Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chromium and Insulin

I was recently looking through a favorite nutrition book of mine when I came across some information I'd forgotten: chromium deficiencies = insulin resistance, and ultimately diabetes. Consequently, signs of a chromium deficiency follow the same vein that signs for insulin resistance and diabetes do, namely: fatigue, frequent urination, irritability when one has gone without food for prolonged periods of time, and cravings for sweet foods (which will make sense to you when read the last bullet bellow. Our bodies just know what we need).

Chromium is among those lovely little minerals that are susceptible to modern food processing techniques. Moreover, high sugar diets actually deplete the body of this cherished substance. Most foods that would normally be good sources for this mineral are no longer that, in our day. Thank heavens for traditional food preparation methods!

Good sources of this mineral follow.
  • Butter from cows who are allowed their natural diet
  • Meat from animals allowed their natural diets (Did you know that many vitamins and minerals are dependent on good fat for proper absorption in the body? Fascinating.)
  • Organ meats
  • Properly prepared whole wheat, and nuts
  • Molasses
  • Eggs from hens consuming the proper diet (Which eggs are the right eggs to buy? Stay tuned...)
  • Interestingly, chromium is found in abundance in foods that are used to make sugar products, corn, sugar beet, and sugar cane. Sadly this, and many other beneficial components of these plants, are stripped and discarded in the refining processes used to make sugar. I find it fascinating and beautiful that the whole plant as God made it, has what our bodies need to help regulate the absorption of all it's components.
For more information see Nourishing Traditions pp. 13, 24, and 43. There are also countless other fantastic sources for information on this out there. Please feel free to look them up, just be weary of sources that tell you to consume processed meat products. I've read it in many places, and I just can't agree. If you're interested in knowing why, please feel free to ask.


  1. Very interesting, especially the part about sugar cane/beets. Looking at your list I'm hopeful my boys and I are getting enough chromium!

  2. Thanks, Melissa--I know so little about this, but found some vegetarian sources for chromium, if the internet is to be believed: whole grains, nuts, broccoli, apples, peanuts, cooked spinach, mushrooms.

    1. Thanks for that list, Lark! My list was in no way exhaustive, I simply took the items I have read in several places as the best sources. Your list is great, as certainly not all people eat meat. Thanks again!

  3. I remember Sher saying to watch your chromium during pregnancy for this very reason. Has she been wrong yet?

    I think part of the increasing deficiency might actually stem from the fact that people have come to fear butter, red meat, and certainly organ meats (thanks for mentioning the importance of the source on those!). Not to mention that most people no longer prepare foods according to traditional methods (i.e. grains and nuts). Not to MENTION that when we have refined sugar, why go for unrefined, let alone molasses! (I'm impressed with Sammy lately, who's been insisting on molasses to top his pancakes... maybe he got that from Liza Lou... or maybe from you??)

    It seems that more often than not, when I read a list of foods containing a certain powerhouse nutrient, that butter, organ meats, and molasses are always to be found on the list.

    1. I too have noticed this about lists of power foods. I feel strongly there is real world/traditional wisdom in that.

      Thanks for the compliment, pairing me up with Sammy! That is a compliment in the highest order, I'd say. I've never tried molasses on pancakes though, I'll have to remedy that soon.