By Alexander G. Schauss, Ph.D
AIBR Life Sciences Division
Is chromium deficiency associated with atherosclerosis? Tissues of humans who have died of heart disease have been found to have less chromium than tissue of humans who died of accidental causes. Also, in those patients with atherosclerotic plaque who died of heart disease, no detectable concentrations of chromium were found in their tissue. In addition, chromium along with selenium, copper, potassium, magnesium, and calcium reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, by having a beneficial effect on serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Chromium may also be important to the health of the skin.
Food sources of chromium include: brewer's yeast, nuts, molasses, cheese, and most whole grains. Since the amount of chromium found in the diet may often times be inadequate to supply one's daily chromium requirement, chromium supplementation may be warranted. In general, 200 micrograms a day of chromium from a dietary supplement is a reasonable amount to supplement the diet.
The current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for chromium for healthy individuals consuming a mixed North American diet is:
- Children 200 mcg.
- Males (11-18) 200 mcg.
- Males (adults) 300 mcg.
- Females 300 mcg.
- Pregnant 300 mcg.
- Lactating (1st 6 mos.) 300 mcg.
(1) Shils, M.E. and Young, V.R. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 7th Edition. Lea & Febiger: Philadelphia, 1988.
(2) Schauss, A.G. Minerals, Trace Elements and Human Health. Life Sciences Press: Tacoma, (WA), 1996.
(3) Recommended Dietary Allowances, 10th Edition. National Research Council. National Academy Press: Washington, D.C., 1989.