Is Chromium Good For Joints?

Chromium is an essential nutrient, meaining that it's required by the body for multiple aspects of health. Whilst it's not often talked about it does in fact play a role in joint health. It not only impacts bone health, which of course plays a role in joint health, but it's actually important for the production of cartialage. With several clinical studies having shown that chromium helps reduce the loss of calcium in the urine, promoting collagen production, and increasing DHEA levels. [1.2,3} All of these things are of course important for joints and we'll break down why shortly.

To explain briefly however, calcium as most readers will know is important for bone health, collagen is important for the material between joints, but chromiums final point for joint health, DHEA, is a little bit more complicated. DHEA deficiencies generally effect older women and can contribute to osteoporosis development and OA. As such chromium does seem to have some implication on joints, due to the other compounds in the body it effects. But beyond, that there have been a few direct studies on chromium for arthritis although most are in animals. 

Chromium and Calcium Use

We pretty much covered this in the intro, there have been a few studies which show chromium supplementation helps the body retain calcium, which is of course good for bone and joint health. 

Chromium and Collagen

There is limited research, but it does suggests that chromium may have an effect on collagen stability. For example, one study investigated the effect of a chromium gallate complex on collagen and found that the complex stabilized the collagen structure by increasing its stability compared to gallic acid. Additionally, the viscosity of collagen decreased in the presence of the complex, and it slowed degredation. [2]

Chromium and DHEA

A few studies have shown that high doses of chromium picolinate were able to result in increased DHEA production, [3] and as we mentioned DHEA is extremely beneficial for joint and bone health particularly in older women.

Chromium and Arhtritis Studies

One study found that chromium supplementation affected inflammatory cytokines. The messengers in the body that actually cause inflammation, these changes were associated with reduced rheumatoid arthritis symptoms specifically. [4]

Then there have been animal studies, which reported notable improvements. It effectively reduced inflammation,  and also showed protective effects against joint destruction. Which was evidenced by samples rather than simply visible change.

Chromium-Rich Foods

To ensure you are getting enough chromium, it may be helpful to incorporate chromium-rich foods into your diet. Some foods that contain chromium include broccoli, grape juice, whole wheat English muffins, potatoes, garlic, basil, beef cubes, orange juice, turkey breast, whole wheat bread, red wine, apples, bananas, and green beans. While these foods can contribute to your overall chromium intake, it can be challenging to reach the recommended daily amount through diet alone.

The Role of Chromium Supplements

To meet your chromium needs, supplementation may be necessary. While there is no established recommended daily allowance (RDA) for chromium, experts generally recommend a daily intake of 200 mcg. [5] It is important to choose a high-quality chromium supplement, preferably in a chelated form such as chromium picolinate or chromium polynicotinate. These forms of chromium are more readily absorbed by the body and can provide optimal benefits.


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