What is it?
Chromium is a metal which the body only requires a very small amount. It is an important trace element that helps regulation of insulin which monitors our blood sugar level.
It is definitely essential in patient with chromium deficiency.
There is evidence to prove that chromium helps in lowering certain bad cholesterol (triglycerides) and improves blood glucose (sugar) control in diabetic patients. It might also reduce weight gain and fat accumulation in diabetic patients who are taking sulfonylureas drugs (e.g. Glipizide, Glimeride and Glibenclamide).
There is insufficient evidence based research to prove it’s believed benefit to boost athletic performance, weight loss, relieve depression, preventing heart diseases and in people with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Possible side effects
Chromium is generally safe when taken orally for less than 6 months duration in adults. For longer duration of supplements, it is possibly safe. Possible side effects some people feel include dizziness, headache, nausea, mood changes, impaired thinking, and incoordination and skin irritation.
Taking too high doses has been associated with possible liver diseases, kidney damage and certain blood disorders. However there is no absolute proof that chromium actually cause all these conditions.
Chromium is generally safe for lactating/pregnant women so long as it is within the adequate intake levels. But to add on chromium supplements on top of daily normal food intake is not advisable unless instructed by your doctor.
It is best avoided in patients with allergy to chromate, liver disease patients, kidney failure patients and psychiatric patients. But more studies need to be done to confirm that.
1. Insulin: As chromium and insulin both lowers blood sugar level, when used together close blood sugar monitoring is required to prevent hypoglycaemia ( low sugar count leading to weakness, trembling, sweating, giddiness and fainting spells).
2. Thyroxine: Chromium will reduce the absorption of thyroxine hence reduces its effectiveness. Hence thyroxine is best taken 3-4 hours after chromium or half an hour before chromium.
3. NSAIDs: painkillers nsaids (e.g. ponstan, voltaren, synflex) increases the level of chromium and may lead to the latter side effects.
Please follow the instructions given by your doctor and if in doubt if you require this supplement please consult your doctor first. In general for diabetes patient, one can take 200-1000 mcg daily in divided doses.
The adequate intake levels daily for individuals are:
Infants 0 to 6 months: 0.2 mcg
Infants 7 to 12 months: 5.5 mcg
Children 1 to 3 years: 11 mcg
Children 4 to 8 years: 15 mcg
Boys 9 to 13 years: 25 mcg
Men 14 to 50 years: 35 mcg
Men 51 and older: 30 mcg
Girls 9 to 13 years: 21 mcg
Girls 14 to 18 years: 24 mcg
Women 19 to 50 years: 25 mcg
Women 51 and older: 20 mcg
Pregnant women 14 to 18 years: 29 mcg; 19 to 50 years: 30 mcg
Lactating women 14 to 18 years: 44 mcg; 19 to 50 years, 45 mcg.