As understanding of nutritional chromium’s role in insulin function grows, a new area of research into its potential health benefits is emerging:
Science is revealing that increases in chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), traditionally regarded as normal consequences of aging, may actually be linked, in part, to poor diets – and are highly correlated with a deficiency of the essential nutrient chromium.
Chromium is known to enhance the body’s insulin activity for carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism, and to control glucose levels. Decreased chromium levels have been linked with poor insulin function – associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, CVD and atypical depression.
A scientific review of “Chromium & Aging” was presented at the “Second International Congress on Nutrition and Aging,” July 10–14, and indicated that insulin function is central to many biological factors that contribute to disease. It was suggested that some of the diseases viewed solely as a natural result of the aging process are, in fact, affected by insulin function and chromium intake.
While aging has a negative effect on disease risk factors for CVD and type 2 diabetes, chromium has been shown to have positive effects on the same factors. The preventive potential of chromium has been realized in some research – supplementation increased lifespan in rats by 33% –but further study is needed.
Meanwhile, research indicates that most Americans do not consume adequate amounts of chromium in their diets, and that our chromium levels decrease with age.
Chromium supplementation can be a safe, effective way to help ensure optimal intake. A number of clinical studies have shown that daily supplementation, especially in the form of chromium picolinate, can enhance insulin function.