Nutrition: Who needs chromium? You do!

When most people hear “chromium” they might immediately think of shiny truck bumpers and motorcycle wheels. But we need chromium for our health. It is an essential nutrient, which means it is required for normal body functioning and cannot be synthesized by the body. Chromium must be obtained from a dietary source. Found in small amounts in a variety of foods, including grains, nuts, mushrooms, meats, brewer’s yeast and dairy, this trace mineral is not well absorbed by the body.

Chromium is critical to proper insulin function. It is also necessary for glucose, carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. Additionally, a growing number of clinical studies have found that supplementation with chromium can improve insulin function and blood sugar control in people with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes occurs when the body’s insulin is not properly processing sugars. While blood sugar serves as one of a body’s most important energy sources, used by the cells to provide energy for many essential functions, the human body tolerates blood sugar only in a very narrow range. When that range is exceeded, the pancreas releases insulin. And here’s the little-known fact: while the body makes insulin naturally, the mineral chromium is required to enable insulin and blood sugar to optimally work together. If insulin isn’t performing as effectively as it should be, blood sugar that normally would have been burned by cells remains in the bloodstream, where it’s eventually stored in the body as fat. By enhancing insulin’s effects, chromium promotes healthy blood sugar and raises energy levels.

Chromium can also help to prevent sugar cravings and sudden drops in energy and promotes a healthy circulatory system. It has been used as a treatment for migraine headaches, psoriasis and acne, can prevent anxiety and fatigue, and is used extensively by athletes and dieters because it promotes fat loss and increases lean muscle tissue.

One leading dietary supplement company, Nutrition 21, began their own research study in 1999 in an effort to develop a better understanding of chromium’s beneficial effects. The program uncovered what represented a fundamentally new appreciation of chromium—and other nutrients such as biotin—and their interrelated roles in complex metabolic and biochemical pathways linking diabetes, cardiovascular health, obesity, depression and other health conditions.

Additionally, a recent study by Ohio State University found that one type of chromium, Chromax® chromium picolinate, is significantly better absorbed by the body than other forms. The study compared absorption of four different types of commercially available nutritional chromium. Study subjects absorbed noticeably more chromium from chromium picolinate as compared with the three other types. These findings validated similar results previously reported by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) showing that, in humans, chromium picolinate is better absorbed than other chromium forms.

During the past decade, Chromax chromium picolinate has distinguished itself as the most widely researched form of chromium. Over 35 published clinical trials involving more than 2,300 patients support the ingredient’s safety and efficacy. The chromium picolinate in Chromax has demonstrated that it is significantly more bioactive than other forms of chromium in insulin resistant populations.

The picolinate form of chromium is a unique molecule that combines chromium with picolinic acid, a compound found in breast milk, which helps the body better absorb and process minerals. The product is safe and easily incorporated into a wide range of functional food and supplement product forms.

For these reasons, Chromax is now included in Organic Life Vitamins (OLV) from Natural Vitality. A daily “multi-nutrient,” going far beyond the multi-vitamin, Organic Life Vitamins also includes organic ACTIValoe—a key food-based active ingredient—along with vitamins, ConcenTrace trace minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, OptiMSM and organic noni juice.