A Quick Overview of Chromium

Introduction

Chromium is a trace mineral that works with insulin to help regulate and maintain normal amounts glucose in the blood. It also plays a role in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. Chromium can be found naturally in foods and also comes in a variety of supplemental forms.

Background

Chromium is an essential trace mineral, and there are two forms:

  • Trivalent chromium, which is safe for humans; and
  • Hexavalent chromium, which is a toxin.
Chromium

Trivalent chromium is found in foods and supplements and might help keep blood sugar levels normal by improving the way the body uses insulin.

People use chromium for chromium deficiency and is also for:

  • Diabetes;
  • High cholesterol;
  • Athletic performance;
  • Bipolar disorder; and
  • Many other purposes … but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.

This topic only covers trivalent chromium, not hexavalent chromium.

Major Food Sources of Chromium

Many foods contain a small amount of chromium. In general, whole grain breads and cereals and meats are all good sources. The content of chromium in many foods can be affected by how food is gown and processed. Common foods that contain chromium (not an exhaustive list):

  • Broccoli.
  • Grape juice.
  • English muffin.
  • Potatoes.
  • Garlic.
  • Basil.
  • Orange juice.
  • Turkey breast.
  • Whole wheat bread.
  • Unpeeled apple.
  • Bananas.
  • Green beans.

What are Its Uses and Effectiveness?

  • Likely Effective for:
    • Chromium deficiency.
      • Taking chromium by mouth is effective for preventing chromium deficiency.
  • Possibly Effective for:
    • Diabetes.
      • Taking chromium by mouth might improve blood sugar control in some people with type 2 diabetes.
      • Higher chromium doses seem to work better than lower doses.
      • It is not clear if it helps prevent diabetes.
  • Possibly Ineffective for:
    • Prediabetes.
      • Taking chromium by mouth does not help control blood sugar levels in people with prediabetes.
    • Schizophrenia.
      • Taking chromium by mouth does not affect weight or mental health in people with schizophrenia.

There is interest in using chromium for a number of other purposes, but there is not enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

What are the Side Effects?

It is difficult to consume toxic amounts of chromium from dietary sources alone. However, harmful levels of the mineral can potentially be ingested in the form of supplements. Early research suggested that daily dosages of 50-200 mcg were believed to be safe.

When taken by Mouth

  • Chromium is likely safe when used short-term.
  • Up to 1000 mcg of chromium daily has been used safely for up to 6 months.
  • When taken for longer periods of time, chromium is possibly safe.
  • Chromium has been used safely in doses of 200-1000 mcg daily for up to 2 years.

Some people experience side effects such as stomach upset, headaches, insomnia, and mood changes. High doses have been linked to more serious side effects including liver or kidney damage.

The most commonly reported side effects with chromium supplementation include:

  • Initial insomnia;
  • Increased and vivid dreams;
  • Tremor;
  • Mild psychomotor activation;
  • Stomach discomfort;
  • Nausea; and
  • Vomiting.

Are There Any Special Precautions or Warnings To Be Aware Of?

  • Pregnancy:
    • Chromium is likely safe when taken by mouth in amounts that do not exceed adequate intake (AI) levels.
    • The AI for those 14-18 years old is 28 mcg daily.
    • For those 19-50 years old, it is 30 mcg daily.
    • Chromium is possibly safe to use in amounts higher than the AI levels while pregnant.
    • But do not take chromium supplements during pregnancy unless advised to do so by a healthcare provider.
  • Breast-feeding:
    • Chromium is likely safe when taken by mouth in amounts that do not exceed AI levels.
    • The AI for those 14-18 years old is 44 mcg daily.
    • For those 19-50 years old, it is 45 mcg daily.
    • There is not enough reliable information to know if taking higher amounts of chromium is safe when breast-feeding.
    • Stay on the safe side and stick with amounts below the AI.
  • Children:
    • Chromium is likely safe when taken by mouth in amounts that do not exceed AI levels.
    • For those 0-6 months old, it is 0.2 mcg; for those 7-12 months old, it is 5.5 mcg; for those 1-3 years old, it is 11 mcg; for those 4-8 years old, it is 15 mcg.
    • For males 9-13 years old, it is 25 mcg; for males 14-18 years old, it is 35 mcg.
    • For females 9-13 years old, it is 21 mcg; for females 14-18 years old, it is 24 mcg.
    • Taking chromium in amounts above the AI level is possibly safe for most children.
  • Behavioural or psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia:
    • Chromium might affect brain chemistry and might make behavioural or psychiatric conditions worse.
    • Given the risk of “cycling,” caution should be used in people who have (or may develop) bipolar disorder.
    • Chromium picolinate appears to alter levels of neurotransmitters when taken in high doses – a possible concern for people with depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
  • Chromate/leather contact allergy:
    • Chromium supplements can cause allergic reactions in people with chromate or leather contact allergy.
    • Symptoms include redness, swelling, and scaling of the skin.
  • Kidney disease:
    • Chromium supplements might cause kidney damage.
    • Do not take chromium supplements if you have kidney disease.
  • Liver disease:
    • Chromium supplements might cause liver damage.
    • Do not take chromium supplements if you have liver disease.

