Chromium and Neuropathy-A Key Trace Element

As we wrap up our section on nutrition, I want to talk at some length about trace elements.

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By definition, trace elements are those essential nutrients, which are necessary for life and health but only in the tiniest amounts.

As with most nutrients, too much is not better. Neither is consuming large amounts of a single nutrient unless there is a genetic or other bona fide medical reason to do so.

So today let’s talk about the nutrient chromium. If you’ve ever seen stainless steel or shiny car parts, you probably know what chromium is. Just like copper and manganese, it is a metal. What you may not know is that most human beings in modern cultures probably get the majority of their chromium diet intake through cooking with stainless steel!

Part of this of course is because most people do not consume a diet that is naturally high in chromium.

The safest forms for human nutrition (trivalent) come from whole foods and are found in things such as broccoli (one of the highest sources) as well as coffee, potato and apple skins and nuts.

As we talk about all the time, having a large component of your diet from whole foods, which contain things like peels and skins provide some significant insurance against trace mineral deficiencies including chromium deficiency.

What you may not know however is, chromium appears to be essential for our bodies handling of blood sugar. In one particular form, that is GTF, which is short for glucose tolerance factor, this trace element may help to improve insulin (the hormone which lowers blood sugar) efficiency and potentiate insulin.

Now there is conflicting scientific evidence here, however enough research indicates that GTF is probably the safest supplement form and best included in supplementation in relatively low amounts on the order of not more than 100 µg per day.

In other words trivalent chromium helps us to process energy, particular carbohydrates and sugars from our food efficiently.

If you’ve read my other books you also understand that poor blood sugar control in the form of either diabetes or metabolic syndrome can cause peripheral neuropathy and a whole host of health disorders.

So by now the impact of chromium nutrition should be rather obvious. Without adequate amounts in our diet we are at risk for developing health risks related to blood sugar management yes and perhaps ultimately even peripheral neuropathy!

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