Athlete Spotlight!


Athlete of the Month Bio:

Name: Kristen Mock

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, interests/hobbies, etc).

  • I am from Auburn, AL and I attended Troy University where I graduated with a degree in Communications and a minor in Public Relations. I am the oldest of 2 kids to Joey and Kim Mock. I currently work as the manager at Breakout in Mobile and absolutely love my job! I currently live with 3 girl friends from school in a house in Mobile. I have an amazing boyfriend named Brandon who I hope to marry one day soon! My hobbies are pretty much doing anything outside, playing sports, trying out different coffee shops, going to the beach, and playing with my dogs!! 

When did you start doing CrossFit?

  • I started in June of 2017 

What made you decide to start CrossFit?

  • I had always wanted to try it because I really enjoy working out and I knew that CrossFit was extremely challenging but at the same time looked really fun! 

How has CrossFit made an impact on your life outside of the gym?

  • When I am working out I automatically feel better about myself mentally and physically. I feel healthier and CrossFit has also helped me be more aware of the foods I eat. You can work out all the time but it also maters what your putting in your body. 

What is your favorite & least favorite WOD or movement?

  • My least favorite movement is ring dips..they are extremely hard. My favorite movement is anything with handstands. I love working on handstand pushups! 

What is your favorite & least favorite lift?

  • My favorite lift is probably cleans and my least favorite is snatches!

What are your CrossFit goals?

  • I would like to compete in a CrossFit completion and I would like to have pull-ups down by the end of October and a muscle up by the beginning of the new year! 

What is your proudest CrossFit moment/achievement?

  • When I cleaned 105 pounds! It was my first time getting over 100 pounds on something other then back squat! 

What is your favorite quote or words to live by?

  • “You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream” C.S Lewis 

Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.

  • I love to jam out to 2000 hip hop and R&B! 

What advice would you give to newbies?

  • Don’t be discouraged in your first week. CrossFit is a marathon not a sprint and just because you can’t get a move down perfectly the first time doesn’t mean you should give up. It takes time and practice! You will always continue to improve as long as you stay with it!

Athlete Spotlight!

Jason Hanberg

Athlete of the Month Bio: 

Name: Jason Hanberg 

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, job, interests/hobbies, etc).

I have a wife and two kids, my job is in food sales, and my interests and hobbies involve football and cooking. 

When did you start doing CrossFit?

I stated CrossFit about 8 months ago. 

What made you decide to start CrossFit?

I wanted to physical results and my doctor told me I needed to lose weight because I was heading in the direction of high blood pressure and diabetes if I didn’t. 

How has CrossFit made an impact on your life outside of the gym?

CrossFit has allowed me to have a better quality of life. I feel better with more energy and have lost 26 lbs so far. My doctor told me I am now in great shape. 

What is your favorite & least favorite WOD or movement?

Favorite movement is push-ups and least favorite is burpees. 

What is your favorite & least favorite lift?

Favorite life is bench press and least favorite is overhead squats!

What are your CrossFit goals?

My goal is to be able to do RX during WODs/metcons. 

What is your proudest CrossFit moment/achievement?

My proudest cf moment would be accomplishing overhead squats with weight. 

What is your favorite quote or words to live by?

Love your neighbor. 

Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.

I’ve been married for 26 years! 

What advice would you give to newbies?

 Advice I would suggest for newbies is to learn proper form first on all the movements.

*Don’t forget to also attach a picture of yourself. J

Have you been wanting to get into a gym for the first time?

Have you been out of the gym for a while?

Are you wondering where to start?

We might have the program for you!

Right now we are conducting our 8th 4 Week 2 Fit Challenge program that gives you the opportunity to loose roughly 20 pounds, 6% body fat and/or build muscle!

We offer accountability from the Coaches as well as the other challengers in our private Facebook group to ensure you’re staying consistent to produce your desired results!

We offer an incredible Nutrition guide, meal plan and shopping list to get you started on eating the right foods to supercharge your progress!

