Symptoms of chromium deficiency are high levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood, as well as symptoms that resemble to diabetes such as glucose intolerance, body weakness, depression, weight loss, thirst and hunger, frequent urination.
Industrial refined and processed foods, such as flour and sugar can in some cases (alcoholism, long-term diets, pregnancy) cause loss of chromium from the body.
Infections and physical traumas increase the daily intake of chromium, and strenuous exercise increase the excretion of chromium which may increase the possibility of a lack of chromium in the body.
The level of chromium in the tissues decreases with age. British researchers analyzed the levels of chromium in the hair, sweat and serum samples of over 40,000 patients in a study published in 1997. The results showed that a significant reduction of chromium occurs with age, which leads to an increased risk of diabetes and atherosclerosis in the elderly.
The lack of chromium is relatively common in people with diabetes type II and may impair the function of glucose tolerance factor - GTF. This leads to poor apsorption of glucose in the cells.
Inadequate chromium metabolism plays an important role in diabetes in pregnant women.
High levels of insulin also increases the excretion of chromium. Lack of chromium leads to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels.
Lack of chromium plays a inportant role in heart disease. Low levels of chromium in food intake is associated with higher levels of cholesterol, which increases the risk of atherosclerosis. Patients with heart disease at an advanced stage usually have lower levels of chromium in the blood.
Little is known about the toxic effects of large amounts of chromium in food and feed additives. It is shown that the consuming more than 250 mg leads to an irregular heart beat.
Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+) is much more toxic than trivalent chromium (Cr3+). Chronic exposure to chrome dust appears to be the risk for lung cancer improvement. Significant amounts of chromium can enter the body by cooking in vessels made of stainless steel.
Scientific study from 1995. has shown that enrichment of food with chromium can cause serious damage to chromosomes. It is believed that excess chromium intake plays an important role in carcinogenesis.