Chromium is a metal that occurs naturally in the body and food products in small amounts. It is found in broccoli, meat, and potatoes. Chromium has been used to help control blood glucose levels and to promote weight loss. It can be taken as a pill. It can also be injected into the bloodstream by a healthcare provider.
200 to 500 micrograms daily
What Research Shows
May Be Effective
Not Enough Data to Assess
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
It is likely safe to take chromium in small doses for a short time, but diarrhea, hives, and headache are possible. There have also been reports of kidney failure.G1 Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period.
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.
A. Bipolar Disorder
A1. Sylvia LG, Peters AT, et al. Nutrient-based therapies for bipolar disorder: a systematic review. Psychother Psychosom. 2013;82(1):10-19.
B. Cognitive Function
B1. McCleery J, Abraham RP, et al. Vitamin and mineral supplementation for preventing dementia or delaying cognitive decline in people with mild cognitive impairment. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Nov 1;11:CD011905.
C1. Abdollahi M, Farshchi A, et al. Effect of chromium on glucose and lipid profiles in patients with type 2 diabetes; a meta-analysis review of randomized trials. J Pharm Pharm Sci. 2013;16(1):99-114.
C2. Suksomboon N, Poolsup N, et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy and safety of chromium supplementation in diabetes. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2014;39(3):292-306.
C3. Bailey CH. Improved meta-analytic methods show no effect of chromium supplements on fasting glucose. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2014 Jan;157(1):1-8.
C4. Yin RV, Phung OJ. Effect of chromium supplementation on glycated hemoglobin and fasting plasma glucose in patients with diabetes mellitus. Nutr J. 2015 Feb 13;14:14.
C5. San Mauro-Martin I, Ruiz-León AM, et al. [Chromium supplementation in patients with type 2 diabetes and high risk of type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials]. Nutr Hosp. 2016;33(1):27.
D. Metabolic Syndrome
D1. Nussbaumerova B, Rosolova H, et al. Chromium Supplementation Reduces Resting Heart Rate in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome and Impaired Glucose Tolerance. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2018;183(2):192-199.
E1. Onakpoya I, Posadzki P, et al. Chromium supplementation in overweight and obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Obes Rev. 2013;14(6):496-507.
E2. Tian H, Guo X, et al. Chromium picolinate supplementation for overweight or obese adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;(11):CD010063.
F. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
F1. Jamillian M, Asemi Z. Chromium Supplementation and the Effects on Metabolic Status in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Ann Nutr Metab. 2015;67(1):42-48.
F2. Ashoush S, Abou-Camrah A, et al. Chromium picolinate reduces insulin resistance in polycystic ovary syndrome: Randomized controlled trial. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2016;42(3):279-285.
F3. Jamillan M, Bahmani F, et al. The Effects of Chromium Supplementation on Endocrine Profiles, Biomarkers of Inflammation, and Oxidative Stress in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2016;172(1): 72-78.
F4. Fazelian S, Rouhani MH, et al. Chromium supplementation and polycystic ovary syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2017 Jul;42:92-96.
F5. Arentz S, Smith CA, et al. Nutritional supplements and herbal medicines for women with polycystic ovary syndrome; a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Nov 25;17(1):500.
F6. Tang XL, Sun Z, et al. Chromium supplementation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: Systematic review and meta-analysis. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2018 Jan;44(1):134-143.
F7. Heshmati J, Omani-Samani R, et al. The Effects of Supplementation with Chromium on Insulin Resistance Indices in Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. Horm Metab Res. 2018 Mar;50(3):193-200.
F8. Maleki V, Izadi A, et al. Chromium supplementation does not improve weight loss or metabolic and hormonal variables in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome: A systematic review. Nutr Res. 2018 Aug;56:1-10.
G1. McCarty MF. Over-the-counter chromium and renal failure. Ann Intern Med. 1997 Oct 15;127(8 Pt 1):654-655.
G2. Cerulli J, Grabe DW, et al. Chromium picolinate toxicity. Ann Pharmacother. 1998 Apr;32(4):428-431.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
Last Updated: 6/17/2020
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