Last but not least of course we offer classes 5x a week for our challengers at 6 different times a day to best fit your busy daily schedule! ***(5am, 8am 10am, 430 530pm and 630pm).***

If you’re motivated and dedicated to change your life by getting fit and healthy you should leave us a comment and we will reach out to schedule an orientation for our next challenge starting August 21st!

What Is L-Tyrosine Good For?

A non-essential amino acid, L-tyrosine helps your body manufacture several important neurotransmitters that regulate your mood. These include dopamine, the “feel-good” brain chemical associated with pleasure, and epinephrine and norepinephrine, hormones that control the body’s stress response. L-tyrosine is found in a wide variety of foods, so deficiency is rare. But some research suggests that the body cannot make enough L-tyrosine when it is under extreme stress, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center.


What Is L-Tyrosine Good For?
L-tyrosine may be helpful for milder forms of depression. 

Several clinical studies have linked L-tyrosine with relief from symptoms of physical or environmental stress, such as intense cold or heat. In a study of military cadets, published in “Brain Research Bulletin” in 1999, those who supplemented with 2 grams of L-tyrosine for five days showed better memory and cognitive performance in a stressful physical training program than those who did not. Studies of L-tyrosine and depression have been less conclusive. A review published in “Alternative Medicine Review” in 2000 looked at numerous older studies and found L-tyrosine only possibly helpful for milder forms of depression.


What Is L-Tyrosine Good For?
It is found in chicken breast. 

L-tyrosine is found in an array of healthy foods, including poultry, soy, avocados, bananas, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cottage cheese and yogurt. For supplementing with L-tyrosine, Hyla Cass, author of “Natural Highs,” suggests 500 to 1,000 milligrams daily on an empty stomach in the morning. She warns that it can cause anxiety and insomnia in some people, and that those with a history of mental illness should never take

Amino acids, which form the building blocks of protein, play a crucial role in your health. Take tyrosine for instance, your body uses this amino acid to produce epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine, brain chemicals that influence mood. Your body can manufacture tyrosine from the amino acid phenylalanine. However, dietary tyrosine consumption is still important. Under certain situations such as stress, your body may not be able to manufacture enough tyrosine, so a tyrosine-rich diet serves as a critical backup.


Foods With L-Tyrosine

As with all amino acids, protein foods are the best sources, and tyrosine is no exception. You can get tyrosine from a wide variety of protein-rich foods. Chicken and turkey are good meat choices. Tyrosine-rich dairy foods include milk, cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese. Other tyrosine-containing foods are peanuts, almonds, avocados, bananas, lima beans, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. Tyrosine deficiency is rare, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, tyrosine plays a role in thyroid function, so tyrosine deficiency is linked to underactive thyroid.

List of Foods High in Tyrosine

List of Foods High in Tyrosine

You must get some amino acids — known as essential amino acids — from food, while others your body makes on its own. Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid your body makes from the essential amino acid phenylalanine. Low tyrosine levels are rare, but there is some preliminary research that you may need to up your intake during times of stress. Knowing the food sources of this amino acid may help ensure you’re getting what you need.


Without tyrosine, your body wouldn’t be able to handle stress or make important hormones. The nonessential amino acid is an essential part of many of the neurotransmitters — brain chemicals — your body needs to combat stress, including epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. Tyrosine is also needed for the proper functioning of your adrenal, thyroid and pituitary glands. These glands are needed to make hormones such as thyroid hormone, which helps regulate the metabolic activities of your organs, and the hormone that maintains fluid and salt balance known as aldosterone. And as a necessary component of melanin, tyrosine also plays a role in determining the pigment of your hair and skin.


Tyrosine is found in a wide variety of foods — from meats to cheese — making it easy to ensure you’re getting what you need. The amount of tyrosine you need each day is linked to the essential amino acid precursor phenylalanine — for adults, that is 14 milligrams per kilogram per day. If you weigh 180 pounds — with weight in pounds divided by 2.2 to determine kilograms of body weight — you need 1.145 milligrams of phenylalanine/tyrosine a day, about half coming from each amino acid.

