Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is primarily a hormonal and metabolic disorder and it is widely prevalent among women of reproductive age. One of the main concerns of PCOS is the risk of developing insulin resistance. Insulin regulates blood sugar and very high levels of the hormone can lead to weight gain. In fact, over 50% of PCOS patients are overweight. Women with PCOS often find it more difficult to shed weight than that those without. Dietary and lifestyle changes can help manage PCOS to a large extent. Though the association between chromium and PCOS symptoms is not yet fully understood, various research studies have shown that it has a significant impact on the body’s management of insulin. Including chromium in your diet can also help with diabetes, weight loss, fat and glucose metabolism, high cholesterol, and depression.
What is chromium?
Chromium is a mineral that is produced only in a very small amount naturally by the body. It promotes the action of insulin, a hormone that is essential for fat, carbohydrate, and protein metabolism and storage. It is mainly found in the form of trivalent (chromium 3+) and hexavalent (chromium 6+). While the former is present in food products and is biologically active, the latter is a toxic form that is produced by industrial pollution.
Chromium against Insulin Resistance
A recent pilot study funded by the National Institutes of Health has found that daily supplementation of chromium in the form of 1,000 mcg of chromium picolinate can significantly increase the glucose disposal rate or insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS. The study was conducted on six women with PCOS and results showed that their baseline insulin levels decreased by 22% and insulin sensitivity increased approximately 35% following two months of treatment.
If chromium picolinate’s efficacy is further confirmed by larger, controlled trials and studies, PCOS patients can use the supplement as a potential nutritional therapy for the polycystic ovarian syndrome. Chromium supplementation could also be used in combination with prescription insulin-sensitizing drugs to lower their chances of diabetes and manage additional physical and symptomatic effects of PCOS.
Chromium for Weight Loss in PCOS patients
While the benefits of chromium have not been fully explored yet, some studies conducted on type 2 diabetes patients suggest that chromium supplements can help gain better glucose control. The participants also experienced lesser weight gain and had less fat deposition around their midsection as compared to those who did not take the supplement. Chromium’s activity on glucose can greatly help people struggling with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. It works with insulin to take up the glucose from the blood and thus manages blood glucose levels naturally.
You can safely and easily raise your chromium intake by eating foods rich in the mineral, like green beans, broccoli, whole grains, wheat germ, orange juice, grape juice, brewer’s yeast, black pepper, bran cereal, ham romaine lettuce, raw onions, and raw tomatoes. black pepper.
Though chromium is well absorbed by the body, there are certain safety concerns regarding chromium supplements. It may interfere with other medications or produce side effects like headaches and sleep disturbances. So, it is imperative to consult your doctor about compatibility and dosage before taking any chromium supplements, particularly if you are taking blood sugar or insulin management medication. In the absence of any FDA-approved drug to specifically treat PCOS, chromium shows much promise as an effective and long-term treatment to manage PCOS symptoms.