A daily intake of over 1,200 micrograms has been reported to cause kidney, liver, and bone marrow damage in one person. In another case report, a person taking daily dose of 600 mcg over a 6-week period was enough to cause damage. You should talk to a medical professional before taking more than 200 mcg.

What about Interactions?

Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Insulin interacts with Chromium:
    • Chromium might increase how well insulin works.
    • Taking chromium along with insulin might cause your blood sugar to drop too low.
    • Monitor your blood sugar closely.
    • The dose of your insulin might need to be changed.
  • Levothyroxine (Synthroid, others) interacts with Chromium:
    • Taking chromium with levothyroxine might decrease how much levothyroxine the body absorbs.
    • This might make levothyroxine less effective.
    • To help avoid this interaction, levothyroxine should be taken 30 minutes before or 3-4 hours after taking chromium.
  • Medications for diabetes (Anti-diabetes drugs) interacts with Chromium:
    • Chromium might lower blood sugar levels.
    • Taking chromium along with diabetes medications might cause blood sugar to drop too low.
    • Monitor your blood sugar closely.

Minor Interaction

Be watchful with this combination

  • NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) interacts with Chromium:
    • NSAIDs might increase chromium levels in the body and increase the risk of adverse effects.
    • Avoid taking chromium supplements and NSAIDs at the same time.
  • Aspirin interacts with Chromium:
    • Aspirin might increase how much chromium the body absorbs.
    • Taking aspirin with chromium might increase the effects and side effects of chromium.

What about Dosage?

  • Chromium is an essential trace mineral.
  • It is recommended that males 19-50 years old consume 35 mcg daily, and those 51 years and older consume 30 mcg daily.
  • For females, it is recommended that those 19-50 years old consume 25 mcg daily, and those 51 years and older consume 20 mcg daily.
  • Recommended amounts for children depend on age.
  • Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

Book: Binge Eating Disorder: Step-by-Step Guide to Prevention and Recovery from Binge Eating Disorder

Book Title:

Binge Eating Disorder: Step-by-Step Guide to Prevention and Recovery from Binge Eating Disorder.

Author(s): Michael Miller and Ashley Victoria.

Year: 2018.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Type(s): Paperback, Audiobook, and Kindle.

Synopsis:

Do you consume abnormally large amounts of food in one sitting? Do you doubt that your untimely binging is a problem? Are you someone who is not comfortable revealing that you suffer from binge eating disorder? If your answer to any of the above questions is a “YES” then you have got hold of the right book.

Binge eating is a serious disorder that masks itself as overeating and can go undetected for long periods of time. It may surprise you, but binge eating affects more people than bulimia and anorexia. Consuming abnormally large amounts of food in one sitting becomes a regular feature in the life of binge eaters. Most of these individuals don’t even recognise that there’s something wrong with them until they get overweight or obese.

Part of the reason why this happens is because there is a lack of awareness among people with regards to this disorder. The symptoms are often passed off as overeating and most people think that it’s normal for someone to eat until their guts hurt.

The very reason we wanted to come up with a book for people suffering from binge eating disorder was to spread awareness about it so they don’t face the issues many people did and ignore the problem.

Through the course of the book, we intend to openly discuss binge eating in detail. Until now if you thought that you might have to live with this disorder forever, this guide will prove you wrong. Here is a quick snapshot of what is covered in the book:

  • Details of BED (binge eating disorder).
  • Symptoms of BED.
  • Preventive measures.
  • Steps to eliminate the habit.
  • Facts on binge eating.
  • Role of the society, family and media towards eating disorders.
  • Habits that trigger binging.

Book: Gut and Psychology Syndrome

Book Title:

Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia.

Author(s): Natasha Campbell-McBride.

Year: 2010.

Edition: First (1st), Revised and Enlarged Edition.

Publisher: Medinform Publishing.

Type(s): Paperback, Audiobook, and Kindle.

Synopsis:

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride set up The Cambridge Nutrition Clinic in 1998. As a parent of a child diagnosed with learning disabilities, she is acutely aware of the difficulties facing other parents like her, and she has devoted much of her time to helping these families. She realised that nutrition played a critical role in helping children and adults to overcome their disabilities, and has pioneered the use of probiotics in this field. Her willingness to share her knowledge has resulted in her contributing to many publications, as well as presenting at numerous seminars and conferences on the subjects of learning disabilities and digestive disorders. Her book Gut and Psychology Syndrome captures her experience and knowledge, incorporating her most recent work. She believes that the link between learning disabilities, the food and drink that we take, and the condition of our digestive system is absolute, and the results of her work have supported her position on this subject. In her clinic, parents discuss all aspects of their child’s condition, confident in the knowledge that they are not only talking to a professional but to a parent who has lived their experience. Her deep understanding of the challenges they face puts her advice in a class of its own.