Some of the best sources of tyrosine include Parmesan cheese with 559 milligrams per ounce, roasted soybeans with 1,392 milligrams per cup and roast beef with 1,178 milligrams per 3-ounce serving. Pork chops, salmon, turkey and chicken are also rich in tyrosine, with 900 to 1,000 milligrams per 3-ounce cooked portion.


Even if you don’t eat foods rich in tyrosine, you’re sure to get what you need eating a varied diet. One egg has 250 milligrams and a cup of cooked white beans 450 milligrams of tyrosine. Eating 1/4 cup of peanuts can help you get 351 milligrams, and 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds yields 306 milligrams. Both diced Swiss and provolone cheese have about 500 milligrams of tyrosine per 1/4-cup serving. Grain sources of the amino acid include oats with 447 milligrams per 1/2 cup and wild rice with 139 milligrams per 1/2 cup.


Most people can make enough tyrosine from phenylalanine so they don’t need to worry about the amount they get from food. However, people with
phenylketonuria, an inherited disorder, can’t process phenylalanine and must avoid it to prevent brain damage. While those with PKU can’t handle phenylalanine, they still need tyrosine and are given a protein supplement that contains it. If you have PKU, you should talk to your doctor about whether you need to include foods rich in tyrosine before making any changes to your diet to prevent exposure to phenylalanine.

If you’re under stress, your body may not be able to make enough tyrosine, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, and may benefit from getting it from other sources. That said, there is little evidence to support the need for extra tyrosine in the diet to help combat stress, according to a 2007 report published in Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience.


You may consider adding tyrosine supplements if you’re under stress and feel your diet is inadequate to meet your needs. You shouldn’t add any dietary supplement to your regimen until you talk to your doctor, however. Additionally, you need to be cautious about using tyrosine in supplement form if you take thyroid medications, monoamine oxidase inhibitors or levodopa, due to potential interactions. Supplementation may also trigger headaches, especially in people who suffer from migraines, or cause an upset stomach. Tyrosine supplements should be avoided by people with hyperthyroidism or Grave’s disease because of its potential effects on thyroid hormone levels

Why CrossFit?

A better quality of life!

What is CrossFit?

Greg Glassman, coach and founder of CrossFit, sums up the sport’s philosophy in 100 words:

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.
Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.
Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch.
Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds.
Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow.
Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense.
Regularly learn and play new sports.
Attachments area

Be consistent! Focus on the Process! The process will get you there! 

A LOT OF PEOPLE come to me and ask about the newest hottest nutritional online coaches page.  These pages say they have developed a new science and they are doing it “different”.   (There is no new science) No matter,  it’s about external stimuli and intake!
I always ask, what’s their micronutrient approach? What’s their caloric prescription?  Why is someone successful and some not?
I can tell you.  No matter what you do, and consistent approach to nutritional intake and exercise stimuli will get you where you need.   Simply educate yourself, chart your macros and DON’T QUIT!
Constant short sided goals maybe stunting your ability to hit your goals.   Focus on losing 5 lbs a month not 20.    Focus on running 1 mile.  Focus on that 200 lb back squat.   Hire a great coach to get you there.   You can do it!
Be consistent! Focus on the Process! The process will get you there!

You get what you pay for. Be All In with your health!

Train. Get fitter. And do it five or six days a week.

That’s what CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman wrote in “What Is Fitness?” It’s a commitment, to be sure, but weekend-warring will get you only so far.


“Two days a week isn’t a way to accomplish much of anything—in anything, not just CrossFit,” said Andrew King, owner of CrossFit Bel Air in Forest Hill, Maryland. “If you eat healthy two days a week, if you see your wife two days a week—the list would be endless.”

For that reason, CrossFit Bel Air, an affiliate since 2011, does not offer membership levels below three classes per week.

“We’re trying to develop well-rounded people, and two days (of training per week) makes that tough,” King said.

Holes and Pitfalls

CrossFit Lewisburg has only offered unlimited memberships since it opened in 2010 despite regular requests from potential clients for alternatives, said affiliate owner David Rowe.

