Last update on 9 July 2014 by Dr Cécile Loï

What is the role of chromium ?


Chromium contributes to maintain a normal blood glucose level and contributes to normal macronutrient metabolism such as lipids, proteins and carbohydrates metabolism.

After ingestion of a meal that contains carbohydrates (sugars), the amount of glucose (simple sugar) in the blood will increase. Glucose is indispensable to correct functioning of the body : it is the main “fuel”. If our brody requires more energy than that provided by the glucose in the glucose, it will strip into a “reserve” in the liver : glucose is stored as glycogen.

Blood glucose is measured by a blood test performed fasting. Blood glucose must normally be between 0,70 and 1,10 g glucose/L of blood. Below, it is called hypoglycemia (sweat, shiver, palpitations, behavioural disorder leading to possible loss of consciousness) : the brain is in danger because there is enough “fuel”.
Above, it is called hyperglycemia leading to diabetes. Our body has developed complex mechanismes regulating blodd sugard involving several hormones , including:

– glucagon to raise blood glucose
– insuline to lower blood glucose (figure 1)

The hormones are themselves regulated carefully. For example, chromium increases the efficiency of insulin (1). In it absence, the amount of insulin required to lower glycemia will be higher. However, too much insulin in the blodd favour storage of fate and can lead an insulin resistance, in other words the loss of efficiency which may finally lead to diabetes.

Figure 1 : Regulating glycemia by insulin


Références :

1. Anderson, R.A.  Chromium nutrition in the elderly.  In:  Handbook of Nutrition in the Aged, ed. R.R. Watson, Chapter 22, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL , 1993.






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