Chromium supplements

Chromium supplements are available in various forms including chromium picolinate, chromium chloride, chromium polynicorinate and chromium-enriched yeast. Biologically active forms of chromium such as chromium picolinate and yeast GTF are better absorbed than chromium chloride. GTF is found in brewer's yeast and is considered the most biologically active and absorbable form of chromium.
The chromium supplements doses effective in studies are in the region of 200 to 400 mcg per day. Chromium supplements may be more effective if given with niacin, as the nicotinic acid form of niacin is part of GTF.

Chromium supplementsTherapeutic uses of supplements


Chromium supplements have been successfully used to treat Type I and Type II diabetes, diabetes in pregnancy, and hypoglycemia. Chromium supplementation has been shown to lower fasting glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance and lower insulin levels in Type II diabetics. This helps to keep blood levels stable, thereby preventing damage to blood vessels and organs caused by high levels of blood sugar. The greatest benefits are seen in those who have severe deficiencies. Chromium acts to increase insulin sensitivity by improving insulin binding, insulin receptor number, insulin internalization, beta cell sensitivity and msul in receptor enzymes.

According to the results of a Chinese study published in 1997, daily chromium supplements may help control blood sugar levels and insulin activity in Type II diabetics. The study, conducted by researchers at the US Department of Agriculture and Beijing Medical University, involved 180 Type II diabetics. Chinese people were chosen because of the likelihood that they had not previously used supplements. The participants were divided into three groups: one group was given 1000 mcg of chromium picolinate, the second was given 200 mcg and the third group was given a placebo. After two months, the researchers assessed blood sugar and cholesterol levels. In the 1000 mcg group, levels were significantly reduced. In the 200 mcg group, it took four months to see a reduction in blood sugar levels and this was not as significant as that seen in the first group.

Chromium supplements have been shown to reduce blood fat levels in Type II diabetics. In a study done in-1994 in San Antonio, Texas researchers found that chromium picolinate supplements taken for a period of two months significantly reduced triglyceride levels in 14 men and 16 women.


Research suggests that chromium supplements may improve the symptoms of hypoglycemia in some people.

Heart disease

Chromium supplements have been shown to improve blood cholesterol and lipid levels in both diabetic and nondiabetic subjects. In those whose body levels of chromium are low, chromium seems to reduce total and harmful LDL cholesterol levels while raising beneficial HDL holesterol levels.

In a study published in 1996, researchers assessed the effects of daily supplements of 200 mcg of chromium and nicotinic acid on blood glucose and lipids, including total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. The patients were 14 healthy adults and five adults with Type II diabetes mellitus. The results showed lowered total and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose concentrations in patients with Type II diabetes.

Chromium supplementsWeight loss

Limited research suggests that moderate increases in chromium, in the form of chromium picolinate, may cause weight loss, reduce fat and increase muscle- mass. Because of these reports, chromium picolinate supplements have become very popular.

Researchers involved in a 1997 study done in Austria assessed the effects of chromium yeast and chromium picolinate on lean body mass in 36 obese patients during and after weight reduction with a very low calorie diet. During the 26 week treatment period, subjects received either placebo or 200 mcg chromium yeast or 200 mcg chromium picolinate in a double-blind manner. After 26 weeks, chromium picolinate supplemented patients showed increased lean body mass whereas the other treatment groups still had reduced lean body mass.

In a 1997 study done at the University of Texas at Austin, researchers examined the effects of 400 mcg of chromium and exercise training on young, obese women. The results showed that exercise training combined with chromium nicotinate supplementation resulted in significant weight loss and lowered the insulin response to an oral glucose load.

Other uses

Some animal studies have shown that chromium picolinate supplements can prolong life. Further research is needed but this effect may be due to lowering of blood glucose levels similar to that seen in life-prolonging calorie restriction studies.

Chromium may help to boost the bone-building effects of insulin and may have a role in the maintenance of bone density and prevention of osteoporosis. High chromium yeast has also been used to treat acne with some success.

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