How Does Chromium Affect Blood Sugar Control?


Quick Answer

The ability of chromium to control blood sugar levels remains unproven. It is theorized that supplemental chromium may positively impact the body’s ability to utilize glucose effectively by correcting an underlying deficiency, which in turn reverses cellular insulin resistance, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.

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Full Answer

The body tightly regulates the amount of glucose that is allowed to circulate in the bloodstream. When a person eats more sugar in the form of either simple or complex carbohydrates, the pancreas responds by secreting insulin, as the National Center for Biotechnology Information indicates. This insulin helps enable cells in the body to transport and utilize the glucose molecules for energy. Insulin also signals the body to store glucose for future energy requirements. It also regulated further glucose production, based on blood-glucose levels.

People who are deficient in chromium are unable to correctly respond to and process glucose in their bloodstream, says the Office of Dietary Supplements. This is largely because their cells have become less responsive to the insulin they produce. Since the body's cells no longer sense the signal sent by insulin as well as they used to, the pancreas has to increase the signal by secreting more insulin, as the National Center for Biotechnology describes. Since chromium deficiency adds to insulin resistance, it has been theorized that supplementation may improve the body’s ability to respond to insulin and, in turn, to better control blood sugar levels, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.

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