The concept of using minerals to maintain good health may sound very obscure.

However, minerals—technically called trace elements—are fundamental for the proper function of the human body.(1-3) The name “trace elements” derives from the fact that they are needed in a very low – or “trace”- concentration to achieve their metabolic function.(1,3) Of these microelements, I would like to concentrate on chromium, a mineral whose role in healthy living is better understood as our knowledge in nutritional sciences advances.

Chromium is considered an essential trace element, along with other minerals such as zinc and selenium. In other words, chromium is considered an essential element because its deficit is associated with human disease.(3)

Chromium is often a topic of interest because of its role in the regulation of the glucose metabolism.  Tweet This! So what exactly does that mean for us? Chromium can play a key part in:

  • improving the body’s utilization of dietary sugars
  • increasing the efficacy of the insulin produced by the body,
  • improving cholesterol metabolism.(1-3)

In general, a complete diet could provide adequate levels of intake of chromium. Chromium is widely distributed in the food supply. Typical dietary sources of chromium include meats, whole grain products, fruits, vegetables and spices. Adequate intake values of chromium range between 30-35 mcg each day for males and 20-25 mcg each day for females.

According to the USDA(8) below are some of the best food sources for obtaining more chromium naturally through your diet:

Food Chromium (mcg)
Broccoli, ½ cup 11
Grape juice, 1 cup 8
English muffin, whole wheat, 1 4
Potatoes, mashed, 1 cup 3
Garlic, dried, 1 teaspoon 3
Basil, dried, 1 tablespoon 2
Beef cubes, 3 ounces 2
Orange juice, 1 cup 2
Turkey breast, 3 ounces 2
Whole wheat bread, 2 slices 2
Red wine, 5 ounces 1–13
Apple, unpeeled, 1 medium 1
Banana, 1 medium 1
Green beans, ½ cup 1


1) World Health Organization. Trace elements in Human Nutrition and health. 1996 p 155-159

2) Anderson R. Chromium and an essential nutrient for humans. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 1997:26, S35–S41

3) Bhattacharya PT, Misra SR, Hussain M. Nutritional Aspects of Essential Trace Elements in Oral Health and Disease: An Extensive Review. Scientifica 2016

4) Husain N. and Mahmood R. Hexavalent chromium induces reactive oxygen species and impairs the antioxidant power of human erythrocytes and lymphocytes: Decreased metal reducing and free radical quenching ability of the cells. Toxicology and Industrial health. 2017; 33(8):623-635 Essential trace elements

5) Yanni AE1, Stamataki NS2, Konstantopoulos P3Stoupaki M4, Abeliatis A5, Nikolakea I2, Perrea D3, Karathanos VT2, Tentolouris N4.Controlling type-2 diabetes by inclusion of Cr-enriched yeast bread in the daily dietary pattern: a randomized clinical trial. European Journal of Nutrition 2016

6) Vincent JB. Recent advances in the nutritional biochemistry of trivalent chromium. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (2004), 63, 41–47

7) Brown AC. Kidney toxicity related to herbs and dietary supplements: Online table of case reports. Part 3 of 5 series. Food and Chemical Toxicity. 2017;107:502-519


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