Chromium, as a chemical element, is a solid metallic substance of a bluish-white color (see photo). It does not oxidize in contact with air. Sometimes it is referred to as ferrous metals. It has earned its name due to the various color combinations of its compounds, and it comes from the Greek word chroma – color. An interesting fact is that the syllable “chrome” is used in many areas of life. For example, the word “chromosome “(from Greek) – “the body that is colored”.
The discovery of this element occurs in 1797 and belongs to L. N. Vauquelin. He found it in the mineral crocoite.
A large natural reserve of chromium is found in the earth’s crust, which can not be said about sea water. Countries that have these reserves are South Africa, Zimbabwe, the United States, Turkey, Madagascar, and others. Biogenic compounds of this trace element are part of the tissues of plants and animals, with a higher content in animals.
The important effect of chromium on the human body was determined after an experiment on rats in the late 1950s. Two scientists, Schwartz and Merz, experimentally fed rats food that was poor in chromium, which led to the appearance of sugar intolerance in the animals, but when it was added to the diet, these symptoms disappeared.
Action of chromium and its role in the body
- 1 Action of chromium and its role in the body
- 2 Daily norm
- 3 Lack or deficiency of chromium
- 4 The excess of chrome — what’s the harm?
- 5 What food sources do they contain?
- 6 Indications for the use of chromium preparations
- 7 Daily norm of chromium
- 8 Symptoms of chromium deficiency in the body
- 9 What is the danger of excess chromium in the body
- 10 Conclusion
Chromium in the human body is involved in many areas and has a very important role, but its main task is to support the normal balance of sugar in the blood serum. This occurs by enhancing the process of carbohydrate metabolism by facilitating the transport of glucose inside the cell. This phenomenon is called glycocholate factor (GTF). The mineral irritates the cell’s receptors in relation to insulin, which more easily interacts with it, while reducing its need for the body. This is why the trace element is so vital for diabetics, especially those with type II disease (insulin-independent), since their ability to replenish chromium reserves with food is very small. Even if a person does not have diabetes, but he has problems with metabolism, he automatically falls into the risk category and his condition is regarded as diabetic.
It turns out that the positive effect of chromium is manifested in all diseases associated with weak interaction of the body with insulin. These diseases are hyperglycemia (hypoglycemia), obesity, gastritis, colitis, ulcers, Crohn’s disease, Miniere’s disease, multiple sclerosis, migraines, epilepsy, stroke, hypertension.
Chromium is involved in the synthesis of nucleic acids and thus maintains the integrity of the structure of RNA and DNA, which carry information about genes and are responsible for heredity.
If a person has an iodine deficiency and it is not possible to fill it, chromium can replace it, which is very important for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland, which in turn is responsible for proper metabolism.
Chromium reduces the risk of many cardiovascular diseases. How does it work? The macronutrient participates in lipid metabolism. It breaks down harmful low-density cholesterol, which clogs blood vessels, thereby interfering with normal blood circulation. This increases the content of cholesterol, which performs positive functions in the body.
By increasing the level of the steroid hormone, the mineral strengthens the bones. In connection with this useful property, it is treated for osteoporosis. Chromium in combination with vitamin C is involved in the regulation of intraocular pressure and stimulates the transport of glucose to the eye crystal. These properties allow the use of this chemical in therapeutic processes against glaucoma and cataracts.
Zinc, iron and vanadium have a negative effect on the ingress of chromium into the human body. For its transport in the blood, it forms a bond with the protein compound transferrin, which, if chromium competes with the above elements, will choose the latter. Therefore, in the human body with an excess of iron, there is always a deficiency of chromium, which can worsen the condition of diabetes.
The main part of it is contained in organs and tissues, and in the blood – ten times less. Therefore, if the body is oversaturated with glucose, the amount of macronutrient in the blood increases dramatically due to its relocation from storage organs.
The physiological need for the mineral is determined by the age and gender of the person. In early infancy, this need is absent, since in infants it has accumulated before birth and is spent up to 1 year. Further, for babies aged 1-2 years, this rate is 11 mcg per day. From 3 to 11 years is 15 mcg/day. In middle age (11-14 years), the need increases to 25 mcg/day, and in adolescence (14-18 years) — up to 35 mcg/day. As for an adult, here the mark reaches 50 mcg/day.
