Chromium is an essential mineral, consumed through the diet. It is found in trace amounts in plant products, specifically grains.
Chromium regulates insulin in the body. It is sometimes supplemented to improve insulin action in the body.
When chromium is supplemented by people with normal or elevated chromium levels, no reliable effect is achieved. Besides a mild decrease in fasting glucose, no diabetes-related biomarkers are improved.
People with a subclinical chromium deficiency (below optimal, but not a true deficiency) may experience benefits when supplementing chromium, but more research is required to confirm this effect. True chromium deficiencies, characterized by inactive chromodulin, are rare.
Chromium’s main mechanism is directly tied to chromodulin. Chromodulin, a protein, normally augments the signaling of insulin receptors. If this protein is impaired, insulin’s ability to work in the body is greatly reduced.
Though chromium supplementation is not effective for diabetics, taking chromium alongside a proven therapy may help fight depression and the snacking associated with binge eating. Further research is needed to determine chromium’s exact mechanism during these effects.