RDA is around 25 micrograms.
Chromium is an essential trace element needed for healthy skin, bone, muscle, hair and blood. We need only a very small amount on a daily basis -the UK says 25 micrograms and the USA says 40 to 200 micrograms.
Food processing removes up to 80% of chromium, while only a fraction of the original food content is actually absorbed.
Where do you get chromium?
It is in asparagus, beetroot, black pepper, cheese, chicken, whole grains, eggs, liver, potato skins, brewer’s yeast, vegetables and seafood.
It is found in hard water, and drinking moderate amounts will give you about half of your daily chromium requirement.
It helps in the processing of fats and carbohydrates, and helps cells respond to insulin. It helps control cholesterol and fat in the blood, and is involved with the hunger centre in the brain. It makes you feel full; a fact made use of in some dietary products.
Too much chromium
Toxicity is unusual because of its poor absorption and rapid excretion, even if taken in supplements.
Too little chromium
Low levels occur in people with a poor diet. Mild deficiency may cause abnormal blood sugar levels, tiredness and anxiety. More severe symptoms include lack of energy, sweating, dizziness, confusion, hunger, excessive thirst and blurred vision usually due to low blood sugar.
Supplements are not considered necessary except under medical supervision. Taking it in the form of chromium picolinate has been associated with genetic damage in animals and is not recommended. But, this is not because chromium is at fault; it seems to be the particular form of picolinate that causes the problem.