Chromium is an essential trace mineral that potentiates insulin action and thus influencescarbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. The biologically active form of chromium, sometimescalled glucose tolerance factor (GTF), occurs naturally in brewers yeast. GTF has been proposed tobe a complex of chromium, nicotinic acid (vitamin B- 3), and possibly the amino acids glycine, cysteine and glutamic acid. Although many attempts have been made to isolate or synthesize natural GTF, nonehave been entirely successful. Adequate chromium nutrition is essential for the formation of GTF andsubsequent control of blood glucose levels.
Studies have shown that supplemental chromiummay be useful for the maintenance of healthy blood sugar. Chromium appears to act by increasing insulinbinding, insulin receptor numbers and rate of insulin receptor phosphorylation. Chromium absorption istypically less than 2% efficient and variable depending on its chemical form. Studies havedemonstrated that chromium picolinate has a bioavailability comparable to that of chromiumpolynicotinate, and higher than that of chromium chloride. Tissues retain anywhere from 2 to 8 timesmore chromium from chromium picolinate compared to chromium chloride.
The typical dietary chromium intake in the U.S. can vary considerably depending on eating habits. Meatsand unrefined whole grain cereal products, especially bran, are good sources of chromium. However, mostself-selected diets contain less than 50 mcg per day, which is below the minimum of the Estimated Safeand Adequate Daily Dietary Intake established by the National Research Council, Food and NutritionBoard. Chromium requirements may be increased with high intake of refined carbohydrates and simplesugars, strenuous physical exercise or work, infection or physical trauma.
Adults take 1 capsule daily or as directed by physician.