“We have found that athletes with that sporadic of an attendance have the highest risk of washing out of the program entirely,” he said. “If you’re coming once or twice a week, you’re not gonna see the results to keep you motivated, and you’re not gonna connect with the community in a way that gives you that incentive to return every day.”

As Glassman’s “World-Class Fitness in 100 Words” indicates, “routine is the enemy” and variation is a key component of the success of the CrossFit program. You might start the week on Monday with heavy back squats, work gymnastics and pull-up progressions on Wednesday, and end the week with a gnarly grinder of wall-ball shots, box jumps and sprints. But if you’re only coming to the gym twice a week, the odds are low you’ll hit all aspects of training necessary for quality general physical preparedness (GPP), Rowe said.

“If they only show up to a Monday class one week and a Thursday class the next week, they might hit the long day of monostructural (training) and they might hit the medium day of weightlifting and gymnastics, but they’re missing those sprint pieces, they’re missing those skill focus days, they’re missing their heavy day—so they’re missing the overall picture,” he said. “And if they’re missing out on 80 percent of the programming every month, (they) simply won’t see the progress that CrossFit sets you up for.”

Though the magic is in the movements and their variation, it’s repetition that breeds progress: mechanics, consistency, intensity. The concept isn’t unique to CrossFit. Whether you want to learn Portuguese, to play the piano or to snatch, you have to practice. And how much you practice directly correlates with how good you get.

ALT TEXTMany CrossFit movements require regular practice, and some trainers say infrequent exposure can send an athlete back to square one. (Matt Ingber)

“If you’re only coming twice a week, you’re not getting enough exposure to the different lessons that we have and learning the mechanics of the movement,” said Jessica Grondahl, owner of CrossFit Fargo in North Dakota. “Two hours per week isn’t enough … because you’re always kind of relearning it each time.”

King agreed. CrossFit Bel Air used to offer a two-class-per-week option, but King dropped the program after two years, weary of watching clients struggle to make any real progress.

“It was just an endless cycle of teaching them the same thing over and over again,” he said. “So if Person A came two days a week for six months, they might see squats three times, they might see double-unders twice, they might see box jumps three to four times, and every single time it’s like you have to revisit (the technique); it’s like a fundamentals class every time they come in.”

It’s a problem that’s exacerbated by the deconditioned level of most of the general population.

“Ninety percent of the people that walk in … haven’t worked on mobility for 25 years,” King continued. “It’s eye opening how many limitations they have with the hamstrings and shoulders and back … so then to teach them something and expect them to do it is like a never-ending project, and two days (per week) is just not enough time to get it done.”

Even if an athlete isn’t terribly deconditioned, King said two days per week isn’t enough time to take someone from fine to fit.

“If a guy comes in and they’re already really fast or really strong but their form is not good, as coaches, we can see that they have the potential to be even faster, even stronger and do it safely, (but) we can’t relay all that information to somebody in two days a week,” he said.

Additionally, athletes who train infrequently are at risk of falling into what Grondahl calls the “soreness trap.”

“Very often they’ll come on a Monday, and they’ll come the next day, and then they don’t come for another five days just because they’re so sore,” she said. “And then they start over, and then they get sore again, and they kind of fall into that cycle. Coming three times a week, your body adapts a lot better.”

ALT TEXTRegular attendance can help athletes mentally adapt to the challenges they’ll face each class. (Tim Desmarais)


The perils of sporadic training are more than physical.

CrossFit is about learning to be comfortable in the uncomfortable, a feat that requires regular triumph of ego over id. Facing that discomfort just a couple of times a week usually isn’t enough to make the rewards of effort more appealing than the snooze button.

“If (training) is not a routine and a habit and they miss one day, then they kind of fall off the wagon and they fall off the radar,” said Melissa Lopes, owner of CrossFit MVA in Alexandria, Virginia. “The athlete will develop slower. It’s going to take much more time for them to see potential gains. They won’t see the effectiveness as quickly and may lose interest in the program.”

