Chromium: A Beneficial Mineral for Weight Loss

Dr. Arjuna Veeravagu, ND RAc

Successfully losing weight is challenging for many patients. This is especially true when insulin resistance is one of the underlying causes of weight gain.  When the body’s cells’ sensitivity to insulin decreases the usual interventions of eating healthier, exercising more and getting more sleep often aren’t effective in leading to weight loss.

Insulin is a hormone produced by our pancreas organ that assists blood sugar (glucose) to enter our cells from the bloodstream. Glucose uptake by our cells is extremely important as it is their main energy source!  Various factors including genetics, a high sugar/carbohydrate diet, prolonged stress and a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to our cells becoming resistant to insulin and being under-fueled by glucose.  This leads to high levels of both glucose and insulin in the bloodstream, which causes the increased glucose to be stored by the body as fat.

Chromium is an essential trace mineral required by the body.  It binds to glucose transporters on every cell and assists insulin in bringing glucose in from the bloodstream.  By providing this important function it can help patients with insulin resistance increase their sensitivity to the hormone, which in turn will lower blood glucose and insulin levels.  When high blood insulin and glucose levels are reduced to normal levels patients are more likely to lose excessive fat stores, especially when combined with a healthy low glycemic diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep and stress management.

In addition to assisting with weight loss, chromium’s effect on decreasing high insulin and glucose in the body may benefit many other conditions.  These including type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, glaucoma, depression, dementia, polycystic ovarian syndrome and heart attacks.

The typical therapeutic dosage of chromium is 200 to 400 milligrams daily with a meal.  Chromium is often found in combination nutritional supplement formula containing other herbs, vitamins and minerals including gymnema, vitamin D, vanadium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and taurine.  Chromium may interact with several medications including insulin, synthroid, prednisone, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and proton pump inhibitors.  Consult with your physician if you are on any of these medications and considering supplementing with chromium.

Chromium is an essential and powerful mineral that can have a significant impact on increasing insuling sensitivity, decreasing blood sugar levels and contributing to weight loss along with improving overall health.


Molecular Mechanisms of Chromium in Alleviating Insulin Resistance

Yinan HuaSuzanne ClarkJun Ren, and  Nair Sreejayan*

J Nutr Biochem. 2012 Apr; 23(4): 313–319.

Chromium As A Supplement: Henry Lukaski.  Annual Review of Nutrition
Vol. 19:279-302 (July 1999)