Chromium is a trace element essential for human glucose, insulin, and lipid metabolism.

Trivalent (chromium 3+) and hexavalent (chromium 6+) are the two types of chromium. Foods include the trivalent form (and will be the focus of the following information). Hexavalent chromium is a poisonous metal that can be found in industrial contamination.

Chromium is available in a variety of forms in supplements, including:

• Chromium nicotinate

• Chromium chloride

• Chromium nicotinate

• Chromium chloride

• Chromium citrate

Although it is unknown which form of chromium is more efficient in the human body, chromium chloride has a low bioavailability. This indicates that it is poorly broken down and absorbed by the body.

People require extremely modest amounts of chromium, which is present in some foods and the environment. It’s sold as a nutritional supplement to help with diabetes, weight reduction, and muscular mass. In over-the-counter products, trivalent chromium from yeast extract is frequently referred to as glucose tolerance factor (GTF).

Despite the fact that most individuals get enough via their diets, chromium deficiency has been linked to the development of diabetes. Chromium appears to have positive modulatory effects in hyperglycemic circumstances, according to in vitro studies. Antidiabetic, depressive, and anxiolytic effects have also been observed in animal models.

In human trials, chromium supplementation with biotin has been shown to aid with glycemic control in type 2 diabetes (T2D), while findings from other research using chromium alone have been equivocal. In another research, chromium picolinate was found to enhance satiety. Many clinical investigations, on the other hand, have failed to show benefits in glucose metabolism, weight reduction, or muscle mass. Recently, one meta-analysis found that chromium monosupplementation improved glycemic control and lipid profiles in the long run, whereas another found that chromium picolinate had no effect on A1C or fasting plasma glucose. Mixed and small effect sizes may indicate a higher glucoregulatory impact in complicated individuals with concomitant diabetes, depression, and binge eating, according to some theories. A large population study shows that those who took chromium-containing supplements had a lower risk of T2D than those who didn’t, but further research is needed.

Chromium supplementation had no effect on endocrine profiles, nitric oxide, or glutathione levels in women with PCOS, but it did lower acne, hirsutism, C-reactive protein, total antioxidant capacity, and malondialdehyde levels.

However, meta-analyses show that chromium supplementation for PCOS patients may not provide substantial advantages or that the size of impact is minor, with therapeutic significance unknown.

Oral chromium is poorly absorbed, although salt versions such chromium picolinate, niacin-bound chromium, and chromium chloride appear to have a higher bioavailability. Bioavailability of other new chromium compounds has also improved. Renal failure, rhabdomyolysis, liver damage, and dermatitis are all possible side effects.

Health benefits of chromium

Chromium supplements are frequently used to help weight reduction and blood sugar management. Chromium acts by boosting insulin’s activity in the body. Insulin is required for carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism and storage in the body. It’s unknown how it works in the body as a supplement. It may be present in a number of meals, but determining the quantity in each is not always straightforward.

It’s also difficult to tell if someone is low in chromium and, if so, whether or not supplements can help. Many research on chromium supplements have come up with mixed results, depending on the kind of chromium investigated and the dosages utilized.

1.Type 2 Diabetes

Multiple studies have found that using chromium supplements reduced blood sugar and lipid levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. When compared to placebo, supplementation with 200 micrograms (mcg) of chromium picolinate improved glycemic control without increasing adverse effects, according to a comprehensive analysis of 25 trials.

2.Weight Loss

Although there is no clear evidence that chromium can aid with weight reduction, the hypothesis that it does is based on the premise that controlled blood sugar leads to less cravings. Scientific research has not substantiated claims that it helps to decrease body fat and enhance lean muscle mass.

Chromium in cancer

The carcinogenicity of chromium compounds is examined, with special focus paid to information gaps and research needs for risk assessment. The most pressing questions right now are whether trivalent chromium compounds cause cancer and if there is a difference in cancer-causing effects between soluble and barely soluble hexavalent compounds in real-world exposure scenarios. There are also no dose values for risk assessment based on epidemiological studies.

Although high doses in some in vitro systems have indicated genetic damage, current data suggests that trivalent chromium compounds do not cause cancer. In humans and experimental animals, hexavalent chromium compounds induce cancer, and they cause genetic harm in bacteria and mammalian cells in vitro. The barely soluble hexavalent salts are the most powerful carcinogens, according to epidemiological evidence and animal tests, although appropriate identification and characterization of exposure patterns in epidemiological study is missing.

Mechanism of Action

Chromium is a trace element that has a role in glucose and lipid metabolism, as well as circulating insulin levels and insulin peripheral action. In vitro and in vivo studies show that chromium enhances insulin function. This is considered to happen because of an interaction between chromium, low molecular weight chromium-binding material, and activated cell surface insulin receptors, which leads in increased intracellular tyrosine kinase activity.

Chromium restored beta cell activity and reduced macroangiopathy in diabetic animal models. It also increased adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity to improve cellular glucose absorption and reduced oxidative stress by augmenting the insulin signalling pathway, dulling negative regulators of insulin signalling, and attenuating oxidative stress. The proteins peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-gamma), insulin receptor substrate (IRS-1), and nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-B) may all be influenced by chromium. Modified 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor (5-HT) function in the brain, as well as enhanced serotonergic and noradrenergic action, provide antidepressant effects. Lowering plasma corticosterone levels by reversal of hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA) axis overactivity is another route for antidepressant and anxiolytic effects. 5HT2A downregulation and enhanced insulin sensitivity have been proposed as antidepressant mechanisms in humans.


Natural products sources of chromium. Food containing Cr

Supplementing with chromium has just a few documented adverse effects. There does not appear to be any risk of significant adverse effects at moderate dosages.

When used in excessive dosages, chromium supplements have been reported to induce discomfort and bloating, renal damage, muscle difficulties, and skin responses.

1.Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Chromium does pass into breastmilk, although at usual quantities it is not considered hazardous. It’s an important component that’s also included in infant formula. Before taking any supplements or medicines, see your healthcare practitioner if you are pregnant or nursing.

2.Medication Interactions

Certain medicines can increase or decrease chromium absorption in the body (meaning your body gets rid of more of it). These are some of them:

• H2 blockers (cimetidine, famotidine, and nizatidine)

• Protein pump inhibitors (omeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeprazole, pantoprazole, and esomeprazole)

• Antacids

• Corticosteroids

Taking chromium may increase the effects of other medicines. These are some of them:

• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)

• Prostaglandin inhibitors

• Beta-blockers

• Corticosteroids

• Insulin

• Nicotinic acid


If used with diabetic medicines, chromium may reduce blood sugar levels too much. If you have diabetes, utilise chromium products with caution and keep a careful eye on your blood glucose levels. It’s possible that diabetic medicines will need to be dosed differently.


There is no conclusive evidence that chromium supplementation improves glucose metabolism, weight loss, or muscle mass.

Chromium is a trace element that the body requires in extremely tiny levels (0.025 mg a day). Chromium appears to have a role in maintaining healthy levels of glucose, lipids, and insulin in the body, according to research. This might theoretically assist people with type 2 diabetes, but the data from human trials is equivocal.

In over-the-counter medicines, chromium is sometimes coupled with GTF (Glucose Tolerance Factor). GTF is a yeast extract that has been shown in lab tests to aid glucose metabolism, although this effect has not been validated in humans.