Normally, the chromium content in the body should be about 6 mg. But even if you stick to proper nutrition, achieving the norm is very difficult. Only in organic compounds is the assimilation of trace elements, and contribute to this process of amino acids, which are found only in plants. Therefore, the best sources of this mineral are found in food, in natural products.
If the dose is more than 200 mg, it becomes toxic, and 3 g is fatal.
Lack or deficiency of chromium
There are several reasons for the lack of mineral in the body. Due to the introduction of certain fertilizers into the soil, it is supersaturated with alkaline compounds, which reduces the content of the element in our diet. But even if the intake of this mineral with products is complete, the absorption of chromium will be difficult with impaired metabolism. Also, the lack may occur due to heavy physical exertion, pregnancy, stress conditions — in cases when the mineral is actively consumed and additional sources are needed to replenish it.
If there is a lack of trace elements, glucose is absorbed inefficiently, so its content may be underestimated (hypoglycemia) or overestimated (hyperglycemia). Increases the level of cholesterol and blood sugar. This leads to an increased craving for sweets — the body requires carbohydrates and not only “sweet” ones. Excessive carbohydrate consumption leads to an even greater loss of chromium — a vicious circle. In the end, there are diseases such as overweight (in the case of hypoglycemia-a sharp weight loss), diabetes, atherosclerosis.
Also, if there is a lack of chromium, you can observe the following consequences (symptoms):
- sleep disorders, restless States;
- growth retardation;
- visual impairment;
- reduced sensitivity of the feet and hands;
- the work of neuromuscular complexes is disrupted;
- male reproductive function decreases;
- excessive fatigue is observed.
If there is a deficiency of chromium, if it is not possible to replenish its reserves with meals, it is necessary to add dietary supplements to your diet, but before using it, you need to consult a doctor about doses and methods of administration.
The excess of chrome — what’s the harm?
Basically, an overabundance of chromium in organs and tissues occurs due to poisoning at enterprises whose technological process includes the presence of chromium and its dust. People who work in harmful industries and come into contact with this element are ten times more likely to get respiratory cancer, since chromium affects the chromosomes and, accordingly, the structure of cells. Chromium compounds are also present in slags and copper dust, which leads to asthmatic diseases.
An additional risk of an overabundance of trace elements may occur if you take dietary supplements incorrectly without a doctor’s recommendation. If a person is deficient in zinc or iron, an excessive amount of chromium is absorbed instead.
In addition to the above-mentioned ailments, an excess of chromium can be harmful by the fact that ulcers on the mucous membranes, allergies, eczema and dermatitis, and nervous disorders may appear.
What food sources do they contain?
What foods can I use to replenish my chromium supply? The most valuable product in this case is brewer’s yeast, and you can also use beer, but within reasonable limits without harm to health. Liver, nuts, seafood, sprouted wheat grains, peanut butter, barley, beef, eggs, cheese, mushrooms, and bread made from coarse flour are also rich in this trace element. Vegetables include cabbage, onions, radishes, legumes, green peas, tomatoes, corn, rhubarb, beets, and fruits and berries — Rowan, apples, blueberries, grapes, blueberries, sea buckthorn. Brewing seagulls from medicinal plants (dried fruit, lemon balm), you can also recharge with chromium.
Highly refined products are poor in this trace element: sugar, pasta, fine flour, corn flakes, milk, butter, margarine. In General, food with a high fat content is always poorer in trace elements than food with a low content. And yet, in products, chrome will be preserved better if they were prepared in a stainless steel dish.
Indications for the use of chromium preparations
Chromium-containing drugs are prescribed to people who are engaged in sports or work related to physical activity, as well as those who want to reduce body fat.
Due to its beneficial properties, chromium is used to treat hypoglycemia, diabetes in conditions of too high cholesterol.
Medications containing chromium are prescribed for both prevention and treatment of diseases:
- kidneys and liver;
- allergic reaction;
- heart failure.
