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Chromium

General Information

Chromium is a metal. It is known as an essential trace element because humans need small amounts in order for our bodies to function properly. It is available as a supplement, but it can also be found in foods like brewer’s yeast, beef, chicken, whole grains, eggs, apples, bananas, and broccoli.

Common Name(s)

chromium

Scientific Name(s)

chromium

Scientific Name(s)

Chromium is taken by mouth at recommended doses of 2.2 µg to 500 µg per day for adults. It is available in different forms, including tablets, capsules, lozenges, and liquids.

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What is this product used for?

Chromium is needed to maintain good health. It helps the body metabolize carbohydrates and fats. Products providing daily doses of chromium at or above adequate intake (AI) values also help to prevent chromium deficiency.

Chromium also helps to ensure that the blood sugar levels stay within the normal range by improving the way our bodies use insulin. Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone that allows glucose (sugar) to enter into our body's cells, where it is needed for energy.

There is some evidence that chromium may improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes, but more research is needed. There may also be some benefit for people with high cholesterol levels.

Studies to date have shown that chromium does not improve athletic performance or decrease body fat.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

Chromium is safe for most people when used within recommended amounts for 6 months or less.

Chromium supplements are generally well tolerated when taken in recommended doses.

Using insulin or other antidiabetes medication together with chromium may cause your blood sugar to be too low.

In addition to insulin and thyroid medications, the following medications may interact with chromium:

  • antacids
  • corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone)
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; e.g., ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen)
  • H2 blockers (e.g., famotidine, nizatidine, ranitidine)
  • proton pump inhibitors (e.g., lansoprazole, omeprazole, pantoprazole)

Talk to your health care provider before starting chromium supplements if you have a kidney disorder or diabetes. You should also avoid chromium picolinate products if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

Source(s)

  1. Chromium (monograph). Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. (accessed 29 June 2012).
  2. National Institutes of Health (NIH): Office of Dietary Supplements. Chromium. Available at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Chromium-HealthProfessional/. Accessed March 2, 2014.
  3. MedlinePlus. Chromium in diet. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002418.htm. Accessed March 2, 2014.
  4. MayoClinic. Chromium Supplement. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/chromium-supplement-oral-route-parenteral-route/description/drg-20070098. Accessed March 2, 2014.
  5. Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products Database. Chromium. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=65&lang=eng (Accessed May 2 2016).
  6. Oregon State University. Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrient Information Center. Chromium. Available at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/chromium/. Accessed March 2, 2014.

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