Chromium supplement benefit and side effects dosage 200 mcg
October 25 2017 by Ray Sahelian, M.D. use in blood sugar control and diabetes

By 1948 chromium was recognized as a consistent component of plants and animals. In 1954 chromium was found to enhance the synthesis of cholesterol and fatty acids from acetate. In 1959, trivalent chromium was identified as the active component of the "glucose tolerance factor," which alleviated the impaired glucose tolerance in rats fed diets inadequate in the mineral. In the 1960s, reports indicated that chromium was involved with blood sugar control.

Nature's Way, GTF Chromium, Polynicotinate, 100 Capsules
buy Chromium Picolinate 200 mcg each pill

Chromium is an essential part of the GTF (glucose tolerance factor) molecule. GTF is an important cofactor for insulin in the regulation of blood sugar which is necessary for proper metabolism. This product is 100% natural, and does not contains artificial ingredients or preservatives.

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Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 1 Capsule
Servings Per Container: 100
  Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
Chromium (as ChromeMate) 200 mcg 167%

Dosage, how often to take: Many diabetics may find 100 to 400 mcg a day helpful, but long term use should be done with medical supervision since safety issues of high dose chromium use is not fully known. Those who do not have diabetes should consider only taking a pill two or three times a week.
Supplement Facts: Chromium picolinate 200 mcg each pill
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Q. How does one know how much chromium picolinate to take? 100 mcg a day or 1000 mcg a day?
   A. I tend to be cautious and for the time being would suggest most people with diabetes use a range of 100 to 400 mcg a day with a day or two off each week.

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Vitamin A
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Calcium (citrate)
Iodine (potassium iodine)
Magnesium (oxide)
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Selenium (amino acid chelate)
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Chromium is generally accepted as an essential mineral that enhances insulin action and thus influences carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism.
In August 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed a qualified health claim for chromium picolinate. The FDA's ruling was based on the findings that chromium picolinate helps to increase insulin sensitivity in those at high risk for diabetes. Recent studies indicate that chromium picolinate may be helpful for those who have diabetes, although not all studies have come to the same conclusion.

Diabetes benefit
PLoS One. 2015. A Dietary Supplement Containing Cinnamon, Chromium and Carnosine Decreases Fasting Plasma Glucose and Increases Lean Mass in Overweight or Obese Pre-Diabetic Subjects: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 62 subjects unwilling to change their dietary and physical activity habits, were allocated to receive a 4-month treatment with either 1.2 g/day of the dietary supplement or placebo. Patients were followed up until 6 months post-randomization. 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.

J Clin Pharm Ther. 2014. Systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy and safety of chromium supplementation in diabetes. Chromium is an essential mineral for carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the effects on metabolic profiles and safety of chromium supplementation in diabetes mellitus. The available evidence suggests favourable effects of chromium supplementation on glycemic control in patients with diabetes.

August 2006 study
Chromium picolinate may help people with type 2 diabetes better control their blood sugar, and possibly avoid the weight gain that comes with certain diabetes drugs. For their study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, researchers tested whether chromium picolinate supplements were useful in combination with a sulfonylurea medication -- an older class of diabetes drugs that often spur weight gain. The researchers randomly assigned 29 diabetic adults to take either the medication plus 1,000 micrograms of chromium picolinate per day or the drug plus a placebo (sugar pill) for 6 months. Study participants who took the chromium picolinate supplement showed greater improvements in insulin sensitivity and long-term blood sugar control. They also gained less weight and body fat than those on the medication alone.

Chromium picolinate supplementation attenuates body weight gain and increases insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes Care. 2006.
Thirty-seven subjects with type 2 diabetes were placed on a sulfonylurea (glipizide gastrointestinal therapeutic system 5 mg/day) with placebo for 3 months. Subjects were then randomized in a double-blind fashion to receive either the sulfonylurea plus placebo (n = 12) or the sulfonylurea plus 1,000 microg Cr as CrPic for 6 months. Body composition, insulin sensitivity, and glycemic control were determined at baseline, end of the 3-month single-blind placebo phase, and end of study. Subjects randomized to sulfonylurea/placebo, as opposed to those randomized to sulfonylurea /chromium picolinate, had a significant increase in body weight (2.2 kg vs. 0.9 kg), percent body fat, and total abdominal fat from baseline. Subjects randomized to sulfonylurea / chromium picolinate had significant improvements in insulin sensitivity corrected for fat-free mass as opposed to sulfonylurea/placebo. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that chromium picolinate supplementation in subjects with type 2 diabetes who are taking sulfonylurea agents significantly improves insulin sensitivity and glucose control. Further, Chromium picolinate supplementation significantly attenuated body weight gain and visceral fat accumulation compared with the placebo group. Nutrition 21, maker of the Chromax brand, supplied the chromium picolinate supplements.