The need for trace elements increases so much during pregnancy that there is even a so-called diabetes of pregnant women with its deficiency.
Regular consumption of chromium in the form of tablets reduces the release of calcium in the urine, which can prevent osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
The benefits of chromium for men are shown in its ability to prevent problems with potency.
Use of chromium for weight loss
Information about the miraculous effect of chromium on weight loss has been widely disseminated-especially in weight loss techniques.
Indeed, by regulating blood sugar levels, it significantly reduces the need for sweets and attacks of “wolfish appetite”.
It is also able to speed up the metabolism, so it can be an excellent ally in the fight against overweight, but not a “magic pill” that will solve the problem for a person.
The use of chromium for weight loss should be accompanied by constant power loads: then a useful trace element will help build muscle mass and break down fat.
In addition, chromium-containing drugs without the use of special diets help prevent the harm of fat deposits and remove dangerous carcinogens.
Another useful property of the trace element for the metabolism is normalizing and restoring the functions of the thyroid gland.
Chromium also acts in favor of stimulating reproductive function in a woman’s body.
Daily norm of chromium
A properly balanced diet should provide us with the right amount of chromium — for an adult, it will be 0.05-0.2 mg per day.
For children, a sufficient norm will be 0.02 mg, adolescents are shown to use from 0.02 to 0.03 mg of the microelement, and for people with a sedentary lifestyle, it will be necessary to provide the lower limit of the daily norm-0.05 mg.
For nursing mothers, it is necessary to increase the content of the useful substance, since the baby will be able to receive a useful trace element only with mother’s milk: this will require 0.05-0.2 mg of its intake daily. This rate is comparable to the need for chromium athletes – from 0.15 to 0.2 mg.
What affects the body’s absorption of chromium
Our body receives chromium, which is important for health, in compounds in food, water, and air.
Absorption of the microelement is carried out mainly by the jejunum, and excretion-mainly by the kidneys – up to 80%, as well as by the lungs, skin (including those with hair loss) and intestines. A lot of chromium contains bile.
When using supplements with a trace element, it is necessary to take into account the list of drugs that can enhance its absorption by the body.
- vitamin C;
- nicotinic acid;
- naproxen and others.
Symptoms of chromium deficiency in the body
Chronic fatigue, irritability, frequent headaches, and increased cravings for sweets may indicate that our body is “asking” for this useful trace element.
It should be borne in mind that more frequent than ever, the desire for sweets and “wolfish appetite” can be caused by stress-and then even the use of supplements of the element in tablets will not benefit.
See also: Vitamins for dogs for bones and ligaments
Increased consumption of simple carbohydrates: sugar, carbonated beverages, refined wheat flour products can lead to the loss of chromium along with urine and reduce its benefits for the body.
Heat treatment also reduces the useful content of trace elements in the composition of products.
In the course of experiments on animals, it was found that chromium deficiency threatens to harm growth delays, neuropathies and disorders of the nervous system, as well as a decrease in the properties of fertilization in spermatozoa.
In addition, the lack of an element in the body can manifest itself:
- perforation of the nasal septum;
- allergic diseases, including-asthmatic bronchitis, bronchial asthma;
- asthenic-neurotic disorders;
- increasing the risk of developing cancer.
Indicators of chromium imbalance in the body are the following:
- constant thirst;
- fatigue, irritability;
- disorders of the nervous system;
- risk of female infertility and male impotence.
What is the danger of excess chromium in the body
If you use products containing organic chromium every day, then the harm of an overdose of the element is not threatened. The risk only occurs if you systematically use too high doses of supplements.
In this case, the body’s absorption of chromium antagonists-iron and zinc-will decrease, and insulin production will also be disrupted.
Excess of the trace element is manifested by the harmful toxic effect on the body in the form of:
- dizziness, nausea, tendency to fainting;
- stomach ulcers, liver and kidney problems.
Now that we know what the benefits and harms of chromium are, interest in it is returning not only in the context of fighting overweight and burning excess fat. If you use its properties to normalize metabolism, strengthen the work of the cardiovascular and nervous systems, bone tissue, and purify the body, then this element will cease to be one of many abstract chemical elements and will turn into a means of protecting human health.