Chromium in Pregnancy – Importance, Dosage, and Food Sources

Chromium in Pregnancy - Importance, Dosage, and Food Sources

A diet of a pregnant woman should include healthy foods which meet the nutrition requirements of the baby growing within her womb. Chromium is one of the important nutrients that is necessary for the healthy development of the baby. But if chromium is consumed in high quantity, it could pose risk to the health of the mother and the baby. So, read this article to find out the amount of chromium that should be consumed during pregnancy and the risks of consuming too much of it.

What Is Chromium?

Chromium is present in several foods as a trace element. Chromium in the form of trivalent chromium ions is necessary for glucose, insulin, and fat metabolism in our body. Chromium consists of chromodulin that enables the hormone insulin to regulate blood glucose in the body. It also works with insulin to process carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the body. Hence, it is an essential nutrient for human beings.

Importance of Chromium in Pregnancy

Chromium intake during pregnancy helps the body maintain a normal blood glucose level. It is especially important if the mother-to-be is diabetic or has gestational diabetes. Chromium is also important for the developing baby as it helps with protein building in the baby’s tissues. Apart from this, chromium also plays an important role in the breakdown of lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates. Therefore, chromium is an essential trace nutrient required during pregnancy for the health and well-being of both the mother and the developing foetus.

How Much Chromium Should a Pregnant Woman Take in a Day

Trivalent chromium is an essential trace nutrient and our body requires trace amounts of chromium in its trivalent form in order to perform vital metabolic processes. All pregnant women should consume chromium in different quantity depending on their needs and requirements. Find out how much chromium should pregnant women consume.

  • The adequate intake of chromium for a pregnant woman should be 30 micrograms per day, but it differs for different for each pregnant woman.
  • Normal healthy women between the ages of 14 and 50 should consume around 25 micrograms per day. Women who are above the ages of 50 should consume 20 micrograms per day.
  • For lactating and breastfeeding women, the adequate intake (AI) is 45 micrograms per day.
  • For infants, who are between 0 to 6 months, the AI is 0.2 micrograms and infants between 7 to 12 months need 5.5 micrograms of chromium per day.

Risks of Chromium Deficiency in Pregnancy

There are no standard tests to determine chromium deficiency. However, as chromium is found in several regularly consumed foods, it can be obtained through a healthy balanced diet. Pregnant women will be at the risk of chromium deficiency if they do not eat healthy foods rich in chromium. Severe chromium deficiency has been found only in hospitalised individuals fed through intravenous drips. The symptoms seen in such cases include high blood sugar due to impaired glucose tolerance, loss of weight, confusion, and malfunctioning of the peripheral nervous system.

Food Sources of Chromium

Chromium is found in several foods. Here are some of the foods that contain chromium (in mcg):

  • 1 cup Grape juice – 8 mcg
  • Half a cup broccoli – 11 mcg
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic – 3 mcg
  • 1 cup orange juice – 2 mcg
  • 1 medium-sized banana – 1 mcg
  • 1 medium-sized apple – 1 mcg
  • Half cup green beans – 1 mcg
  • I cup mashed potatoes – 3 mcg
  • 28 grams turkey breast – 2 mcg
  • 28 grams beef – 2 mcg
  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread – 2 slicesFood sources of chromium

Can Pregnant Women Take Chromium Supplement?

Although pregnant women are slightly at a higher risk of chromium deficiency than normal women, taking chromium supplement during pregnancy is not recommended. It is suggested that women should opt for natural sources of chromium during pregnancy.

Chromium picolinate is the form in which chromium is present in dietary supplements. It is trivalent chromium attached to three molecules of picolinic acid. This form is absorbed better by the body than chromium found in foods. However, you should not take chromium picolinate in pregnancy without consulting your doctor.

Side Effects of Excessive Intake of Chromium in Pregnancy

Excessive consumption of chromium during pregnancy can have adverse effects on both the mother and the growing baby. Some of these side effects of taking too much chromium include:

  • Arrhythmia
  • Recurring headaches
  • Kidney and liver damage
  • Cancer
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular blood sugar levels
  • Reactions with other drugs
  • Allergic reactions

Word of Caution

Please consult your obstetrician before taking chromium when you are pregnant, particularly, if you have diabetes or are taking insulin. This is because excess chromium can cause blood sugar levels to become abnormal.

Chromium is a trace mineral that is important for pregnant women. But it is best if it is consumed from the sources in which it is naturally present and not from dietary supplements.

Also Read: Zinc in Pregnancy