A National Institutes of Health study indicates that chromium picolinate supplements enhance insulin sensitivity. Unless dietary trends do an abrupt about-face, the world is heading for a dramatic increase in type 2 diabetes. A good place to start is reducing intake of white flour and sugar. But emerging evidence suggests you should also consider making sure you are ingesting enough chromium. Scientists have long known that chromium is involved in sugar metabolism. Whenever your body mobilizes stored glucose, it requires chromium to do that. Now research is showing that chromium may help diabetic and pre-diabetic patients boost their insulin sensitivity by increasing both the number of insulin receptors on cells and the activity of those receptors.

In 2005, FDA issued a statement, "One small study suggests that chromium picolinate may reduce the risk of insulin resistance, and therefore possibly may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. FDA concludes, however, that the existence of such a relationship with either insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes is highly uncertain."

Diabetes type 1
Q. I read with interest your info on chromium and diabetes, but noted that there was no mention of type one diabetes, i.e. insulin dependent diabetes. Is chromium supplementation recommended for type one diabetics?
   A. I have not seen enough human research with chromium supplements as a treatment for type one diabetes to know whether this mineral is of any benefit.

Chromium and depression
Supplements containing the mineral chromium may be useful in treating some cases of depression -- particularly when carbohydrate craving is a prominent symptom. A study, of 113 people with a disorder known as atypical depression, found that although chromium picolinate supplements were no more effective than an inactive pill in relieving depression overall, they did appear to aid certain, mainly appetite-related, symptoms. Moreover, a subgroup of patients -- those who said they had "irrepressible cravings" for sweets and starches -- did show a general improvement in depression symptoms after taking the supplement. Exactly why chromium supplements seemed to aid these patients is not completely clear. However, the study authors speculate the improvements in the body's use of insulin, the key hormonal regulator of blood sugar, may be the reason.

Effectiveness of chromium in atypical depression: a placebo-controlled trial.
Biol Psychiatry. 2003.
A placebo-controlled, double-blind, pilot study of Chromium picolinate was conducted in 15 patients with DSM-IV major depressive disorder, atypical type. Patients received 600 micro g of Chromium picolinate or matching placebo for 8 weeks. Seven (70%) Chromium picolinate and zero (0%) PBO patients met responder criteria. Three patients failed to show any improvement. Chromium picolinate shows promising antidepressant effects in atypical depression. Its mechanism of action may relate to 5HT2A downregulation, increased insulin sensitivity, or to other effects.

Heart rhythm
Chromium supplementation may be good for the heart in people with type 2 diabetes. It appears to lead to a shortening of a harmful heart rhythm, which may lower cardiovascular risk in type 2 diabetics. The heart rhythm disturbance known as a prolonged QT interval has been linked to fatal heart arrhythmias. Therefore, the changes in QT interval observed with chromium supplementation in patients with type 2 diabetes may also translate into a survival benefit.

Availability over the counter
Chromium is available in a variety of dosages and forms, most commonly in 100 or 200 mcg. A dosage of 100 to 200 mcg of chromium could be taken by healthy individuals a couple of times a week, while those with diabetes may benefit from taking chromium 3 to 5 times a week. 

Which is a better preparation, polynicotinate or picolinate?
    I have not seen any such comparison studies so I don't know which form is better.

I have read about a new product, Chromium Dinicocysteinate. I think it’s also called Zychrome. Do you have any opinions about it?
   I am not familiar with Zychrome.

Chromium in food, source
Since we need only trace amounts of chromium, it should be easy to get enough from the diet. Yet many of us are falling short—perhaps because we're eating so many refined carbohydrates. So try consuming more chromium-boosting broccoli, apples and other produce while cutting down on chromium-depleting sugar. As a fallback, consider a supplement of chromium picolinate. The current recommendation is 25 to 35 micrograms a day, but trials have used 100 to 200 mcg or more.

