Chromium intake is said to increase insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and converting high-density lipoprotein cholesterol to low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Chromium deficiency is characterized by hypoglycemia, glycosuria (glucose in the urine), and weight loss that can’t be controlled with insulin.
The authors studied cardiovascular risk factors in comparison to toenail chromium levels as an indication of chromium intake.
In men, there was an inverse relationship between the risk of a first myocardial infarction, or heart attack, and chromium toenail levels. Low chromium appears to indicate an elevated risk of cariovascular disease in men. There is increasing evidence of the importance of chromium in cardiovascular health.
Among the controls that did not have heart attacks, toenail chromium levels were inversely related to age. The chromium levels declined, on the average, 9% with each decade of age.
Foods high in chromium include whole grains, green beans, broccoli, and bran cereals. Refined sugars promote the loss of chromium from the body. The use of stainless steel equipment in processing foods adds chromium, especially to acidic foods. “Adequate Intake” is 35 mcg. per day for men and 25 mcg. per day for women.
Trivalent chromium is the form that is useful for the body and industrial chromium is hexavalent. The authors state that therapeutic levels should be higher than those now used.
CONCLUSION: The authors demonstrate a relationship of low chromium and high risk of cardiovascular disease and chromium levels tend to drop off with aging. Increased intake of chromium is advised for those with low chromium. This is in addition to the already demonstrated correlation of low chromium with increased risk of diabetes mellitus.
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