If you’re looking for the best chromium supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Chromium Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Chromium Supplements
|#1||Thorne Research Chromium Picolinate||More Info|
|#2||BlueBonnet Chromium Picolinate||More Info|
|#3||New Chapter GTF Chromium Food Complex||More Info|
|#4||Pure Encapsulations Chromium||More Info|
|#5||Country Life Chromium Picolinate||More Info|
|#6||MegaFood GTF Chromium||More Info|
|#7||Innate Response GTF Chromium||More Info|
|#8||Superior Source Chromium Picolinate||More Info|
|#9||NutraBio Chelated Chromium GFT||More Info|
|#10||Nutrex Lipo-6 Chromium||More Info|
What is Chromium?
Chromium is a naturally occurring element. It’s a hard metal that can be polished to a high shine, which is why it’s often used for plumbing fixtures and car grills and other trim. It is vital to health, but only in trace amounts. A human being only needs 20 parts of chromium per 1 billion parts of blood to maintain their health. Because the amount of chromium a human needs is so small and it is readily found in many foods, it is difficult to have a chromium deficiency. However, some people do suffer from chromium deficiency and need supplementation.
The nutrient stimulates enzymes that are needed for the body to metabolize glucose, a simple sugar that provides energy to the cells. Chromium helps the body make cholesterol and fatty acids. It makes insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, more efficient. This helps transport glucose into the cells. Chromium also competes with iron in transporting protein in the body and may help synthesize proteins.
Chromium is a difficult nutrient to absorb, and only about 3 percent of the chromium a person gets through their diet is absorbed and stored in the body. It’s found mainly in the kidneys, the spleen and the testicles. Smaller amounts are found in the lungs, brain, heart and pancreas, and it’s even been found on the molecular level in RNA and enzymes. The amount of chromium a person stores diminishes as they age.
A deficiency in chromium often comes about because the person eats plant foods that were grown in poor, chromium-deficient soil or eats a diet too high in refined carbohydrates, which causes the body to excrete the mineral. Stress and trauma also deplete chromium, and antacids make it hard for the body to absorb it. Interestingly, the United States is one of the few countries where chromium deficiency is of concern.
Since chromium is important in the regulation of blood sugar, a person who has a deficiency has symptoms similar to that of diabetes. They are overweight, easily tired and excessively thirsty. They are prone to yeast and urinary tract infections and suffer from neuropathy and frequent urination.
Foods that provide good amounts of chromium for healthy people are broccoli, whole wheat English muffins and whole wheat bread, orange juice, turkey breast, mashed potatoes, cubed beef and dried garlic. Chromium is found in hard water, or water that’s abundant in minerals.
There’s no RDA allowance for chromium, though it does have a daily dietary intake range depending on the age, sex and health status of the person. Babies need only 0.2 micrograms of chromium per day from birth until six months of age. From seven months to one year the dosage jumps to 5.5 mcg. Toddlers need 11 mcg while children ages four to eight need 15 mcg. Pregnant girls aged 14 to 18 need 29 mcg, and the dosage rises to 44 mug if they breastfeed. The totals go up slightly for pregnant and lactating mothers ages 19 to 50. Males who are 50 years and older need more chromium than women the same age. Men need 30 mcg a day, while women need only 20 mcg.
Benefits of Chromium Supplementation
In some cases, chromium supplementation has been found to help people who are suffering diabetes-like symptoms and are at increased risk for getting type 2 diabetes, though in clinical trials it didn’t effect the glucose and insulin levels in people who already had the disease. Type 2 diabetes happens when the body no longer responds to the insulin secreted by the pancreas, even though the pancreas may be producing normal or even high levels of insulin. It’s different from type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease where the body destroys the insulin-creating cells in the pancreas.
Chromium did increase glucose tolerance in elderly people and for people who were mildly glucose intolerant. Glucose intolerance, or the inability of the body to use glucose effectively can be a precursor to diabetes.
Chromium seems to work even more effectively in lowering levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol at levels of 150 to 1000 mcg a day. High levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. At the same time, chromium supplementation raised the levels of HDL, which is called “good” cholesterol. HDL reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by transporting excess cholesterol to the liver, were it can be broken down and excreted.
Other people take chromium to lose weight, bolster their lean muscle mass and treat acne. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome sometimes take it to ease their depression. Clinical trials showed that the effects of chromium on these disorders were inconclusive. Chromium does seem to lower the risk of glaucoma and helps the body store calcium, which in turn may guard against bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
Are There any Side Effects?
It’s very important that people who are taking supplemental chromium stay within the prescribed dose. Chromium is a toxic metal when taken in amounts even a little over the daily dietary intake range. The more common side effects are sleep disturbances, including insomnia, irritability, headache and moodiness. More serious side effects are clumsiness, mental confusion, inability to concentrate and symptoms that point to problems with the liver. These include jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes, dark urine, clay-colored stool, itching, fatigue and appetite loss. Other symptoms are pain in the upper abdomen and nausea. Excess chromium can damage the kidneys and nerves and lead to heart arrhythmias and hypoglycemia. But even these side effects are uncommon and are more likely to occur in people who handle chromium as part of their job.
Some drugs enhance or inhibit the absorption of chromium supplements. Drugs that impair the absorption of chromium and cause the body to excrete it are H2 blockers, proton pump inhibitors and corticosteroids as well as antacids. A person who takes a steroid such as prednisone may not be able to take chromium supplements. Interestingly, other types of corticosteroids help the body absorb chromium. Other drugs that help with chromium absorption are insulin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen, drugs that inhibit prostaglandins, which are often NSAIDs, beta-blockers and niacin in its form of nicotinic acid. A patient who is considering taking chromium supplements should consult with their physician if they are taking any of these drugs. People who are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking supplemental zinc, iron or vitamin C should also talk to their doctor if they’re thinking of taking chromium.
How to Take Chromium Supplements
Chromium supplements are sold as chromium picolinate, high-chromium yeast, chromium chloride, chromium nicotinate or chromium citrate. Chromium picolinate seems to be the most popular form and chromium chloride seems to be the most difficult form to absorb. They come in capsule, tablet or liquid-filled capsule form. The patient should take them according to their doctor’s directions. It should be taken with food and an 8 ounce glass of water. The patient shouldn’t be troubled if they miss a dose and should not share the supplement with anyone else.
What to Look for in a Good Chromium Supplement
Even if the supplement isn’t prescribed by the doctor but will be bought over the counter, the patient still needs to consult with their doctor before buying. Then, they should look for the highest quality supplement, and utilize resources such as the NIH’s Dietary Supplement Label Database. They should comparison shop at stores that specialize in vitamin and mineral supplements, and ask questions of the people who work there.
A person should should read the label before buying a supplement. It should have the name and address of the manufacturer and the seal of approval from either the NSF International or US Pharmacopeia. The chromium supplements should be natural as opposed to synthetic and should be free of additives.