Chromium is a mineral that is essential for your body's nutritional needs, yet it is a hard metal that, in its natural state, is difficult for your body to absorb. Hmmm. That sounds like it could be a problem, even a contradiction of human biology, except such minerals can be chelated, or bound, to another compound to enhance its absorption capability. Such is the case with GTF chromium. In the case of glucose tolerant factor (GTF) chromium, its binding ‘partner' is niacin (vitamin B3). As such, GTF chromium in nutritional supplement form bound to niacin and now in a state to be readily absorbed, serves a number of healthful purposes to include contributing to the optimal function of insulin while also enhancing cholesterol metabolism, which benefits those with high cholesterol, per healthfully.com. It can also reduce blood-sugar levels for people who are hypoglycemic, and it has been singled out for its possible positive influence on athletic performance.
What Do We Know about GTF Chromium?Chromium's apparent ability to regulate glucose metabolism was first identified in the 1950s through research conducted by scientist Walter Mertz and co-workers performing experiments that involved regulating the diet of rats. What they found was that a diet lacking the proper dietary amount of chromium resulted in test subjects being unable to respond effectively to heightened levels of glucose in the blood, per dietspotlight.com. As for humans, we don't require large amounts of the metallic substance in our bodies, but what little we do need we really must have. Not only is chromium involved in the metabolic processes that control blood sugar, it also aids in the transportation of glucose into cells via insulin, where the glucose can help produce energy, per dietspotlight.com. As for its sources, very small amounts of chromium – hence its being classified as a ‘trace metal' – can be found in a variety of animal and plant tissues. Sources include brewer's yeast, coffee, tea, potatoes, peas, oysters, whole grains, and even beer.
GTF Chromium's Potential Health BenefitsFollowing is an expanded look at how chromium can be beneficial to human health in several respects:
- Insulin function. Earlier we mentioned chromium and the glucose tolerance factor as it relates to insulin and the proper metabolism of blood glucose (sugar). Per healthfully.com, we find through the 1999 book Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease that chromium potentiates (bolsters) insulin's activity and also appears to affect fat and protein metabolism, assisting in the breakdown of these nutrients in preparation of their use as energy in your body.
- Muscle growth and repair. Chromium promotes and expedites the movement of amino acids toward your muscles, where they can assist in stimulating muscle growth and repair.
- Regulate cholesterol levels. Per a study referenced at healthfully.com, researchers gave test subjects 200 milligrams of chromium supplements every day for 42 days, resulting in the lowering of total cholesterol while providing a slight bump in good cholesterol (HDL). However, it is generally recommended that chromium not replace whatever traditional high cholesterol treatment you might be receiving. Better yet, discuss taking chromium with your physician before making it a part of your daily dietary plan.
- Hypoglycemia. This is a condition most often associated with significantly low blood sugar levels, which can be accompanied by such symptoms as dizziness, confusion, muscle weakness, and fatigue, and, in severe cases, heart palpitations, coma, and death, per healthfully.com. Chromium assists in the regulation of blood sugar levels for diabetics by ensuring that normal, balanced glucose amounts are contained in your bloodstream.
- Reduce food cravings. That can only mean one thing, if effective in a particular person – a possible weight-loss aid, per newsmax.com. Again, be sure to discuss with your physician.
- Athletic performance. This has to do with chromium's knack for enhancing insulin sensitivity as well as carbohydrate metabolism during exercise, per healthfully.com. There have also been reports that supplementing with chromium can increase lean body mass and reduce body fat, in the process improving body composition in athletes.