Today at Examine.com, we bring you a page on chromium, an essential mineral implicated in regulating glucose metabolism and insulin.
Chromium is found in plants, specifically grains. It is part of a protein called chromodulin. Chromodulin is responsible for the actions of insulin receptors, and it increases in activity as more chromium ions bind to it.
Supplementation of chromium should be examined through the frame of deficiency. A subclinical deficiency is when the body has lower than normal levels of chromium, but not to the point of a true deficiency. A true deficiency is characterized by inactive chromodulin. Supplementation of chromium is very beneficial during a true deficiency, but it is often touted as useful during a subclinical deficiency as well.
However, if there is no deficiency state, the evidence does not support chromium’s ability to enhance glucose metabolism in the body. Some researchers have observed benefits for insulin sensitivity, glucose, body weight and quality of life in diabetic people, but these effects are very unreliable, both in terms of frequency and magnitude.
Chromium supplementation may also be able to reduce carbohydrate cravings and binge eating patterns, but more research is needed to confirm these effects.