Chromium is an essential trace element that enhances insulin function and influences carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism. It has been suggested that chromium could be used as an adjunct to weight loss and to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
What is insulin? Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. Insulin helps keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia).
When you have insufficient levels of insulin, your blood sugar level tends to go higher than normal and needs to be brought down. Your pancreas may produce a sufficient amount of insulin but your body doesn’t “recognize” the elevated level of insulin and your blood sugar level continues to rise. This is called insulin insensitivity.
Chromium has been shown to increase your body’s ability to utilize insulin by increasing your cells’ sensitivity to insulin and therefore helps with control of your sugar levels. Several studies have shown that chromium supplementation helps with better blood sugar control. Chromium tablets are therefore recommended in people who suffer from type 2 diabetes. The major dietary sources of chromium include; eggs, fish, wholegrain cereals and nuts.
Chromium supplements are available over-the-counter in tablet form and are beneficial to people with type 2 diabetes and on medication.