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What is the Connection Between Chromium and Depression?

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  • Written By: Vanessa Harvey
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2016
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It is believed that there is a connection between the trace mineral chromium and depression because this nutrient is essential for keeping blood glucose levels normal and stable. One of the principle roles of chromium is the optimal utilization of glucose, which is a simple sugar into which carbohydrates are broken during digestion and used as fuel for the brain. The hormone insulin is unable to work normally without sufficient chromium in the body. This function of the nutrient is what has caused belief in a connection between chromium and depression.

Hypoglycemia, which is a condition in which one's blood sugar levels are low, is the most common medical emergency seen in diabetics. Abnormal behavior resulting from an altered mental status is typical and expected when there is a sudden drop in blood glucose levels. If glucose is not given promptly, the diabetic patient risks losing consciousness because of how the brain is affected in such a situation. This is why some researchers have investigated the possible connection between chromium and depression, no matter whether the depressed person is diabetic.

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Although there is reason to believe that signs and symptoms of a significant and prolonged deficiency of this trace mineral help to support the idea of a link between chromium and depression, not everyone agrees. Some psychologists have preferred to continue studying the various methods of therapy to treat depression instead of including consideration for possible deficiencies in nutrients. Other healthcare providers have embraced the philosophy of a need to consider therapy and nutrition when treating depression.

The connection between chromium and depression might be confined to what is known as atypical depression. People interested in looking further into any possible connections between chromium and depression should be aware of the characteristics of this type of mental disturbance. Sufferers have a tendency to gain weight, feel tired and sleepy even after several hours of sleep, have a heavy sensation in the extremities and crave sugary foods.

All-natural, rich sources of chromium include whole heirloom grains such as spelt, barley and kamut®, as well as potatoes, alfalfa, molasses and fish. Most, if not all of this nutrient is stripped away during the refining process of grains. This is why it is important to consume whole grains for ingestion of chromium. Nutritional supplements might not be absorbed well and could produce side effects, such as headaches and increased energy, that interfere with getting a good night's rest.

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