Definition:  Chromium (Cr0) is an essential trace mineral that potentiates the action of insulin, probably by facilitating the binding of insulin to its receptor, enhancing insulin-dependent functions, or both.

  • The nutritional essentiality of chromium has been questioned, as a dietary deficiency has not been described. In 2001, the US Institute of Medicine set the adequate intake (AI) of chromium at 20-35 μg/day for adults. However, in 2014, the European Food Safety Authority concluded that requirements for chromium could not be established. 
  • Animals fed a chromium-deficient diet developed hyperglycemia, glycosuria, decreased growth rate, shortened lifespan, and lipid deposits in large arteries.
  • In humans, failure to include chromium in total parenteral nutrition (TPN) solutions has resulted in glucose intolerance, weight loss, negative nitrogen balance, peripheral neuropathy, and a confusional state suggestive of metabolic encephalopathy. These abnormalities were reversed by the addition of chromium to the TPN solution
  • Results of randomized controlled trials of chromium supplementation in the prevention or treatment of impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes mellitus have been mixed.
  • A well-balanced diet that includes fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, and grains should easily cover the dietary needs of chromium.


  • Experimental and clinical evidence suggests that chromium picolinate, chromium polynicotinate, and chromium aspartate are all effective supplements, whereas chromium chloride is less so.

Dosage and administration

The usual dosage range for chromium therapy is 200–1,000 μg/day, although women with gestational diabetes have responded to lower dosages (0.5 μg/kg of body weight per day).

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