Chromium (Cr)

background

Chromium is an essential trace element that exists naturally in two states, trivalent and hexavalent. Trivalent chromium, typically found in foods and supplements, has low toxicity. Hexavalent chromium is a known toxin. Long-term exposure on the job to hexavalent chromium may lead to skin problems, nasal problems, and lung cancer.
Although chromium has been suggested for many conditions, there is insufficient research to draw conclusions regarding its effectiveness. Chromium is available as a supplement in several forms, such as chromium-enriched yeast and chromium picolinate. Chromium has shown benefit for people with either high and low blood sugar.

Related Terms

Atomic number 24, chromate, chromic chloride, chromic oxide, chromium, chromium 3, chromium 3+, chromium acetate, chromium chloride, chromium III, chromium (III), chromium(III) picolinate, chromium(III), chromium(VI), chromium nicotinate, chromium picolinate, chromium polynicotinate, chromium trichloride, chromium tripicolinate, chromium yeast, chromium-3+, chromium-enriched yeast, chromodulin, Cr, Cr-3, Cr-3+, Cr-6+, Cr-III, Cr III, glucose tolerance factor, glucose tolerance factor-Cr, GTF, GTF-Cr, hexavalent chromium, LMWCr, low-molecular-weight chromium, nicotinic acid, oligopeptide, picolinic acid, trivalent chromium, tryptophan amino acid metabolite.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) (Grade: B)
Chromium has been studied in the treatment of diabetes and high blood sugar. Research shows that it may also help regulate blood sugar in people with low blood sugar disorders.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (Grade: B)
Chromium picolinate may help regulate glucose levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (a condition involving cysts on the ovaries and hormonal imbalance). However, chromium lacks an effect on hormones. Additional research is needed in this area.
Bipolar disorder (Grade: C)
Sufficient evidence is lacking in support of chromium for bipolar disorder. Additional research is needed in this area.
Bone loss (postmenopausal women) (Grade: C)
There is a lack of evidence for or against the use of chromium in the treatment of bone loss in postmenopausal women. Additional research is needed in this area.
Cancer (Grade: C)
A specific form of chromium has been studied for lung cancer and has shown promising results. Additional research is needed in this area.
Depression (Grade: C)
Early studies show that chromium picolinate may improve symptoms of depression. Additional research is needed in this area.
Diabetes (Grade: C)
Chromium has been studied for sugar abnormalities in people with types 1 and 2 diabetes, as well as at-risk populations. Some studies suggest that taking chromium by mouth may lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Other studies show a lack of effect. Additional research is needed in this area.
Heart disease (Grade: C)
An association has been made between high chromium levels in the blood and a lower risk of clogged heart arteries. Additional research is needed in this area.
High blood sugar/glucose intolerance (Turner's syndrome) (Grade: C)
Chromium has been studied for high blood sugar in people with Turner's syndrome, a genetic disorder in females that stunts development. Early evidence is promising. Additional research is needed in this area.
High cholesterol (Grade: C)
Studies show conflicting results in using chromium to treat high cholesterol. Additional research is needed in this area.
HIV (insulin resistance) (Grade: C)
In early research, chromium has shown promise for insulin resistance in individuals with HIV. Additional research is needed in this area.
Immune function (Grade: C)
Chromium, in combination with copper, may block immune function. Additional research is needed in this area.
Mental performance (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that chromium picolinate may help improve cognitive function in the elderly. Additional research is needed in this area.
Metabolic syndrome (Grade: C)
Limited research shows that chromium lacks effects on metabolic syndrome; a syndrome associated with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and increased fat around the waist. Additional research is needed in this area.
Parkinson's disease (Grade: C)
Chromium is included in multivitamins used in Parkinson's disease. Also, chromium blood levels have been studied in people with Parkinson's disease. However, studies involving the effects of chromium supplements are lacking. Additional research is needed in this area.
Schizophrenia (Grade: C)
Early study shows a lack of effect of chromium on the mental state and body weight in people with schizophrenia. Additional research is needed in this area.
Synovitis (joint lining inflammation) (Grade: C)
In limited research, a form of chromium injected into the joint showed promising results for synovitis, or inflammation of the joint lining. Additional research is needed in this area.
Weight loss (Grade: C)
Chromium is commonly used by athletes because it is believed to increase lean body mass. Chromium has been studied for weight loss and increasing lean muscle. Overall, results have lacked benefit. Additional research is needed in this area.