Are you getting your daily dose of chromium?

It can normalize your blood sugar, favorably alter your cholesterol profile, reduce your body fat, boost your lean body mass, and even cheer you up and curb your carb cravings. Likewise, deficiencies have been associated with glucose intolerance and heart disease. Chromium – an essential trace mineral naturally found in brewer’s yeast, beer, liver, beef, whole grains and some seafood – plays an important role in your health. Yet the average American diet may lack the recommended daily range of 50 to 200mcg.

A few factors can cut into our daily intake or deplete the body’s levels, especially if they’re low to begin with – for instance:

  • Poor growing soil
  • Diets high in simple sugars (making up more than 35 percent of caloric intake)
  • Infection
  • Acute exercise
  • Pregnancy and lactation
  • Emotional and physical stress

Doctors suggest supplementing with 200mcg chromium per day and, in some cases, up to 1000mcg, a level that’s considered safe. However, if you have diabetes, supplementation may enhance the effects of insulin and other blood-sugar-lowering drugs and lead to hypoglycemia – so supplement with chromium only under your doctor’s supervision.

Chromium is sold as a single-ingredient supplement (as chromium chloride, chromium nicotinate, chromium picolinate, GTF chromium, high-chromium yeast, and chromium citrate) as well as in combination formulas. Doses typically range from 50 to 200mcg. Whichever type you choose, look for 200mcg per dose.

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