Chromium is a trace mineral that works with insulin to help regulate and maintain normal amount of sugar, glucose, in the blood. It also plays a role in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. Chromium can be found naturally in foods and also comes in a variety of supplemental forms.
Adequate Intake (micrograms/day)|
|Pregnancy 18 years or younger||29||n/a|
|Lactation 18 years or younger||44||n/a|
Severe chromium deficiency is likely very rare. As chromium works closely with insulin, a deficiency of this mineral can produce symptoms similar to those seen in people with
and can worsen glycemic control in people with pre-existing diabetes.
It is difficult to consume toxic amounts of chromium from dietary sources alone. But, harmful levels of the mineral can potentially be ingested in the form of supplements. Daily dosages of 50-200 mcg are believed to be safe. The Institute of Medicine has not established a Tolerable Upper Intake Level.
A daily intake of over 1,200 micrograms has been reported to cause kidney, liver, and bone marrow damage in one person. In another case report, a patient taking daily dose of 600 mcg caused damage. You should talk to your doctor before taking more than 200 mcg. chromium toxicity may be more likely in people who already have liver or kidney disease
In addition, chromium picolinate appears to alter levels of neurotransmitters when taken in high doses—a possible concern for people with
bipolar disease, or
Many foods contain a small amount of chromium. In general, whole grain breads and cereals and meats are all good sources. The content of chromium in many foods can be affected by how food is gown and processed. Here is a list of the approximate contents of chromium in certain foods:
|Grape juice||1 cup||8|
|English muffin (whole wheat)||1||4|
|Potatoes, mashed||1 cup||3|
|Garlic, dried||1 teaspoon||3|
|Basil, dried||1 tablespoon||2|
|Beef cubes||3 ounces||2|
|Orange juice||1 cup||2|
|Turkey breast||3 ounces||2|
|Whole wheat bread||2 slices||2|
|Red wine||5 ounces||1-13|
|Apple, unpeeled||1 medium||1|
|Green beans||½ cup||1|
Researchers have studied using chromuim to help treat the following conditions, but the results are inconclusive:
- Always talk to your doctor before taking a chromium supplement or any other dietary supplement. The supplement can interact with other prescription or over-the-counter medicines that you are taking or possibly affect a condition that you have.
- You can get plenty of chromium from eating a healthy diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products.
Balk E, Tatsioni A, Lichtenstein A, Lau J, Pittas AG. Effect of chromium supplementation on glucose metabolism and lipids: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.
2007 May 22. [Epub ahead of print]
The American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide.
Minneapolis, MN: Chronimed Publishing; 1998.
Duyff RL. The American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 3rd ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc; 2006.
Garrison R, Somer E.
The Nutrition Desk Reference.
New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing; 1995.
Last reviewed February 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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