Chromium is a mineral that helps to maintain normal blood glucose levels by enhancing the effects of insulin. Your body also needs chromium for healthy carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism.
Best Food Sources
Rich sources of chromium include processed meats, broccoli, green beans, mushrooms and whole-grain products, particularly bran cereals. Refined grains have been shown to have less chromium content than whole grains. And, if you need another reason to choose whole-grain products: foods high in simple sugars have been shown to cause chromium loss. If you are interested in determining the chromium content in your diet, you should know that it’s hard to measure the chromium in foods, so that information is not available for all foods. It is likely that you’ll meet the recommended intakes just by including chromium-rich foods in your diet, especially because chromium is widespread (in small amounts) in our food system.
Inadequate Intake and Deficiencies
Chromium deficiency has only been reported in a handful of individuals on tube or intravenous feedings that didn’t include chromium. Their signs and symptoms were unexplained weight loss, increased insulin requirements, impaired glucose tolerance and abnormal functioning of the nerves.
Because chromium is poorly absorbed, it is highly unlikely that excess intake from food or supplement sources will cause harmful effects. However, the National Institutes of Health note that chromium supplements have not yet been proven safe or effective, so stick to the recommended intakes.