Linking Eating Habits & Sleep Patterns in Adolescents with Symptoms of Depression

Research Paper Title

Eating habits and sleep patterns of adolescents with depression symptoms in Mumbai, India.

Background

Adolescents with depression engage in unhealthy eating habits and irregular sleep patterns and are often at an increased risk for weight-related problems.

Improvement in these lifestyle behaviours may help to prevent depression, but knowledge about the associations between depression, sleep, eating habits and body weight among adolescents in India is limited.

Methods

This cross-sectional study investigated the prevalence of depression and its association with sleep patterns, eating habits and body weight status among a convenience sample of 527 adolescents, ages 10-17 years in Mumbai, India.

Participants completed a survey on sleep patterns such as sleep duration, daytime sleepiness and sleep problems and eating habits such as frequency of breakfast consumption, eating family meals and eating out.

Depression was assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire modified for Adolescents (PHQ-A).

Anthropometric measurements were also taken.

Results

Within this sample, 25% had moderate to severe depression (PHQ-A ≥ 10) and 46% reported sleeping less than 6 h > thrice a week.

Adolescents with moderate to severe depression had significantly higher body mass index than those with minimal depression (26.2 ± 6.6 vs. 20.2 ± 4.8 kg/m2 ).

The odds of having clinically significant depression (PHQ-A ≥ 10) was 4.5 times higher in adolescents who had family meals ≤ once a week, 1.6 times higher among those who were sleeping <6 h and 2.3 times higher among participants having trouble falling to sleep more than thrice a week.

Conclusions

The findings indicated that a significant proportion of adolescents had depression symptoms; improving sleep and eating habits may present potential targets for interventions.

Reference

Moitra, P., Madan, J. & Shaikh, N.I. (2020) Eating habits and sleep patterns of adolescents with depression symptoms in Mumbai, India. Maternal & Child Nutrition. 16 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):e12998. doi: 10.1111/mcn.12998.

Book: Nutrition and Mental Health: A Handbook

Book Title:

Nutrition and Mental Health: A Handbook: An Essential Guide to the Relationship Between Diet and Mental Health.

Author(s): Michael Crawford, Oscar Umahro Cadogan, Alexandra J. Richardson, and Martina Watts.

Year: 2008.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Pavilion Publishing (Brighton) Ltd.

Type(s): Hardcover and Paperback.

Synopsis:

The role of nutrition is fundamental to human health and well-being.

It is, however, often overlooked when treating people with mental health problems.

Book: The Food Addict’s Meal Prep Manual

Book Title:

The Food Addict’s Meal Prep Manual: Save Yourself From Food Addiction In Only 2 Hours A Week.

Author(s): Dr. Joan Ifland (PhD).

Year: 2018.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: ?.

Type(s): Kindle.

Synopsis:

Research shows that addiction to processed foods explains why we overeat. Processed foods are everywhere which makes it very hard to break the food addiction cycle. It seems like people are pushing processed foods at every turn.

But you CAN break the cycle! Having your own beautiful meals is the secret! In The Food Addicts Meal Prep Manual, we’re going to show you step-by-step how to prepare all your meals in only 2 hours a week. Having meals at hand will give you a big advantage in regaining control over your food. This quick, easy guide shows you how to have fun and save lots of money by making all your food in two hours per week.

The guide lets you pick the foods you already love. You will be delighted at how beautiful and delicious these healthy meals are. Learn the surprising truth that ‘healthy’ can be scrumptious, inexpensive, and quick. This guide shows you how.

But you CAN break the cycle! In The Food Addicts Meal Prep Manual, we are going to show you step-by-step how to prepare healthy meals in only 2 hours a week, helping you to break the cycle of sugar, salt and processed foods, which are keeping you from having the body you want.

Go from feeling poor to having endless energy. Finally be able to lose weight and gain back that self-confidence. And most importantly, take back control in your life without the mindless eating and self-shaming that is keeping you locked in the cycle.

Book: Food Junkies: Recovery from Food Addiction

Book Title:

Food Junkies: Recovery from Food Addiction.

Author(s): Vera Tarman.

Year: 2019.

Edition: Second (2nd).

Publisher: Dundurn.

Type(s): Paperback, Audiobook, and Kindle.

Synopsis:

A fact-filled guide to coping with compulsive overeating problems by an experienced addictions doctor who draws on many patients’ stories of recovery.

