Recently, different chromium supplements have flooded the market, many of them claiming to be efficient for weight-loss. That being said, many people reach to chromium supplements to support weight loss, without knowing the exact function of chromium in the body, nor the other effects that those supplements may have on the health.
This article will guide you through the benefits of supplementing with chromium and will show you who might benefit the most from such supplementation. Besides, you will find out what the function of chromium is, and why supplementation can sometimes impose health risks.
This article does NOT intend to motivate the readers to start chromium supplementation. The purpose of the information in this article is entirely educational. RawBeautySource does not support or recommend micronutrient supplementation without medical consultation and supervision.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Why does your body need chromium?
Chromium is a mineral that is naturally present in different foods like brewer’s yeast, nuts, whole grains, meat, potatoes, cheese, fresh fruits and veggies.  However, most foods that are high in simple sugars (e.g, sucrose) and refined grains are naturally low in chromium and the regular consumption of such foods may lead to chromium imbalance in the body and even support loss of chromium. 
Your body needs very small daily amounts of chromium: about 25 mcg for women and 30 mcg for men aged 19-50. That being said, people who have a balanced and diverse diet, rich in whole foods, can get enough chromium through food sources.  However, western diet patterns suggest high consumption of processed foods that are actually low in chromium (as explained in the previous paragraph).
The role of chromium in the body is to support insulin function (support the body cells to use and transform glucose into energy), and stimulate healthy protein, carbohydrate, and fat metabolism. It also plays important role in healthy brain functioning. 
What Are The Benefits of Chromium Supplements?
Supplementing with chromium can help chromium deficiency or insufficiency and may result in various health benefits, including:
Improved insulin sensitivity
According to American Diabetes Association, supplementation with chromium may improve insulin sensitivity and help people with insulin resistance (when body cells don’t react to insulin and fail to efficiently use glucose for energy).
Insulin resistance often leads to significant weight gain, higher than normal blood sugar levels, and can even result in type 2 diabetes.
Supplementing with chromium may stimulate the effective use of blood glucose, prevent type 2 diabetes, balance blood sugar levels, and prevent/reduce weight gain resulting from insulin resistance.
Improved cholesterol levels
According to a study published in the Western Journal of Medicine, chromium may improve and balance your cholesterol profile. The research evidences that supplementation with 200 mcg chromium for 42 days may lead to slight increase in HDL (good cholesterol) and significant decrease in LDL (bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol levels.
This way, the intake of chromium may reduce the risk of artery buildup, heart disease, stroke, and hypertension.
Redused cravings for sugar and snacks
A medical study published in the Journal of Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics suggests that supplementation with chromium picolinate may positively affect overweight individuals who are predisposed to binge eating. The results of the study show that people who took 1000 mcg of chromium picolinate for 8 weeks reduced their food intake, fat cravings, hunger levels, and body weight, compared to individuals who took placebo.
Chromium supplement side effects?
Chromium supplementation (especially chromium picolinate) may have negative effect individuals suffering from the following health conditions  :
- Kidney disease
- Diabetes (using insulin)
- Liver disease
- Leather allergy
- Mental health disorder
- Thyroid disorder
Besides, if you take or use steroid medication, you should also avoid chromium supplements without your doctor’s approval.
The uncontrolled or inappropriate intake of chromium supplements may cause adverse effects like diarrhea, vomiting, coughing blood, or bloody stools.
Who should supplement with chromium?
Before supplementing with chromium you should consult your healthcare provider or dietitian, in order to prevent any adverse effects and health complications. Also keep in mind that medical experts may prescribe chromium supplements as part of more complex treatment plan.
That being said, chromium supplements can be often recommended to people who suffer from insulin resistance, prediabetes, metabolic syndrome, high LDL (bad cholesterol), high total cholesterol, high BMI, and other related conditions.
As we saw, the positive effects of chromium as a supplement are essential. But don’t forget to take them in the right dosage, under the supervision of your healthcare provider, and only when needed!