Chromium is a mineral. It is called an "essential trace element" because very small amounts of chromium are necessary for human health. There are two forms of chromium: trivalent chromium and hexavalent chromium. The first is found in foods and supplements and is safe for humans. The second is a known toxin that can cause skin problems and lung cancer.

Chromium is used for chromium deficiency. It is also used for diabetes, high cholesterol, a hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with cysts (polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS), and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.


Is a Form of:


Primary Functions:

Chromium deficiency

Also Known As:

Acétate de Chrome, Atomic Number 24, Chlorure Chromique

How Does It Work?

Chromium might help keep blood sugar levels normal by improving the way our bodies use insulin.


  • Chromium deficiency.Taking chromium by mouth is effective for preventing chromium deficiency.
  • Diabetes. Taking chromium picolinate may lower fasting blood sugar and insulin levels in some people with type 2 diabetes. Chromium picolinate might also decrease weight gain in people taking a class of antidiabetes medications called sulfonylureas. Higher chromium doses might work better and faster than lower doses. Higher doses might also lower the level of certain blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides) in some people with diabetes. Early research shows that chromium picolinate might have the same benefits in people with type 1 diabetes, people who have diabetes as a result of steroid treatment, and people with diabetes that develops during pregnancy. But chromium might not help everyone. Some researchers think that chromium supplements only benefit people with low chromium levels or malnutrition. Most people with diabetes don't have low chromium levels. Chromium might also help prevent diabetes. But research is limited.
  • High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia). Some research shows that taking 15-200 mcg of chromium daily for 6-12 weeks lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol and total cholesterol levels in people with slightly high or high cholesterol levels. Other research suggests that taking chromium for 7-16 months lowers triglycerides and LDL and increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol. Also, taking chromium alone or along with other supplements seems to reduce levels of blood fats in people with high blood fat levels. However, there is some evidence that taking chromium daily for 10 weeks does not improve cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women.

Recommended Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • General: The safe and tolerable upper intake levels of chromium are not known. However, daily adequate intake (AI) levels for chromium have been established: men 14 to 50 years, 35 mcg; men 51 and older, 30 mcg; women 19 to 50 years, 25 mcg; women 51 and older, 20 mcg; pregnant women 14 to 18 years, 29 mcg; 19 to 50 years, 30 mcg; breast-feeding women 14 to 18 years, 44 mcg; 19 to 50 years, 45 mcg.
  • For diabetes: In people with type 2 diabetes, 200-1000 mcg of chromium taken daily in single or divided doses has been used. Also, a specific combination product providing chromium 600 mcg plus biotin 2 mg daily (Diachrome by Nutrition 21) has been used for up to 3 months. In addition, 1000 mcg of chromium (as chromium yeast) together with 1000 mg of vitamin C and 800 IU of vitamin E daily for 6 months has been used. In people with gestational diabetes, 4-8 mcg/kg of chromium picolinate daily for 8 weeks has been used. In people with high blood sugar due to use of corticosteroid medication, 400 mcg of chromium once daily or 200 mcg three times daily has been used.
  • For high levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia): 50-250 mcg of chromium as chromium chloride or chromium picolinate, or brewer's yeast containing 15-48 mcg of chromium, has been used 5-7 days weekly for up to 16 months. 200 mcg of chromium polynicotinate along with 100 mg of grape seed extract, taken twice daily for 2 months, has been used. One to two capsules of a specific supplement (Colenon) containing 240 mg of chitosan, 55 mg of Garcinia cambogia extract, and 19 mg of chromium taken daily for 4 weeks has been used.


  • General: The safe and tolerable upper intake levels of chromium in children are not known. However, daily adequate intake (AI) levels for chromium have been established: Infants 0 to 6 months, 0.2 mcg; 7 to 12 months, 5.5 mcg; children 1 to 3 years, 11 mcg; 4 to 8 years, 15 mcg; boys 9 to 13 years, 25 mcg; boys 14-18 years. 35 mcg; girls 9 to 13 years, 21 mcg; 14 to 18 years, 24 mcg.
  • For high levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia): 400-600 mcg of chromium polynicotinate and 1000-1500 mg of glucomannan has been used twice daily for 8 weeks.

Chromium Supplements Frequently Asked Questions

What does chromium do to your body?

Chromium is a mineral that humans require in trace amounts. Chromium is known to enhance the action of insulin and also appears to be directly involved in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. Chromium stores in the body may be reduced under several conditions.

Are chromium supplements safe?

Cautions about supplements

Chromium deficiency is rare, and studies have not yet confirmed the benefits of taking supplements, so it is best to obtain chromium through food. However, large doses of chromium in supplement form can cause stomach problems, low blood sugar, and kidney or liver damage.