Overeating, binge eating, obesity, anorexia, and bulimia – Food Junkies tackles the complex, poorly understood issue of food addiction from the perspective of a medical researcher and dozens of survivors. What exactly is food addiction? Is it possible to draw a hard line between indulging cravings for “comfort food” and engaging in substance abuse? For people struggling with food addictions, recognizing their condition remains a frustrating battle.

This revised second edition contains the latest research as well as practical strategies for people facing the complicated challenges of eating disorders and addictions, offering an affirming and manageable path to healthy and sustainable habits.

Book: Food Addiction: Treatment for Overeating

Book Title:

Food Addiction: Treatment for Overeating.

Author(s): Charlie Mason.

Year: 2019.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Tilcan Group Limited.

Type(s): Paperback, Audiobook, and Kindle.

Synopsis:

Millions of people are struggling with their healthy eating and lifestyle to help manage their weight. But what most people do not notice is the link between emotional craving and eating and unwanted weight. A part of your brain tells you that you need to eat a healthy meal but your craving is telling you to reach for the comfort food instead.

Chances are, you end up with the comfort food, but it is not for a lack of willpower or motivation! Food addiction leads to various health-related problems including being over-weight and other eating disorders.

Food addiction is a mental and physical issue that requires mental and physical treatment. Unlike other addictions, you cannot eliminate food from your daily behaviours as you can with smoking or alcohol. You need food to survive. This means you need to find a way to stop your cravings and eat less in a realistic way.

As you navigate through the pages of this book, you will find tips and techniques to help you understand your cravings, how to stop them, and ways to treat your food addiction. Enjoy the simple and easy-to-follow tables, lists, and guides as you choose healthy meals over unhealthy and your wellbeing over cravings.

This book is designed to give you solutions to overeating in an inspiring and unique way!

It aims to reveal to you the common beliefs and thoughts about foods, untangle the addictive impulses programmed in your brain, and how to retrain your mind and body so you can live a healthier, happier, and balanced life with eating.

Using an approachable and factual delivery, Food Addiction: Treatment for Overeating offers you real solutions and simple steps so you can learn how to release the negative feelings entrapping you in your negative habits and the constant drudgery of failed diets and broken assurances.

Book: The Food Addiction Recovery Workbook

Book Title:

The Food Addiction Recovery Workbook: How to Manage Cravings, Reduce Stress, and Stop Hating Your Body.

Author(s): Carolyn Coker Ross (MD, MPH).

Year: 2017.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: New Harbinger.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

If you are struggling with obesity or food addiction, you have probably been told that you must deprive yourself of certain foods in order to lose weight. You may have also been convinced-by the media and by our culture-that if you finally become thin your life will be better, you will be happier, and your suffering will come to an end.

The problem is – it is not all about the food. It is about how food is used to self-soothe, to numb ourselves against the pain of living or to cope with stress and unresolved emotions. Even as your waist whittles away, the problems that caused your food addiction won’t disappear.

The Anchor Programme™ approach detailed in this workbook is not about dieting. It is about being anchored to your true, authentic self. When you find your unique anchor, you will relate better to your body, you will know intuitively how to feed your body, and you will reach the weight that is right for you. Anyone who’s been on the diet treadmill-losing and regaining lost weight-will admit that losing weight does not instantly bring health or happiness. That is because losing weight is a red herring for the real issue, the misuse of food to solve a problem that has nothing to do with food.

This book offers a whole-person approach that blends practical information on managing stress and regulating emotions without relying on food. If you are ready to uncover the true cause of your food addiction, you will finally be able to embrace a balanced diet and reach the weight that is right for you.

Book: The Emotional Eating Workbook

Book Title:

The Emotional Eating Workbook – A Proven-Effective Step-By-Step Guide To End Your Battle With Food And Satisfy Your Soul.

Author(s): Carolyn Coker Ross (MD, MPH).

Year: 2016.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: New Harbinger.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.

Synopsis:

For over fifty years, nutritional and medical scientists have dissected the problem of obesity. The result of this half-century of investigation has been a series of recommendations about what and how much to eat, and an unintended consequence is that we have been deprived of the joy of eating. From low-fat diets to the no-carb craze, the market has been continually flooded with one assortment of fad products and diets after another. So, when does it end?

If you are struggling with emotional overeating and are trying to lose weight, you should know that you do not need to deny yourself certain foods. In The Emotional Eating Workbook, you will learn about the real psychological needs that underlie your food cravings, how to meet those needs in positive ways, be mindful of your body, and find the deep satisfaction many overeaters seek in food.

It is not about food. It is about how food is used to self-soothe, numb ourselves against the pain of living, or self-medicate in coping with stress and unresolved emotions. The Anchor Programme™ approach detailed in this book is not about dieting. It is about being anchored to your true, authentic self. When you find your unique anchor, you will relate better to your body, you will know intuitively how to feed your body, and you will reach the weight that is right for you.