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Information about Chromium

Chromium is an essential trace element which plays an important role in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.

Deficiency of Chromium

Chromium deficiency has been linked to insulin resistance and diabetes, and oral supplementation with trivalent chromium has been found to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. Claims have been made that chromium also benefits muscle building. As a consequence, chromium is a frequent component of vitamin, mineral and general nutritional supplements. Trivalent chromium is not well absorbed as simple salts, and complexes of chromium have better bioavailability.

Dosage and administration for Chromium

Chromium is available in multiple oral formulations (picolinate, dinicocysteinate, complexed with nicotinic acid and in brewer's yeast), in tablets and capsules in concentrations of 150 μg to 1000 μg, and as chromic chloride in a liquid solution (4 μg/mL) for use in parenteral nutrition.

Side effects of Chromium

In concentrations found in foods and in doses used clinically, chromium has been reported to be safe and without appreciable toxicity. Nevertheless, there have been at least two publications describing renal injury from ingestion of moderately high doses of chromium picolinate for 1 and 4 months, one of which was accompanied by transient liver injury with features of acute hepatic necrosis.


High doses of chromium, and particularly hexavalent chromium (6+), can be toxic. Hexavalent chromium is an industrially important metal used in stainless steel and other alloys and is a potent oxidizing agent with known toxicity to industrial workers. Acute, high dose ingestion of chromium (both trivalent and hexavalent) can cause severe, immediate multiorgan (including liver) damage and death. Lower dose chronic occupational exposure is associated with skin and local tissue injury and may be carcinogenic.

Trace Elements in Tissues and Biologic Systems

Aluminum Copper Nickel
Antimony Fluorine Rubidium
Barium Iodine Selenium
Boron Lead Silver
Bromine Lithium Strontium
Cadmium Manganese Tin
Chromium Mercury Vanadium
Cobalt Molybdenum Zinc

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