Though CrossFit MVA offers a twice-weekly membership, Lopes estimates only 10 percent of her members have selected it, with the majority of that percentage coming from new members in the twice-weekly fundamentals program. Most of the rest are lost causes, clients who disappeared after fitness failed to become a habit, she said.

King had another reason for ditching the twice-a-week enrollment option:

“It bred a community of cherry-pickers,” he said. “If you can only come two days, you’re gonna try to find things you’re good at that you like to do.”

King acknowledged the struggles of being both a coach and a small-business owner faced with clients who want to come in when they want and do what they want. But what’s good for fitness might not always be good for business, and King would rather see a client walk away than give in to demands that thwart fitness.

“Every dollar, every person impacts your bank account,” he said. “But if you have morals and a standard of practice … and people don’t want to live up to that or give it a try, it’s like, we’d rather lose the money than have you train improperly. I think in the long run it establishes a good reputation.”

ALT TEXTCrossFit High Intensity first offered only unlimited memberships, but Juan Salvatecci has since added limited options in response to requests. (Juan Salvatecci)

Mixing Business and Fitness

Despite what may seem like obvious shortcomings of infrequent training, many affiliates offer levels below three times per week. For Jonathan Farwell, owner of CrossFit Ironborn in Concord, New Hampshire, the decision to ditch the affiliate’s three-class level and replace it with two classes was a response to a trend he said could potentially hurt his business.

“A lot of times the people with three-times-a-week (memberships) were only making it in twice a week,” he said. “If they’re paying for it and not coming, then they’re gonna feel that loss of value.”

Rather than risk losing clients who felt they were wasting their money, he decided to give the people what they were asking for with their actions: a two-class-per-week membership.

Juan Salvatecci made a similar business decision. Though he offered only unlimited classes when he opened CrossFit High Intensity in Ocoee, Florida, nearly six years ago, over time requests for limited membership options began to flood in from prospective clients.

Today, he offers membership levels of unlimited, four, three and two classes per week. Though he encourages clients to choose the unlimited level, “From a business perspective, it’s better to have those two-time-per-week (clients) than not have those numbers come in at all,” he said.

Neither has CrossFit Fargo been immune to the demand for limited options. While Grondahl stresses the importance of frequent training—she recommends athletes train four to five days a week with a minimum of three to maintain progress and results—she offers a two-classes-per-week membership. Though she had offered only an unlimited membership since CrossFit Fargo opened in 2013, she added the two-class level in 2015 to keep up with demand after new affiliates with more options opened nearby.

“It’s more of a marketing thing versus what we feel is actually beneficial for our clients, and it doesn’t necessarily reflect the reality of what people actually get,” she said, estimating that two out of 200 CrossFit Fargo members are actually enrolled in that option.

“We really battled with adding that two- and three-times-a-week membership because we didn’t want to put a limit on fitness,” she said. “And then we just saw a need to kind of go along with people’s perceptions and make more of a business decision and a marketing decision.”

ALT TEXTAt CrossFit Fargo, owner Jessica Grondahl uses limited memberships to attract hesitant clients who then upgrade to unlimited when they realize more regular training will result in greater fitness. (Kylie Herland)

She stressed that the offering is mostly about getting intimidated people in the door. Once they’re in, they often upgrade their memberships.

“They don’t really know what to expect and think it’s gonna be so intense that they can only come a couple times a week,” Grondahl said. “And then when they find out what it’s really like, people get addicted right off the bat. And our trainers do a good job of explaining that if you’re only coming once or twice a week, you aren’t going to learn the mechanics of the movement (and) you’re not gonna increase your fitness.”

Target Markets

Though Lopes agreed that training twice per week isn’t an ideal way for most people to get fit, she said some populations could benefit from it.

“For someone who’s never worked out before or has had a long break, starting out with two times a week … works out well, at least as a transition period for four to six weeks, just to kind of ramp up,” she said.

Sherry Hopkins, owner of Iron Warrior CrossFit in Troy, Michigan, agreed.

