What is it?
Chromium is a mineral that humans require in trace amounts, although its mechanisms of action in the body and the amounts needed for optimal health are not well defined. It is found primarily in two forms: 1) trivalent (chromium 3+), which is biologically active and
found in food, and 2) hexavalent (chromium 6+), a toxic form that results from industrial
pollution. This page focuses only on the trivalent form.
It is known to enhance the action of insulin, a hormone critical to the metabolism and storage of carbohydrate, fat, and protein in the body. In 1957, a compound in brewers' yeast was found to prevent an age-related decline in the ability of rats to maintain normal levels of sugar (glucose) in their blood. It was identified
as the active ingredient in this so-called "glucose tolerance factor" in 1959.
This trace mineral also appears to be directly involved in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism, but more research is needed to determine the full range of its roles in the body.
Much more than Chromium is discussed back at the Natural Source Vitamins Homepage