Chromium deficiency is a condition where a level of chromium in the body is decreased.
Chromium is a mineral. It is called an “essential trace element” because very small amounts of chromium are necessary for human health. There are two forms of chromium: trivalent chromium (which can be found in foods and supplements) and hexavalent chromium (a toxin that causes lung cancer and skin problems).
The condition of chromium deficiency is very rare and occurs as the result of insufficient intake of chromium with the food.
The blood contains chromium about 20 parts per billion (ppb) – a fraction of a microgram. It is supposed that the concentration of chromium is associated with the incidence of atherosclerosis and diabetes in the population and cardiovascular risk. Therefore chromium was named glucose tolerance factor (GTF). It can improve insulin sensitivity in the form of chromodulin and enhance protein, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism.
Approximately 2% of ingested chromium(III) is absorbed, with the remainder being excreted in the feces. Amino acids, vitamin C and niacin may enhance the uptake of chromium from the intestinal tract.
The US dietary guidelines for adequate daily chromium intake is:
30–35 µg for an adult male per day;
20–25 µg for an adult female per day.
For infants and children, the recommended doses are:
Up to 6 months: 0.2 µg per day;
From 7 to 12 months: 5.5 µg per day;
From 1 to 3 years: 11 µg per day;
From 4 to 8 years: 15 µg per day.
See also: Vitamin B1 deficiency (thiamine)
Chromium is found in:
high-bran breakfast cereals;
lentis and peas;
some brands of wine and beer.
A well-balanced diet that includes fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, and grains should easily cover dietary needs of chromium.
Causes and risk factors
A high consumption of simple sugars interferes with the absorption of chromium increases the excretion of the metal through urine. Long-term total parental nutrition is also associated with the chromium deficiency.
The connection between chromium deficiency and metabolic syndrome X (increased blood pressure + high blood sugar levels + excess fat around the waist + high triglyceride levels + low levels of good cholesterol) is suggested.
Possible symptoms of chromium deficiency are:
impaired glucose tolerance (high blood sugar after eating);
impaired lipid metabolism;
high sensitivity to alcohol;
tachycardia (increased heart rate) after light exercises and bradycardia (decreased heart rate) during the everyday activities;
decreased growth in young people;
slower healing time;
increased risk of development atherosclerosis.
Chromium is used intravenously (by IV) as a supplement in nutritional IV drips.