Tuesday, June 30, 2015

History of food mineral: chromium

The German prospector Johann Gottlieb Lehmann (1719-1767) first wrote about this red-orange mineral in 1762, calling it red lead. He analyzed samples from a Siberian mine and wrongly thought they were made from the heavy metals lead and selenium.

Chromium was discovered by the French chemist Louis-Nicholas Vauquelin, Professor at the Ecole des Mines de Paris in 1797, while he was studying the properties of crocoite, and ore which is rich in lead chromate.

Vauquelin’s studies showed the crystals contained lead and a completely new metallic element.

Its common name of chrome was derived from the Greek word chroma, which means color, because the element is present in many different colored compounds.

It was not until 1959 that the medical scientists W. Mertz and K. Schwarz discovered that the feeding of chromium salts resulted from the feeding of diets based upon torula yeast.

Since the 1960s, chromium has been generally believed to be essential for proper carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Chromium deficiency has been suggested to lead to symptoms associated with adult-inset diabetes and cardiovascular.

During the 1960s and 1970s, evidence accumulated that marginal of deficient chromium may predispose to maturity onset diabetes mellitus and atherosclerotic disease.

In 1999, sales of products containing chromium reached almost half-a-billion dollars, making the supplement second in sales only to calcium among mineral supplements.
History of food mineral: chromium