“It’s teaching them functional movement patterns that they may have never been taught before, as well as adding weight and building self-confidence,” she said. “It could take a while for them to really build that real repetitive pattern, but it still educates them, right?”

Hopkins opened Iron Warrior CrossFit in 2012, originally offering two- and three-times-per week memberships in addition to an unlimited option. She has since eliminated the first two levels and now offers only an unlimited membership, but she says the decision was based on simplifying the billing process, not the effectiveness of the programs, which she said served her older population particularly well.

“Literally, it’s changed them,” she said. “Because commonly, they’ll sit, or they’re not so active. So for people who are slowing down in their lives … just adding that one or two days (of CrossFit) has been really good. Whether it’s one, two, three days a week or unlimited, it offers people strength, mentally and physically.”

ALT TEXTOne size fits all: Iron Warrior CrossFit only offers unlimited options to keep billing streamlined. (Matt Ingber)

Madelyn Carpenter joined Iron Warrior CrossFit seven years ago at 62, training twice a week. Formerly arthritic to the point of near debilitation—she sometimes had to crawl up stairs on her hands and knees—Carpenter, now 70, can deadlift 125 lb. and climb stairs with ease.

“I’ve lost 22 pounds. I’m moving like I did in my 60s. I don’t struggle with joint pain anymore,” she said.

In May 2016, she upped her training to three days a week but maintains that the twice-a-week level is a great option for older clients.

“I think it’s excellent,” Carpenter said, “because it gives you enough time in between to recover, because it takes you longer to recover when you get older.”

A twice-per-week level might also work well for athletes whose primary sport lies elsewhere—many of Lopes’ two-times-a-week clients are triathletes who come to CrossFit MVA to get their strength in—or for frequent travelers who get the rest of their fitness in on the road, dropping in at other affiliates or busting out body-weight workouts in hotel gyms.

But regardless of why athletes choose twice-a-week memberships, these affiliate owners and athletes do agree on one point: Training isn’t enough.

“It can’t be just the physical; you also have to look at your diet,” Carpenter said.

The Workout Is Not Enough

Though Carpenter had been training twice a week for nearly five years, she said she didn’t see much improvement in her fitness and mobility until she eliminated processed sugar from her diet approximately two years ago.

“Everything has improved, but I don’t think it’s (because of) just one element,” she said.

That’s exactly the reason Farwell has no qualms about offering a two-class membership.

“I think training two times a week is perfectly fine,” he said. “To be truthful, that’s about the amount of time I get to train a week … . It’s all about what you’re doing outside of the gym as well.”

Emphasizing the importance of good nutrition and sleep, Farwell said athletes’ progress has more to do with what happens outside the gym than how much time they spend in it. He argued that even training three times per week is no defense against poor lifestyle choices.

“What’s going to make the bigger difference in your life: the three hours you spend in our four walls or however many hours there are in a week?” he asked. “Well, the answer is pretty obvious when you think about it. So as long as those two hours you’re getting inside the gym are quality hours and you’re not wasting your time or our time … and we’re giving you the tools to be successful outside the gym, you can absolutely benefit from (training) twice a week.”

ALT TEXTNo matter how often you train, coaches are clear that you must stay active and eat well outside the gym to reap the greatest rewards. (Tim Desmarais)

Salvatecci urges his twice-a-week athletes to come to class early and stay late to get extra work in. But more importantly, he stresses that they need to be active outside class.

“Coming in two times a week is better than doing nothing, but with that, you also have to understand that you’re not really gonna see the results that you want at two times per week,” he said. “You’re gonna have to do something else on your own time. You’re gonna have to go running, go biking, do something. You can do push-ups, sit-ups and squats at home and do sets of 10 of each and do those for rounds, and when you come in, your workouts are gonna be much better.”

Overall, if you find you aren’t improving, you might ask yourself if your commitment is lacking.

“It’s always interesting when we’ll have two people join at the same time,” Rowe said. “They’ll graduate from fundamentals around the same time, and the one person will be there religiously four to five days a week and the other person will show up maybe once or twice. Fast-forward a few months: The consistent person has their pull-ups and they’ve PR’d all their weights … and the person coming once or twice a week is saying, ‘Why don’t I have my pull-up yet?’”

