Chromium: Supplement of the Month?
Doc: I've been hearing a lot of talk lately about chromium, both on the news and from some friends in the health business. What exactly does it do, and do you feel it is a beneficial addition to a vitamin diet? Thanks!
You're right, Marc, there's a lot of buzz about chromium these days, notably this week's report that chromium has had "spectacular" results in normalizing glucose and insulin levels in diabetics. The Department of Agriculture study recommended that diabetics take 1,000 micrograms a day.
There's also been a lot promotion from the manufacturer of one form, chromium Picolinate. I did a quick search on the Web and found several ads for this product that make unsubstantiated claims like this one:
DIET BOOSTER TABLETS WITH Chromium Picolinate
3 STEP FAT ATTACK...
Appetite Suppressant to reduce cravings for food.
Fat Metabolizer for efficient metabolic breakdown of fats, carbs & proteins.
Diuretic Action assists in reducing excess fluids.
CHROMIUM PICOLINATE (200 micrograms) A natural fat metabolizer. This form of Chromium plays a vital role in the functioning of insulin responsible for regulating the efficient metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
These are megaclaims: chromium will help you lose weight, stabilize blood sugar, treat hypoglycemia, lower cholesterol, and improve blood fats. Unless you're deficient in chromium - and most people aren't - I don't think supplemental chromium will do anything for you. This is another example of the supplement-of-the-month mentality that we're seeing all the time. We all want to take a pill to solve our problems, and the manufacturers are happy to sell us these pills.