Chromium is an essential trace mineral which stimulates the function of insulin in fat, carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It is also a vital component for synthesis of cholesterol, fats and proteins which in turn has an important role in brain functions and other body processes.
The required daily dosage of Chromium depends on the age, sex and the condition of the individual. Infants need 0.2 to 5.5 micrograms of Chromium per day while children need it in the range of 11-21 micrograms per day. Adult men should have a daily intake of 30 to 35 micrograms and 20 to 25 micrograms for women. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need more Chromium consumption than the normal ones. While any pregnant woman should have a daily dosage of 30 micrograms, a breastfeeding teenager and a breastfeeding adult must have 44 and 30 micrograms of Chromium, respectively, on a daily basis.
The main food sources of Chromium for our body are brewer’s yeast, processed meats, cheese, pork kidney, beef, eggs, chicken, oyster, whole grains, cereals, molasses, spices, such as green peppers, black pepper and fruits such as banana, and apples.
The lack of Chromium in our body leads to a condition known as insulin resistance where the body cells become irresponsive to the insulin thus unable to utilise the secreted insulin. Due to this condition, there are chances of elevation in the blood glucose levels which creates a high chance of causing heart disease or Type 2 diabetes.
When a person suffers from diabetes, heart disease, physical injury, trauma or mental stress, there is an increase in the excretion of Chromium from our body. During such a situation, if the body is not replenished with the proper amount of Chromium, then the body is bound to suffer from the deficiency of Chromium.
Like any other trace mineral, Chromium also has some side effects if consumed in excess. The overload of Chromium in the body might cause fatigue, muscle cramps, hyperactivity, hypoglycaemia where the blood sugar level lowers, renal failure and liver toxicity.