Blood level
Chromium is better measured in toenail clippings because this provides a better indication of levels on a long-term basis compared with measurement of blood levels.

Chromium picolinate side effects
No major short term side effects have been reported. High doses may cause nausea or other gastrointestinal disturbances. High dose long term use of may have side effects that we currently do not fully understand.
I prefer people take less than 200 mcg a day with occasional breaks.

Heart Attack
Low body levels of chromium, a mineral involved in carbohydrate and fat metabolism, are associated with an increased risk of heart attack. Chromium deficiency leads to blood sugar problems that cannot be controlled with insulin, but the association of chromium intake with heart-related outcomes is largely unknown. Dr. Eliseo Guallar from the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research in Baltimore, and colleagues measured chromium levels in 684 men who survived a heart attack and in a similar number of men who'd never experienced one.
Chromium levels were lower among older individuals, declining about 9 percent with each decade increase of age. Levels were also lower in those with high blood pressure and in heart attack patients. Further analysis showed that subjects with the highest levels were 35-percent less likely to have a heart attack than those with the lowest levels.

Chromium-induced toxic hepatitis.
Eur J Intern Med. 2002.
A clinical case of acute hepatitis in a patient undergoing an alternative medicine weight-reduction regimen is reported. Chromium polynicotinate had been ingested in combination with vegetable extracts over a 5-month period. Liver biopsy was compatible with toxic hepatitis and greatly elevated hepatic chromium levels were found (>10x normal). The clinical picture regressed following suspension of the medication.

Research studies
Antioxidant effects of chromium supplementation with type 2 diabetes mellitus and euglycemic subjects.
J Agric Food Chem. 2004.
Our data suggest that chromium supplementation was an effective treatment strategy to minimize increased oxidative stress in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients whose HbA(1C) level was >8.5%, and the chromium in EU groups might act as a prooxidant.

Chromium picolinate damages DNA in fruit flies?
The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), a trade association of the dietary supplement industry, issued an announcement in response to the publication of the study. "The University of Alabama study, in which fruit flies were given high concentrations of chromium picolinate, provides no meaningful conclusions that change the weight of the strong scientific evidence for safety in humans," said Dr. John Hathcock, CRN's vice president, scientific and international affairs, in the statement. In Hathcock's review of relevant studies, he found no adverse effects in people taking up to 1,000 micrograms of chromium picolinate per day.
   Dr. Sahelian says:
high doses of a single mineral given to fruit flies gives us little clue of what may occur in the human body. Nevertheless, there is no need to take more than 200 mcg of chromium a few times a week, and it's often a good idea to take breaks from use of most supplements.

Review of more than 60 human, animal, and cellular studies conducted over the past 30 years confirms that chromium picolinate is safe for use as a nutrient supplement in food. The largest expert review of the complete body of research on its safety is published in the June 2004 issue of Food and Chemical Toxicology. The review was conducted by senior toxicologists and food science experts at the ENVIRON Health Sciences Institute and describes how chromium picolinate was determined to be a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS)** ingredient in nutritional bars and beverages. The authors cite the significant body of evidence conducted by scientists at leading academic institutions, as well as USDA and the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Toxicology Program (NTP).  “The collective research indicates that chromium picolinate is a safe nutritional supplement,” said study co-author Ronald S. Slesinski, PhD, DABT, president-elect of the Regulatory & Safety Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology and senior science manager at ENVIRON.  “The accepted safety trials, including Ames Tests and chromosome studies conducted by NTP and at independent testing laboratories, show no evidence of genetic toxicity.”