He continued:

“And I have to have a talk with them that consistency breeds results. And normally if they’re not motivated to come more than once or twice a week, I probably won’t see them again after those first few months.”

About the Author: Brittney Saline is a freelance writer contributing to the CrossFit Journal and the CrossFit Games website. She trains at CrossFit St. Paul. To contact her, visit

How’s your Chromium Bruh?


What is chromium and what are some chromium benefits?

Chromium is a metallic element that humans require in very small amounts. It is an essential part of metabolic processes that regulate blood sugar, and helps insulin transport glucose into cells, where it can be used for energy. Chromium also appears to be involved in the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Two forms are commonly available as supplements: glucose-tolerance factor (GTF) chromium and chromium picolinate.

Why is chromium necessary?

Chromium enhances the actions of insulin and is necessary for maintaining normal metabolism and storage of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Inadequate intake of chromium has been linked to the development of glucose intolerance, a condition seen in type 2 diabetes. Chromium can also help raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, and may play a role in preventing heart disease.

What are the signs of a chromium deficiency?

An estimated 25-50% of the U.S. population is mildly deficient in chromium, a greater incidence of deficiency than is found in almost any other developed country. The industrialization of the American food supply chain, reflected in very low soil levels of chromium and the loss of chromium from refined foods, especially sugar and flours, probably contributes to this. Dietary chromium has a low absorption rate, which becomes even lower with age, so the elderly are especially at risk. Life threatening clinical deficiency may be rare, but deficiency is common.

Because adequate dietary chromium helps to maintain insulin sensitivity, chromium deficiency can contribute to the development of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Even mild deficiencies of chromium can produce problems in blood sugar metabolism, and contribute to other symptoms such as anxiety or fatigue. Altered cholesterol metabolism, accelerated atherosclerosis, decreased growth in young people and delayed healing time after injuries or surgery can result from chromium deficiency.

How much, and what kind of chromium, does an adult need?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends:

  • males 19-50, 35 mcg per day
  • men over 50, 30 mcg per day
  • females 19-50, 25 mcg per day
  • females over 50, 20 mcg per day
  • pregnant females over 19, 30 mcg per day
  • lactating females over 18, 45 mcg per day

Dr. Weil recommends 200 mcg a day as part of a multi-vitamin multi-mineral, and recommends 1000 mcg of GTF chromium a day for those with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

How much chromium does a child need?

According to the NIH:

  • infants 0-6 months, .2 mcg per day
  • babies 7-12 months, 5.5 mcg per day
  • children 1-3 years, 11 mcg per day
  • children 4-8 years, 15 mcg per day
  • young males 9-13, 25 mcg per day
  • young females 9-13, 21 mcg per day
  • teen males 14-18, 35 mcg per day
  • teen females 14-18, 25 mcg per day

How do you get enough chromium from foods?

Brewer’s yeast, broccoli, grape juice, meat and whole-grain products are all excellent sources. Some fruits, vegetables, and spices provide chromium. Romaine lettuce, raw onions and ripe tomatoes are all good sources.

Are there any risks associated with too much chromium?

Researchers have not found any toxic effects that result from taking high doses of chromium.

Are there any other special considerations?

Diabetics taking chromium should do so only under physician’s supervision, as should anyone using prescribed medications for blood sugar control.
The following medications can alter stomach acidity and may reduce chromium absorption or increase excretion of chromium:

  • Antacids
  • Corticosteroids
  • H2 blockers
  • Proton-pump inhibitors

The following, when taken with chromium, may be metabolized more slowly or quickly, or may change the absorption rate of chromium:

  • Vitamin C
  • Niacin
  • Beta-blockers (such as atenolol or propanolol)
  • Corticosteroids
  • Insulin
  • Nicotinic acid
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
  • Prostaglandin inhibitors (such as ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen, piroxicam, and aspirin)