain enzymes. It is also required in synthesis of fats, protein and carbohydrates.

Although chromium is only required in very small amounts, our modern day diet has left many people short of chromium on a daily basis, with the average person being chromium deficient, and two out of three people being hypoglycaemic, pre-hypoglycaemic or diabetic.

Chromium works with the GTF (glucose tolerance factor) when this hormone-affiliated agent enters the bloodstream because of an increase of insulin in the bloodstream.

GTF (containing vitamin B3, glycine, cysteine, glutamic acid) enhances insulin, which results in stabilising blood sugar levels and it also assists in regulating the cholesterol in the blood.

Natural chromium levels decline with age and so do the actions of GTF.


Important chromium facts


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Groups at risk of chromium deficiency

People in these groups at risk of deficiency should talk to a medical professional about chromium supplements BEFORE taking them.


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Symptoms of chromium deficiency

A shortage of chromium may lead to symptoms such as:

Chromium deficiency occurs when there is <30mcg intake of chromium per day.

About 56% of the Australian population may be at risk of chromium deficiency.


Chromium and health

  • Type II diabetes - in 12 out of 15 controlled studies of people with impaired glucose tolerance (metabolic state between normal glucose regulation and diabetes), chromium supplementation was found to improve glucose utilisation and drop blood glucose levels by about 19%, as well as to have beneficial effects (a reduction) on blood lipid levels

People who wish to take a chromium supplement should talk to a medical professional BEFORE taking it.



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Chromium in food

FOOD AMOUNT Chromium (mcg)
Broccoli ½ cup 11.0
Turkey ham (processed) 85g 10.4
Grape juice 1 cup 7.5
Waffle 1 regular 6.7
Potatoes, mashed 1 cup 2.7
Bagel 1 regular 2.5
Orange juice 1 cup 2.2
Beef 85g 2.0
Turkey breast 85g 1.7
Green beans ½ cup 1.1


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Chromium recommended daily intake (RDI)

RDA lifestage age amount
  INFANTS 0-6mths
  CHILDREN 1-3yrs
  CHILDREN - male 9-13yrs
  CHILDREN - female 9-13yrs
  ADULTS male: 19-50yrs
female: 19-50yrs
  SENIORS male: 51+yrs
female: 51+yrs
  PREGNANT <18yrs
  LACTATING <18yrs
TOLERABLE UPPER LIMIT none established
TOXIC LEVELS > 200mcg per day

The tolerable upper limits should only be taken for short periods and only under medical supervision.


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Chromium works best with


Overdosage, toxicity and cautions for chromium

The dietary form of chromium has very low toxicity. Some people have reported a skin rash and light-headedness - if this occurs, stop taking the supplement and consult a medical professional.

Long-term exposure to environmental chromium may lead to skin problems, liver and kidney impairment.


Diabetics should NOT supplement with chromium, except under medical supervision, as it can make blood glucose levels drop too low.


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Last reviewed: 1 January 2010 || Last updated: 1 January 2010




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NOTE: Mega doses of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, or other supplements cannot cure illnesses and in fact can be very dangerous and produce toxic side effects and interfere with medicine you are taking. Always ensure you consult your doctor before taking any type of nutrient supplement.
Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. For any treatment or diagnosis of illness, please see your doctor.