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Chromium:  The Glucose Tolerance Factor

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Chromium is a constituent ingredient of what is called the Glucose Tolerance Factor.  It works closely with insulin to facilitate the uptake of glucose into cells.  In individuals with impaired glucose tolerance, such as those with diabetes, hypoglycemia, and obesity, supplementation with chromium is of paramount importance.  Without chromium, blood sugar levels stay elevated because the action of insulin is blocked so that glucose is not transported into the cells.

Chromium supplementation has also led to weight loss in many studies.  However, chromium did not cause fat to be lost, but caused lean body mass to increase so that more fat could be burned.  The larger the muscle mass, the larger the amount of fat that can be potentially burned by the muscles (1).

Skins tests on those with Acne have found that, even though their blood glucose tests normal, their skin's glucose tolerance is significantly impaired (2).  Bacteria find a rich breeding ground anywhere that sugar is found.  If glucose isn't being transported into the cells to be used as energy, it is remaining in the blood stream, and stagnating in areas where bacteria can breed, thus producing infections in the skin, and also elsewhere in the body.

Chromium also has the effect of lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels in non-insulin dependent diabetics as well as non-diabetics (3).

There is no RDA for chromium.  However, researchers feel that we need at least 200 micrograms each day.  There are many forms of chromium, and research really does not show that one form is better than the other.  No studies have shown any toxic side effects.  However, there was one study in which participants reported increased dream activity, greater vividness and color in their dreams, and diminished sleep requirements (4).

Pregnant women often experience a deficiency because the fetus requires so much chromium.  Also, if one has a viral infection, chromium levels drop significantly (5).  Refined white sugar, white flour products, and lack of exercise can also deplete chromium.  Calcium carbonate and antacids can also interfere with absorption.

The Standard Process Cataplex GTF not only contains Chromium but also Niacin. Niacin must be present to be used as an electron carrier in the chemical reaction of breaking down glucose into ATP for energy.  Without sufficient Niacin, this reaction cannot take lace.  If there is not enough Niacin present, the body can convert Tryptophan into Niacin, but it takes 60 mg of Tryptophan to make one mg of Niacin, and there are several other vitamins and trace minerals necessary to this conversion as well. So when using Chromium for lowering blood sugar, one must use Niacin as well.   Click here to purchase.

Nutritional Sources of Chromium:

Brewer's Yeast, meat, liver and whole-wheat bread are the best sources.  Fruits and vegetables have very low levels.  Also, the chromium in eggs is very difficult to absorb.

Ailments for which Chromium supplementation may be beneficial:

High cholesterol
High triglycerides
Schizophrenia (5)

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Copyright 2005-13  Judie C. McMath and The Center for Unhindered Living


(1) Katts, G.R., Ficher, J.A. and Blum, K.  (1991).  The effects of chromium picolinate supplementation on body composition in different age groups.  Age, 14, 138 (Abstract #40).

(2) Abdel, K.M., et al.  (1977).  Glucose tolerance in blood and skin of patients with acne vulgaris.  Ind J Derm 22, 139-149.

(3) Murray, Michael T.  (1996).  Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. Rocklin, CA:  Prima Publishing, p. 196.

(4) Schrauzer G.N., Shrestha, K.P., and Flores, M.P.  (1992).  Somatopsychological effects of chromium supplementation. J Nutr Med, 3, 43-48.

(5)  Dunne, Lavon J.  (1990). Nutrition Almanac, 3rd ed.  New York:  McGraw-Hill, p. 70.