What are the causes and symptoms of chromium deficiency?

Emilia Klapp
Nutrition & Dietetics
Symptoms of a chromium deficiency include a craving for sweets, depression, a decrease in the body’s ability to metabolize glucose and fats, an inhibition in the body’s production of protein, and an increased production of too much cholesterol and triglycerides.
Daphne Goldberg
Family Medicine
Conditions such as diabetes and heart disease increase chromium excretion and therefore increase the amount of chromium needed by the body. Mental stress as well as physical injury and trauma also increase chromium excretion, plus they increase the body's need for chromium through another mechanism. When the body is under stress, it increases its output of certain hormones that can consequently alter blood sugar balance, creating the demand for more chromium.

Because commercial food processing methods remove most of the naturally occurring chromium from commonly consumed foods, dietary chromium deficiency is believed to be widespread in the United States. Insulin resistance, a condition where the body's cells do not respond to the presence of insulin signaling them to usher in glucose from the bloodstream, is associated with chromium deficiency. Insulin resistance can consequently cause hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia, diabetes, hypertension, elevated triglyceride levels, and low HDL cholesterol levels. In this form it is referred to as Syndrome X or metabolic syndrome, a condition associated with a much higher risk of heart and vascular disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.