Does chromium help with weight loss?

So there are claims that chromium supplements can lower your appetite, help you burn more calories, cut your body fat, and boost your muscle mass. But a review of 24 studies that checked the effects of 200-1,000 micrograms of chromium a day found that there aren't any significant benefits.

Does chromium have side effects?

Chromium has been used safely in a small number of studies using doses of 200-1000 mcg daily for up to 2 years. Some people experience side effects such as skin irritation, headaches, dizziness, nausea, mood changes, impaired thinking, judgment, and coordination.

Does chromium burn belly fat?

Chromium is a mineral that enhances insulin, a hormone that's important for turning food into energy. Your body also needs it to store carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. So there are claims that chromium supplements can lower your appetite, help you burn more calories, cut your body fat, and boost your muscle mass.

What are the benefits of cinnamon and chromium?

Four-month treatment with a dietary supplement containing cinnamon, chromium and carnosine decreased FPG and increased fat-free mass in overweight or obese pre-diabetic subjects. These beneficial effects might open up new avenues in the prevention of diabetes.

Can chromium cause depression?

For example, one study showed that chromium may affect symptoms such as increased appetite and eating, carbohydrate cravings, and diurnal mood variation, a type of depression in which symptoms are worse in the morning but improve as the day goes on.

Where is chromium found in food?

Some of the best sources of chromium are broccoli, liver and brewer's yeast. Potatoes, whole grains, seafood, and meats also contain chromium.

Should I take chromium?

When taken by mouth: Chromium is LIKELY SAFE for most adults in medicinal amounts, short-term. Up to 1000 mcg per day of chromium has been used safely for up to 6 months. When taken by mouth in these doses for longer periods of time, chromium is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults.

Does chromium make you poop?

Benefits and risks of chromium supplements

Chromium picolinate is a popular supplement often marketed to those wanting to build muscle or lose weight. Some of those taking the supplement also experienced side effects, including watery stool, vertigo, headaches, and hives.

What is the best chromium to take for weight loss?

Doses of up to 1,000 μg/day of chromium picolinate were used in these studies. Overall, this research found that chromium picolinate produced very small amounts of weight loss (2.4 pounds or 1.1 kg) after 12 to 16 weeks in overweight or obese adults.

Is chromium bad for your liver?

There have been no reported cases of chromium poisoning due to food intake, so the IOM has not fixed a maximum intake level. However, large doses of chromium in supplement form can cause stomach problems, low blood sugar, and kidney or liver damage.

Does chromium help blood sugar?

Chromium picolinate, specifically, has been shown to reduce insulin resistance and to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Dietary chromium is poorly absorbed. Supplements containing 200-1,000 mcg chromium as chromium picolinate a day have been found to improve blood glucose control.

What's the difference between chromium and chromium picolinate?

However, chromium picolinate is an alternate form of chromium that is absorbed better. For this reason, this type is commonly found in dietary supplements. Chromium picolinate is the mineral chromium attached to three molecules of picolinic acid.

What are the signs of chromium deficiency?

Signs and symptoms

The claimed symptoms of chromium deficiency caused by long-term total parenteral nutrition are severely impaired glucose tolerance, weight loss, peripheral neuropathy and confusion.

Does chromium cause anxiety?

Behavioral or psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia: Chromium might affect brain chemistry and might make behavioral or psychiatric conditions worse. If you have one of these conditions, be careful when using chromium supplements. Pay attention to any changes in how you feel.

Which form of chromium is toxic?

Trivalent chromium, or chromium(III), is the form of chromium that is essential to human health. Hexavalent chromium, or chromium(VI), is an unequivocally toxic form.

How much chromium should I take?

In the United States, the recommended dietary reference intake (DRI) of chromium is 35 μg/day for adult men and 25 μg/day for adult women (20). After the age of 50, the recommended intake decreases slightly to 30 μg/day for men and 20 μg/day for women.

Do eggs have chromium?

Chromium is commonly found in egg yolk, whole grains, high-bran cereals, green beans, broccoli, nuts, and brewer's yeast.

What is chromium in food?

Processed meats, whole-grain products, high-bran cereals, green beans, broccoli, nuts, and egg yolk are good sources of chromium. Foods high in simple sugars, such as sucrose and fructose, are usually low in chromium and may actually promote chromium excretion (4).

How do you get chromium in your diet?

Foods that are good sources of chromium include:

  • Vegetables such as broccoli, potatoes, and green beans.
  • Whole-grain products.
  • Beef and poultry.
  • Fruits, including apples and bananas; grape juice.
  • Milk and dairy products.

Clinical Studies