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This is an essential micronutrient which is mostly removed from basic foods such as sugar and flour, by refining.
Its principle use in the body is to metabolise glucose and synthesise fatty acids and cholesterol.. It is also the central constituent of GTF, the glucose tolerance factor, which enhances the function of insulin. Chromium-rich diets or supplements, are therefore a must for diabetics, hypoglycaemics and for anyone with a high cholesterol level or suffering from hypertension.
The best natural sources are meat, shellfish (particularly clams) and wheatgerm.
The estimated daily requirement of the mineral is 50-200mcg for adults, and 20-80mcg for children. Brewer's yeast is a good general source, but specialised supplements are available from health shops. For more information on nutrients see 'Nutrients A to Z' by Dr. Michael Sharon (Prion Books)