I have serious problems with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If I deviate even the least bit from my very structured diet, I get weak and experience headaches. What I can do?
The trace mineral chromium may help you control your hypoglycemia with diet. Simply put, chromium is necessary for your liver to produce a substance called the glucose tolerance factor (GTF). GTF is necessary in order for your body to use insulin efficiently and control blood sugar levels.
Adding 200 mcg of chromium to the diet each day can very often alleviate the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Even diabetic patients can benefit from additional chromium. As little as 200 mcg a day can help stabilize insulin sensitivities and reduce the need for insulin. (If a patient has been receiving high insulin dosages over a period of time, care must be taken to introduce chromium slowly or it may produce a rebound effect.) Sugar, by the way, causes your body to excrete chromium in the urine.
All chromium products are not created equal, and this probably accounts for the reason some people experience better results than others. Brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, the bran of grains, and many yeast products are good sources of chromium. (Three teaspoons of KAL brand yeast flakes in 6–8 ounces of warm water makes an excellent tasting broth and an easy way to get adequate chromium.)
If yeast products are a problem, I've had excellent results with a yeast-free chromium product called ChromeMate. Look for it online or in health food stores.
As a side note, research indicates that chromium works better—especially in older patients—when niacin is added. The combination may also lower blood cholesterol in some people. Generally, about 100 mg of niacin is recommended with 200 mcg of chromium.