Beneficial effects of chromium in people with type 2 diabetes, and urinary chromium response to glucose load as a possible indicator of status.
King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2002.
No reliable method for the estimation of chromium (Cr) status is available yet. The aim of this study is to investigate the possibility of using urinary Cr response to glucose load as an indicator of Cr status. Seventy-eight non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus patients, were divided randomly into two groups and given Cr supplements as brewer's yeast and CrCl3 sequentially with placebo in between, in a double-blind, crossover design of four stages, each lasting 8 wk. At the beginning and end of each stage, subjects were weighed, their dietary data and drug dosage recorded, and blood and urine samples collected for analysis of glucose and urinary chromium (fasting and 2 h post-75-g glucose load) and fructosamine. The mean urinary Cr after the glucose load was significantly higher than the fasting mean at zero time (p<0.01). However, only 52 of the patients showed an obvious increase; the others showed a slight decrease or no change. Both supplements caused a significant increase in the means of urinary Cr and a significant decrease in the means of glucose and fructosamine. Only those subjects responding to Cr supplement by improved glucose control showed an increase in post-glucose-load urinary Cr over fasting level, after the supplement but not at zero time. Therefore, it was concluded that urinary Cr response to glucose load could be used as an indicator of Cr status.

Q. Just need to know if Chromium Picolinate can build up in the body or is it easy processed by the body. I am taking 200 mcg twice a day and 150 mcg in my vitamin tablet. One doctor was worried about it being a metal and building up in the body. I read in he paper that in Isreal they gave 200 mcg twice a day for diabetes any help would be appreciated.
   A. For long term use, it probably would be best to limit the use to less than 300 mcg a day since it can accumulate. However, different experts may have different thresholds of the upper limit of chromium picolinate supplement dosage.

Q. I am a little confused. Everyone talks about taking the government synthetic product, "chromium picolinate". You yourself even suggest it. If the body waste of chromium is picolinic acid, then why would a person want to take in what the body is trying to get rid of? I myself take GTF (Glutose Tolerance Factor) Chromium. A natural chromium. How do you feel about this?
   A. I have not come across enough long term studies on humans regarding different forms of chromium to know which is best in the long run. In the meantime, I am comfortable using different forms of chromium until more research is available indicating the best form.

Q. What is the difference between trivalent chromium and picolinate?
   A. The two most common forms in the body are trivalent chromium (III) and hexavalent chromium (VI). Chromium supplements come in many forms, never as pure chromium. Chromium is sold as chromium picolinate, chromium chloride, chromium nicotinate, and high-chromium yeast. Nicotinate and picolinate are more easily absorbed than the others.

Chromium and Muscle Tissue
Daily use of chromium picolinate enhances muscle sensitivity to insulin in obese, insulin-resistant rats. Specifically, chromium improves the ability of insulin, after attaching to muscle cells, to enhance chemical signals in the cell that promoted blood sugar uptake. Chromium picolinate helps insulin receptor sites on muscle cells work more efficiently. Insulin receptors on the outer part of a cell allow the cell to bind with insulin in the blood. When the cell and insulin bind, signals within the cell activate "glucose transporters" so that the cell can then take up glucose from the blood and use it for energy. The result is an improved rate at which muscles absorb glucose from the blood and metabolize it.
   In obese rats, Impaired insulin action is partially restored with chromium supplementation. In a control group of lean, healthy rats with no abnormalities, chromium supplementation exhibits no observable additional effect on insulin receptor activity.

What is the recommended daily intake?
The current recommendation for daily chromium ingestion is 25 to 35 micrograms a day, but trials have used 100 to 200 mcg or more. You can find chromium as part of a multivitamin bottle, or as stand alone supplements in the range of 100 to 200 mcg or more. At this time I don't think taking more than 100 to 200 mcg a day is necessary. As with some minerals or supplements, there is a potential that too high dosages can be counterproductive or harmful. Those with diabetes could take more if their doctor approves.

Q. My mother is thinking of taking a chromium supplement, it has many benefits as stated in your site, but my mother is not overweight, and i don't want her to be so thin, is it true that she will lose weight if she takes chromium supplements?
   A. Taking a chromium supplement, by itself, is not likely to lead to weight loss.

When I'm googling a health matter, it's always reassuring to see your name listed because I know I'll get straight, honest answers. I did wonder why you have chromium picolinate rather than chromium polynicotinate. I've read that the latter, being niacin-bound, is more easily assimilated and also is much less toxic than the other form.
   As of June 2010, we have not seen any studies that compare the clinical benefit or side effect of chromium picolinate versus chromium polynicotinate. Therefore, at this time, it is premature to make claims that one form of chromium supplement is preferable to another form. As with many mineral supplements, it is a good idea to keep the dosages low and to take frequent breaks from use.