Chromium Deficiency: Causes and Treatment for Chromium Deficiency

Chromium deficiency is a deficiency disorder which occurs due to inadequate dietary consumption of the trace element, chromium. Unfortunately, there is little evidence about how the deficiency of the trace element occurs in humans. As per the United States dietary guidelines, the average adult intake of chromium required in adult males ranges between 30-35 while for females it ranges between 20.

However, the condition is often observed in hospitalized patients, who have been limited to a liquid diet, intravenously for prolonged period of time. The human body doesn’t contain any chromium containing molecules, yet the deficiency of the same is associated with various symptoms.

Chromium Deficiency Symptoms and Causes

  • Chromium deficiency can cause weight loss, confusion and nerve damage in the form of peripheral neuropathy.
  • A deficiency of chromium can cause impairment of glucose tolerance, which can lead to diabetes.
  • It is also a suspected factor in arteriosclerosis.
  • In some areas, protein-energy malnutrition appears to be associated with chromium deficiency.

Benefits of Chromium

Chromium is present in traces in all organic matter and seems to be an essential mineral. Chromium levels are higher in infants than women, 50-200 mcg in adults.

As a person grows older, he is able to retain less chromium in the body.

The concentration in human tissues varies greatly in different parts of the world, depending on dietary habits and on the amount of chromium in water supplies.

Chromium is a grayish-white metallic element. Little is known about the chemical forms in which it occurs in individual foods. Most of the intake of chromium is not absorbed and urinary excretion is low.

Functions of chromium in the Body

  • Chromium plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats.
  • It works with insulin in the metabolism of sugar.
  • It seems to increase the effectiveness of insulin, thereby facilitating the transport of glucose into the cells and not allowing the blood glucose levels to rise.
  • It helps to take protein where it is needed and also aids in growth.
  • Chromium has been found beneficial in the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure.
  • It also works as a preventive against diabetes.
  • Studies have also found that chromium supplements control total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and raise the HDL (the good cholesterol).
  • In some patients with impaired glucose tolerance, especially children with protein malnutrition, the tolerance to glucose has shown improvement after the patients have been given chromium supplements.
  • It is also claimed that a chromium supplement can control the symptoms of epilepsy.
  • The main food sources of chromium are betel leaves, arecanut, and nuts.