Chromium: A Healing Nutrient Profile

What does chromium do?
Chromium is an essential trace mineral, meaning that we need small amounts of it that our bodies can’t produce. The mineral helps the hormone insulin with the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat and protein. Chromium also normalizes blood sugar levels, and chromium supplements are being studied as a way to control blood sugar in people who have diabetes or are at risk for it.

How much chromium do you need?
The recommendations for adequate intake of chromium are:

  • 35 mcg for men ages 19 to 50
  • 30 mcg for men ages 51 and older
  • 25 mcg for women ages 19 to 50
  • 20 mcg for women ages 51 and older
  • 30 mcg for women who are pregnant
  • 45 mcg for women who are breastfeeding

Some people, such as those who need help controlling blood sugar, may need more of the mineral.|

Where can you get chromium?
Brewer’s yeast (also known as nutritional yeast) is the richest source of the mineral, but whole grains, meat and some fruits and vegetables are good sources of chromium. The amount of chromium in grains, fruits and vegetables depends somewhat on the amount of the mineral present in the soil in which they were grown.

FOOD SERVING SIZE AMOUNT OF CHROMIUM (mcg)
Brewer’s yeast 2 tbsp 168
Peas 1 cup 62
Corn 1 cup 61
Sea scallops 4 oz 60
Beef (round) 4 oz 56
Clams 4 oz 49
Sole 4 oz 46
Sweet potato 1 cup 41
Potato 1 medium 38
Lobster 4 oz 37
Apple, with skin 1 medium 36
Wheat berries, cooked 1 cup 36
Beer (average) 12 oz 34
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 30

You can look up the chromium content of other foods by referencing the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

Most of us get enough chromium through our diets. There’s some evidence that chromium supplements can help with cholesterol management, but the results are mixed. Contrary to locker room chatter, the latest research does not appear to support the idea that chromium supplements help build muscle and burn fat.

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