Chromium is a mineral that is best known for its effect on blood sugar level regulation. Insulin, a hormone used to transform sugar, starches, and other types of food into energy is affected by chromium. Some research has indicated that chromium may be effective in helping those with diabetes lower their blood sugar levels, as these individuals do not produce or cannot utilize a sufficient amount of insulin. It is estimated that 90% of American diets lack a sufficient amount of chromium, but severe deficiency is uncommon.
Populations that are at an increased risk of deficiency include the elderly, people who exercise frequently, those who consume a lot of sugary foods, and pregnant women. The effects of a decreased amount of chromium in the body include increased blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels, and an elevated risk for certain health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Also known as: Acétate de Chrome, Chlorure Chromique, Chlorure de Chrome, Chrome, Chrome III, Chrome 3+, Chrome FTG, Chrome Facteur de Tolérance au Glucose, Chrome Trivalent, Chromic Chloride, Chromium Acetate, Chromium Chloride, Chromium Nicotinate, Chromium Picolinate, Chromium Polynicotinate, Chromium Proteinate, Chromium Trichloride, Chromium Tripicolinate, Chromium III, Chromium III Picolinate, Chromium 3+, Cr III, Cr3+, Cromo, Glucose Tolerance Factor-Cr, GTF, GTF Chromium, GTF-Cr, Kali Bichromicum, Nicotinate de Chrome, Numéro Atomique 24, Picolinate de Chrome, Picolinate de Chrome III, Polynicotinate de Chrome, Potassium Bichromate, Protéinate de Chrome, Trichlorure de Chrome, Tripicolinate de Chrome, Trivalent Chromium
Diseases and Conditions
Chromium has been used for the following conditions:
- Chromium deficiency: taking chromium orally has been effective for preventing chromium deficiency
- Diabetes and hyperlipidemia: taking chromium picolinate orally can decrease fasting blood glucose, insulin levels, and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C), as well as increase insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes
- Cholesterol: research shows that taking chromium picolinate, chromium-containing brewer's yeas,. or chromium chloride containing 15-200 micrograms of elemental chromium daily for six to twelve weeks decreases low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and total cholesterol in patients with moderately elevated cholesterol levels or hyperlipidemia compared to the placebo
- Athletic performance
- Binge eating disorder
Chromium is likely safe when used orally for up to 2 years. The FDA and Institute of Medicine suggest that chromium is safest when taken in doses of up to 200mcg per day for up to 6 months. It is likely safe for children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women to consume chromium orally and appropriately, in the right amounts and under the supervision of a physician. Some side effects reported with chromium and chromium products include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Mood changes
- Gastrointestinal irritation
Symptoms of chromium toxicity include:
- Blood loss
- Cardiogenic shock
Chromium in hexavalent form is not tolerated; side effects include:
- Renal, liver, and cardiac failure
Individuals with psychiatric disorders, chromate or leather allergy, diabetes, renal disease, and liver disease should avoid chromium.
Chromium has interactions with:
- H2 blockers (such as cimetidine, famotidine, nizatidine, and ranitidine)
- Proton-pump inhibitors (such as omeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeprazole, pantoprazole, and esomeprazole)
- Beta-blockers (such as atenolol or propranolol)
- Nicotinic acid
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
- Prostaglandin inhibitors (such as ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen, piroxicam, and aspirin)
The effects of these medications may be enhanced if taken with chromium. These medications may increase chromium absorption.
Supplement and Food Interactions
Chromium may interact with:
- Herbs and supplements with hypoglycemic potential
- Vitamin C
Herbs that contain chromium can increase the risk of chromium toxicity when taken chronically or with chromium supplements. Chromium-containing herbs include:
- Brewer's yeast
Chromium may also lower blood glucose levels, which means chromium might have additive effects when used with other herbs and supplements that also lower glucose levels and increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Herbs and supplements with hypoglycemic effects include:
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- Bitter melon
- Devil's claw
- Guar gum
- Horse chestnut
- Panax ginseng
- Siberian ginseng
Chromium competes with iron for binding to transferrin and could predispose people to an iron deficiency. Concomitant vitamin C use may increase the absorption of chromium. In theory, co-administration of zinc and chromium might decrease absorption of both.
- For infants aged zero to six months, the recommended dosage is 0.2 microgram per day.
- For infants aged seven to twelve months, the recommended dosage is 5.5 micrograms per day.
- For children aged one to three years, the recommended dosage is 11 micrograms per day.
- For children aged four to eight years, the recommended dosage is 15 micrograms per day.
- For males aged nine to thirteen years, the recommended dosage is 25 micrograms per day.
- For females aged nine to thirteen years, the recommended dosage is 21 micrograms per day.
- For males aged fourteen to eighteen years, the recommended dosage is 35 micrograms per day.
- For females aged fourteen to eighteen years, the recommended dosage is 24 micrograms per day.
- For pregnant women aged fourteen to eighteen years, the recommended dosage is 29 micrograms per day.
- For lactating women aged fourteen to eighteen years, the recommended dosage is 44 micrograms per day.
- For males aged nineteen to fifty years, the recommended dosage is 35 micrograms per day.
- For females aged nineteen to fifty years, the recommended dosage is 25 micrograms per day.
- For pregnant women aged nineteen to fifty years, the recommended dosage is 30 micrograms per day.
- For lactating women aged nineteen to fifty years, the recommended dosage is 45 micrograms per day.
- For males older than fifty years, the recommended dosage is 30 micrograms per day.
- For females older than fifty years, the recommended dosage is 20 micrograms per day.
Chromium is widely distributed in foods but most foods provide only small amounts (less than two micrograms per serving).
Some relatively good sources include:
- Whole grains
- Brewer's yeast
- Green beans
- Dairy products
- Fresh vegetables
- Herbs and spices
- Red clover
- Wild yam
Foods high in simple sugars, such as sucrose and fructose, are low in chromium.