vitamin bottlesTheoretically, chromium should aid weight control, since this trace mineral enhances insulin activity, the hormone that regulates blood sugar and fat levels while stimulating protein synthesis in muscles. It made sense when preliminary research found that athletes lost more body fat and gained more lean tissue (i.e., muscle) when they took chromium supplements.  These initial studies were seriously flawed and subsequent studies did not support the chromium-weight loss connection. If there is any benefits of chromium to weight loss, they are minor at best. However, some people report some weight loss when they increase chromium intake, so there might be something to this issue; unfortunately, with so many pieces still missing in the puzzle, we just don’t know.

There is evidence that many Americans’ diets are low in chromium, so increasing your intake by eating more whole grains, bran breakfast cereals, canned vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, raisins, nuts, mushrooms, oysters, chicken, meat, seafood, and other chromium-rich foods is important for overall health. Boosting your chromium intake with better food choices or supplements (limit the dose to no more than 200 micrograms a day) will help manage blood sugar, which could help side-step diabetes later in life. Whether it will transform your body into that lean, muscular number in the supplement ads is highly unlikely. But then, I bet you already knew that!

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