Weight Loss Supplements: Chromium
Chromium is a naturally occurring trace mineral that has gained popularity as a slimming and sports supplement. This mineral is essential for the break-down of carbohydrates and fats. Chromium is also thought to work by increasing the action of insulin, which helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Many vitamin companies promote chromium as a weight loss supplement, by claiming it can suppress appetite, increase metabolism and burn body fat.
These claims have been tested in many trials, and the results have been mixed. Some studies have reported significant weight loss, whereas other studies have reported no change in body weight. A sensible approach would be to combine supplementation with a good diet and regular exercise.
An area where chromium may be of benefit is in supporting the pancreas and prevention of type 2 diabetes. In this form of diabetes, the pancreas usually produces enough insulin, but the body cannot use the insulin effectively. Insulin is important for regulating the amount of sugar in the blood. If there is insufficient insulin in the body, the blood sugar levels rise, and can lead to diabetes.
Chromium may prevent this by supporting the pancreas and allowing the body to use insulin more effectively. This mineral may also help to break down fats and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. These claims have not been confirmed as more evidence is required.
Chromium is found naturally in many foods:
Whole grain cereals
Whole grain bread
Chromium supplements are usually available in 200mcg capsules. This is the recommended dose for a weight-loss programme or to improve the utilisation of insulin. This dose will require a supplement as this amount will be hard to achieve through diet alone.
Chromium should be taken with or after food, as this helps its absorption. This mineral is also better absorbed when taken with Vitamin C (or a glass of orange juice). Calcium supplement s can reduce the absorption of chromium, so should not be taken together.
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