Chromium probably doesn’t show up on the labels of many foods you eat. That’s because, despite its role in metabolism, it’s not considered essential by either the US or EU dietary councils. Despite that, Chromium can play an outsized role in helping us regulate food cravings and convert calories into energy (so we don’t store them as fat).
All of which means we can get our weight and our bodies to the places we want them. We’ll take a look at some scientific studies, and then find out where we can fit Chromium into our daily routines. And right before we kick things off for the language sticklers, Chromium Picolinate is just the dietary name for Chromium; for our purposes, they’re the same thing.
- Chromium is a naturally occurring mineral found in all sorts of animal and plant foods; it’s also what makes stainless steel stainless, and even what gives color to gemstones!
- In our bodies, Chromium plays an integral role in metabolism, especially in regulating insulin resistance.
- While many diets contain enough of this mineral, it’s difficult to absorb, with as much as 97% of Chromium going unabsorbed.
- One way to get enough Chromium is to go with a trusted supplement, which many times also includes a nutrient absorption booster like black pepper extract.
What is Chromium?
In brief, Chromium is a transitional metal. And yes, it’s the same thing that makes the shiny parts of cars and motorcycles. But in trace amounts (mcg, or micrograms), it’s pivotal to metabolic function. When it enters our system, especially at high doses, Chromium sets off a chain reaction that can result in better blood sugar and appetite suppression.
How Chromium Helps Us Lose Weight
Okay, we’re going to get technical, but only for a moment, I promise. The primary two benefits of Chromium can be best explained in terms of a normal hunger-eating cycle. So first we’ll start off with when we eat something, then work through the body processes.
Regulating Blood Sugar
When we eat, our bodies try to break everything down into the simplest molecule it can use, in most cases, sugar. Sugar can be metabolized (burned for energy) by every cell in our bodies.
When sugar hits our blood, it triggers what’s called the Insulin Response. This tells our pancreas to make insulin; the insulin tells our muscles to take the sugar out of the blood; and then we burn it as energy.
But when we have too much sugar in our blood over months and years, we develop Insulin Resistance. Our cells don’t listen to the insulin, the sugar stays in our blood unused, and then eventually is converted to fat.
Now back to Chromium: a landmark study showed that Chromium was so effective at regulating the Insulin Response it could even be useful in treating diabetes! For us, it means a Chromium supplement can regulate our blood sugar so we burn what we eat, and don’t store it as fat.
Ever wonder what makes us hungry, no matter how much you’ve eaten? It’s because of Insulin Resistance! No matter how much we eat, if the glucose in our blood isn’t taken up by the muscles and brain cells that need it because they’re ignoring the Insulin signal, then those same cells keep sending the message that they haven’t gotten any food.
And that’s the backend of how Chromium helps us lose weight. By regulating our blood sugar and insulin response, it helps us curb our snack and carb cravings. And it’s been backed up in studies! One from a few years ago found that women taking Chromium had such a huge reduction in food cravings and intake that they lost significant weight over just eight weeks!
Getting Your Daily Chromium
Okay, so you might be searching your fridge for Chromium, and there’s good news. It can be found in most meats and grains. Bad news is dairy and sugary foods have almost no Chromium. For context going forward, the recommended intake of Chromium is around 30 mcg, but most people absorb less than 3% of the Chromium they eat.
What does that mean? It means that getting Chromium in a reliable supplement that’s designed with an ingredient like BioPerine for better nutrient absorption could mean you get a better metabolic boost than simply eating Chromium in your diet.
Sources with Highest Chromium
- Grape Juice – 7.5 mcg
- Ham – 3.6 mcg
- English Muffin – 3.6 mcg
- Brewer’s Yeast – 3.3 mcg
Meanwhile, quality supplements like Hourglass Fit can have as much as 125 mcg of Chromium, plus the all-important BioPerine to make sure you’re absorbing every bit of it.
In the end, Chromium can make an excellent addition to your dietary supplement routine, especially if you’re taking it as part of a more complete formula that helps you absorb it. Remember, while many foods do contain Chromium, we need over 30 mcg of it a day–or ten servings of brewer’s yeast. Yuck. And that’s not even counting whether we even absorb it all.
Meanwhile, most of the studies showing the extreme results of Chromium used doses as high as 1,000 mcg. So choose your Chromium sources wisely–it could make all the difference.