top of page

Insulin Resistance (Chromium deficiency)

If you have a “sweet tooth” or craving for starches you may benefit from Chromium.

If you are insulin resistant you’ll shunt protein away from areas that need it.

It is useful to note that the normal range of glucose in the bloodstream is 70-120. Diabetes is (almost arbitrarily) diagnosed when fasting levels are > 200.

Nestled between these two is Insulin Resistance which is functionally referred to as Hypoglycemia. BTW a blood sugar below 60 causes significant symptoms, from vision changes, fuzzy thinking, sweating, nausea, tremor and even passing out.

He are some key points;

First, it is important to know that the primary energy source in the body/cells is glucose or blood sugar. It come from several sources —– certainly processed sugar, natural sugar, complex carbohydrates or it is manufactured in the liver from protein/amino acids using gluconeogenesis—- and it is worth noticing that fats or oils can not be converted to glucose.

Second, it is pertinent that as we set out to “burn calories” we use glucose first, then protein/amino acids and then finally fats. [This is important because once you store calories as fat, it is used as a tertiary fuel or burned 3rd behind glucose and protein/amino acids]

Quick overview of Insulin Insulin is produced by the pancreas in response to ingestion of carbohydrates/sugars or to elevated blood levels of glucose.

Insulin works on three distinct levels, the cell [cellular], the liver or hepatic level and the brain.

Cellular level – it acts like a key allowing the glucose to enter. Chromium is necessary for this cellular function. If Chromium is lacking then more insulin is needed to do the same job.

Cerebral level [Brain] – it induces hunger (a very strong response that doesn’t rely on Chromium). The “sweet tooth” that some people experience 30 minutes after a meal is due to elevated insulin levels.

Hepatic level [Liver] – insulin has a third function (also Chromium independent). Elevated insulin levels signal the liver that there is “extra” glucose in the system. The liver then converts sugar to fat, thereby reducing blood sugar; this can lead to a precipitous drop in blood glucose – AKA hypoglycemia! This is because there is only a perceived excess of glucose, not an actual surplus. Therefore insulin resistance leads to the production of fat even though there is no real caloric excess and weight gain ensues.

It is worthwhile to mention that an exercising muscle does not need insulin to allow glucose to enter. This is helpful to diabetics as well as hypoglycemics.

You can see how these competing processes could lead to some problems. Without understanding the underlying physiology it is difficult to fix, but once we look at the components it is relatively easy.

Side note: The idea of eating small frequent meals is an attempt to minimize the effects of these abnormally high insulin levels and their backlash. Although this will help it doesn’t address the underlying problem of Chromium deficiency.

Chromium is a very safe. It is an essential trace mineral. The EPA states toxicity is seen above 70,000 mcg per day or a whopping 70 mg. Chromium actually increases insulin sensitivity and binding while increasing the number of insulin receptors as well. In studies people who took Chromium actually lost fat while gaining muscle without exercise…. ( I don’t like advertising the no exercise part)

Typically I recommend Chromium Picolinate 200 mcg twice a day to start [it can be gradually increased to 600mcg twice daily]

Incidence of Diabetes is rising!

Diabetes was in the 100th position in 1900 (99 ailments more common) however by 1936 it had risen to the 41st most common and today it is 3rd in occurrence (behind only heart disease and cancer)

This is quite alarming. What has changed in the past century to account for this rise?

Doctors like to blame diabetes on genetics but that would mean we’ve all mutated or diabetics have been having more children than non-diabetics (not super likely is it?). A Familial link makes more sense [things being more likely in a given family] because families EAT together. Does it make sense to you?

I think two things account for this change. One is our sugar consumption and the other is mineral depletion from our soil (specifically Chromium and Vanadium)

Sugar: In 1900, each person consumed 3 pounds of sugar per year. Currently individuals consume between 100 – 300 pounds of sugar yearly, 30-100 times more!

Minerals: In Senate document 264 (written in1936) it was noted that our farming methods were depleting the soil of trace minerals. In fact, farming the same land for seven years caused such mineral depletion that animals fed those crops had problems ranging from “failure to thrive”, birth defects and infertility to name a few.

In another report I found the Chromium levels in our soils had plummeted between 1948 to 2001. [1000 times less Chromium in the dirt/soil of our farmlands !] Remember, Plants cannot make minerals.

In 1958 we began supplementing the diets of domesticated pigs and cows with Chromium (Glucose Tolerance Factor), a trace mineral, preventing diabetes in these animals. In spite of gaining of a pound per day (an actual goal), these animals do not get diabetes in domestication (and have not for the past 53 years). Of course, one of the risk factors for Diabetes is weight gain.

It took almost forty years for a worthwhile human study! Human studies were conducted in 1997 by Dr. Anderson. He utilized a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial, to show conclusively that chromium supplementation can dramatically improve blood sugars of diabetics (published in the journal Diabetes). Average blood sugar in the study group was 210 (normal being 70-120). The treatment group that received 1,000mcg [or one millionth of a gram per day] had the remarkable 80 point improvement [down to an average glucose of 130] nearly normalizing the values. Where the non-treatment group (placebo) had the same average reading of 210. Amazing results, Did you hear about this study? I saw it in one “throw away” journal.

Typically, when a successful small [albeit statistically significant and valid] study like this one is published there are efforts to do a much larger study [with thousands of people], but as of yet no such study is in the works. Makes me wonder why. Is it Big Business at work or is it just human nature to resist a shift in paradigm ?

Can the average Diabetic benefit from Chromium ?

Yes, but it is very important educate yourself and measure your glucose readings closely. Always consult with your health care provider before changing any medications.

How long does it take to work?

In the study above the results were seen in 3-4 months.

People with insulin resistance and a “sweet tooth” may see improvement of symptoms within a few days.

Final thoughts: All of us can benefit by reducing the amount of sugar we consume.

Choosing to eat fruit rather than drinking fruit juice is an effective start [apple juice is loaded with sugar with 27 grams per cup where an apple contains around 18 grams and gives 5 grams of fiber]


Recent Posts

See All

Vitamin B6 Deficiency and YOU

Let me start by making a few points about the B vitamins in general. Think of the B vitamins as being the “worker B’s”. The help build and modify various molecules needed in energy production and ther

Is your Appetite out of Hand?

Do your diet results only last a few months? Have you lost the same 15-20 pounds four or five times over the years? Are you having trouble in your efforts to lose weight and get lean? Is exercising an


bottom of page