No, this isn’t going to be an article about Google or web browsers; we’re talking about minerals today. Chromium is a mineral that is essential to our overall health, and especially our eye health. It is found in a variety of delicious foods and is best known as the mineral that makes sure that all protein and carbohydrates are broken down and stored in the proper places.
Chromium has a slightly different impact in eye health as it helps to decrease intraocular pressure. This is an especially important mineral in today’s digital age, as many who suffer from digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome often experience increased intraocular pressure.
What is Chromium?
Well, as mentioned, it’s a mineral that the body requires. Though the human body requires only small trace amounts of chromium to be at optimal health, a chromium deficiency can be detrimental. It’s important to know how chromium works, how to spot a deficiency and what do to about it.
First, let’s take a look at what chromium does for our bodies. In the body, chromium is most used to help metabolism process different substances. Chromium is a natural blood sugar regulator that helps insulin get the right amount of glucose to cells, which are then stored for energy.
In addition, chromium also helps your metabolism by breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. When broken down properly, they are also stored in the body for energy, like the glucose. Without chromium, your metabolism would be slow and it would be very difficult to break down foods and nutrients.
Further studies continue to be conducted, but chromium may be linked to raising good cholesterol levels (high-density lipoproteins or HDL) and decreasing and preventing heart disease.
Because we need so little amount of chromium, it is easy to forget about getting it into our diets. Dr. Andrew Weil estimates that around 25 percent to 50 percent of US citizens suffer from a mild chromium deficiency. That’s a high percentage, but not to worry. Extreme, hospitalization-required chromium deficiencies are very rare.
Just because extreme chromium deficiencies are rare, that does not mean that a mild deficiency won’t hurt you or your health. There are a few signs and symptoms to watch out for to know if someone is chromium deficient:
- Glucose intolerance and the development of diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Slow healing time after an injury or surgery
A chromium deficiency in children and teenagers can also affect their growth. They often will exhibit similar symptoms as the ones listed above. Keep an eye out for this in your young ones.
In the event that you think you may have a chromium deficiency, speak to your doctor about it and get the right amount of chromium back into your diet.
Chromium, Your Eyes and You
Chromium is the body’s regulator. Without it, our blood sugar would be off the charts. Like it does for the body, chromium also regulates intraocular eye pressure. A little pressure is good, but too much can lead to vision conditions such as glaucoma.
Glaucoma is a caused my pressure in the eye that can lead to optic nerve damage. It goes without saying that this disease will significantly decrease your ability to see. And of course, any condition as serious as glaucoma that goes untreated will inevitably lead to blindness. Chromium won’t cure glaucoma, but it sure will help prevent it!
Intraocular eye pressure can also be a result of longs days spent in front of a screen. True, I’ve spent long hours in front of a screen as I write this, but I write this comfortably knowing that I have had my intake of chromium for the day!
If you suffer from digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome, ask your doctor to be tested for a chromium deficiency too. If no deficiency is detected, good for you! But you’ll still want to make sure your chromium levels don’t drop.
Keeping chromium levels normal has never been easier. You can keep your eye pressure regulated and healthy by simply adding it to your diet. Because so little amounts of chromium are needed, you can easily get it by eating your normal foods.
Where is Chromium Found?
Chromium is found in its natural solid form as a rock called chromite. Of course when we talk about chromium, we are not talking about this. Don’t worry you won’t need to ingest a rock to get the health benefits.
In nature, chromium is found scattered around the world in soil, plants, animals and other places. It is more commonly found in its ingestible form than it is in its chromite form.
Chromium is also found in certain supplements. However, dietitians don’t generally recommend taking chromium supplements because getting the mineral into your body can be easily done by eating regular foods.
That doesn’t mean you can’t take supplements containing chromium. Our Ocu-Plus Formula contains just the right amount of chromium, among other vitamins and nutrients.
Too much chromium can lead to poisoning, so if you do decide to take chromium supplements, be sure to discuss it with your doctor first. Your doctor will help you balance the chromium in the supplements with the chromium you get from your food.
Chromium in Food
Chromium is found in a vast amount of food. This is probably the reason attributed to why chromium deficiencies are rarely extreme cases in the US. We are lucky enough to have access to grocery stores and restaurants that offer different types of food so that we can keep our diet varied.
Here are our top 10 picks for food containing chromium:
- Romaine lettuce
- Turkey breast
- Pork chops
- Mashed potatoes
As you can see, there’s something for everyone on the list. We eat most of this food on a daily basis without even thinking about it. That’s why it is so simple to get the right amount of chromium into your diet. All you need to do is eat your favorite foods!
Chromium has numerous health benefits, including protecting against intraocular eye pressure. Your eyes can rest knowing you’re taking care of them by getting a small but nonetheless, good amount of chromium into your bodies.