Chromium

Other Name(s):

trivalent chromium, chromium picolinate

General Description:

Chromium is an essential trace metal involved in regulating blood sugar and enhancing insulin action to metabolize and store carbohydrates, fat  and protein. Therefore, adequate amounts are required in the diet for normal breakdown of carbohydrates.

Medically Valid Uses:

Although some studies have shown that chromium supplementation can improve blood sugar levels in chromium deficient animals, chromium deficiency is rare in humans. Studies of chromium supplementation to treat blood sugar and type 2 diabetes in humans are inconclusive but research is ongoing.

Recommended Intake:

Chromium is measured in micrograms (mcg). Listed below are the adequate intake (AI) levels for chromium set by the National Academy of Sciences. These represent the level that healthy people typically consume.

Group

Suggested allowance

Infants 0 to 6 months

0.2 mcg

Infants 7 to 12 months

5.5 mcg

Children 1 to 3 years)

11 mcg

Children 4 to 8 years

15 mcg

Children 9 to 13 years

males 25 mcg, females 21 mcg

Adolescents (14 to 18 years)

males 35 mcg, females 24 mcg

Adults (19 to 50)

males 35 mcg, females

Adults (50+)

males 30 mcg, females 20 mcg

Pregnant women

29-30 mcg

Breast-feeding women

44-45 mcg

Body concentrations of chromium decline with age.

Note: Oral chromium is poorly absorbed. Many products are chelated (the chromium binds to another chemical that will help absorption).

 

Food

Chromium (mcg)

Broccoli, 1/2 cup

11

Grape juice, 1 cup

8

English muffin, whole wheat, 1

4

Potatoes, mashed, 1 cup

3

Garlic, dried, 1 teaspoon

3

Basil, dried, 1 tablespoon

2

Beef cubes, 3 oz.

2

Orange juice, 1 cup

2

Turkey breast, 3 oz.

2

Whole wheat bread, 2 slices

2

Red wine, 5 oz.

1-13

Apple, unpeeled, 1 medium

1

Banana, 1 medium

1

Green beans, 1/2 cup

1

Side Effects, Toxicity and Interactions:

Although there are few serious adverse effects of high dietary chromium intake, all people should consult a physician before using chromium supplementation.

Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should consult a physician before taking any mineral supplements.

Chromium supplements could decrease medication requirements or decrease blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. Diabetic patients who start chromium supplements should monitor their blood sugar closely.

Chromium supplements also can have interactions with other medications, causing increased or decreased chromium absorption or increased or decreased effects of the medication. Medications with chromium interactions include:

antacids, corticosteroids, H2 blockers, proton pump inhibitors, beta-blockers, insulin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), prostaglandin inhibitors.

Additional Information:

Click here for a list of reputable Web sites with general information on nutrition.

References:

  1. Behrman RE, Kliegman RM, Nelson EE, Vaughan VC, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Co.; 1992.

  2. Morris BW, Macneil S, Hardisty CA, Heller S, Burgin C, Gray TA. Chromium homeostasis in patients with type II (NIDDM) diabetes. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 1999;13(1-2):57-61.

  3. Ravina A, Slezak L, Mirsky N, Bryden NA, Anderson RA. Reversal of corticosteroid-induced diabetes mellitus with supplemental chromium. Diabet Med. 1999;16(2):164-7.

  4. Braunwald E, Isselbacher KJ, Petersdorf RG, Wilson JD, Martin JB, Fauci AS, eds. Harrison's Principals of Internal Medicine. 11th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1987.

  5. USP DI 19th ed. Englewood, CO: Micromedex Inc.; 1999

  6. Stearns DM, Belbruno JJ, Wetterhahn KE. A prediction of chromium(III) accumulation in humans from chromium dietary supplements. FASEB J. 1995;9(15):1650-7.

  7. Reading SA. Chromium picolinate. J Fla Med Assoc. 1996;83(1):29-31.

  8. Ravina A, Slezak L, Mirsky N, Bryden NA, Anderson RA. Reversal of corticosteroid-induced diabetes mellitus with supplemental chromium. Diabet Med. 1999;16(2):164-7.

  9. Barceloux DG. Chromium. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1999;37(2):173-94.

  10. Morris BW, Macneil S, Hardisty CA, Heller S, Burgin C, Gray TA. Chromium homeostasis in patients with type II (NIDDM) diabetes [In Process Citation]. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 1999;13(1-2):57-61.

  11. Lukaski HC. Chromium as a supplement [In Process Citation]. Annu Rev Nutr. 1999;19:279-302.

  12. Smolin LA, Grosvenor MB. Nutrition Science and Applications. 2nd ed. Sanders College Publishing; 1997.

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