There is no question about it - type 2 diabetes has reached an epidemic status in the United States. Each year, diabetes causes or contributes to the death of over 250,000 people - in the United States alone. While there are many varying theories on why diabetes has become so prevalent in our culture, a somewhat simple factor is often overlooked - chromium deficiency.
Chromium is a mineral we don't often hear about. It's an essential ultra trace mineral that is important in our bodies because it helps the cells take in glucose so it can be used for energy, which of course lowers your blood glucose levels. Chromium has also been shown to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol while raising HDL (good) cholesterol. This is important as it in turn reduces one's risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, which diabetics are at an increased risk of.
Since it is an ultra trace mineral, our bodies need only small amounts of chromium, which is good because it's tough to obtain for a variety of reasons. Chromium gets into our food via soil, but unfortunately our soil is becoming depleted of many minerals, and chromium is no exception. Any chromium that does find its way into food is often lost due to refinement (sometimes as much as 93% is lost). Other foods we eat can impact how much chromium is absorbed, for example, a high fat diet will decrease your absorption of chromium, as will excess phosphorus. Additionally, as we age, we don't retain as much in our tissues. This all creates the perfect storm for type-2 diabetes.
So how do we get more chromium into our bodies? Brewer's yeast is your best option, as long as you tolerate it. Just 2 TBSP will give you more than enough chromium for the day. It can also be found in supplement form. Since chromium is difficult to absorb, and toxicity is not typically a concern (unless you have liver or kidney problems) higher daily amounts - 80 to 100 mpg - are recommended, particularly if a deficiency is suspected.