Eating a diet high in sugars satisfies and rewards both the pleasure and pain centres of your brain. When your blood glucose levels become too low, the desire to seek out sugar becomes amplified, impacting your chromium levels and blood glucose metabolism.
What’s with sugar?
Once you start eating foods high in sugar, it can be hard to stop. Sugary foods are typically high in calories and low in both nutrients and fibre, and their ability to make you ‘feel good’ makes them easier to overeat. High-sugar diets increase the excretion of chromium in the urine which can leave you needing more of this important mineral. Low levels of chromium have been found in those who consume a high sugar diet.
What is chromium?
Chromium is an essential trace mineral well known for its role in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism in general, and glucose metabolism in particular; chromium is a co-factor in all insulin-regulated activities in the body. Chromium picolinate and chromium chloride are two trivalent forms of chromium; the same form of chromium mainly found in foods and the form your body can utilise. Trivalent chromium is the most stable form of chromium and has the best bioavailability and absorption. Chromium is found throughout the body, although the highest concentrations are found in the bones, spleen, liver and kidneys.
Low levels of chromium
Although a chromium deficiency is relatively rare, low levels of chromium are very common as good dietary sources of chromium are scarce, so chromium intake is generally low. Increased urinary excretion of chromium due to a diet high in simple sugars or refined carbohydrates, strenuous exercise, infection, pregnancy, breastfeeding, periods of stress and corticosteroid medications (typically used for inflammatory and autoimmune conditions) all increase the requirement for chromium. See Chromium MAX.
Chromium and glucose metabolism
Chromium is particularly important for healthy carbohydrate and glucose metabolism. Chromium is a component of Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF), considered the biologically active form of chromium involved in glucose metabolism. Through GTF, chromium acts as a co-factor that boosts the activity of insulin, increasing tissue sensitivity to insulin, and assists in the uptake of glucose from the blood into the cells so it can be used for energy. See GlucoPlex.
Benefits of chromium:
- An important component of GTF, the biologically active form of chromium
- Involved in glucose metabolism
- Assists in the uptake of glucose into cells
- Requirements are increased when consuming a diet high in sugar
- Athletes or those involved in strenuous exercise may have increased requirements for chromium
- Necessary for carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism
- Assists in the maintenance of general wellbeing