Chromium Supports Optimal Glucose Control
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements, “Chromium is known to enhance the action of insulin, a hormone critical to the metabolism and storage of carbohydrate, fat, and protein in the body.”
Animal studies have shown that chromium can help support healthy insulin sensitivity and insulin signaling.* In humans, a 2016 systematic review published in Nutrition Journal demonstrated that chromium supplementation supported healthy glucose levels.*
A 2015 randomized clinical study featured in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology involved 71 people divided into two groups: placebo or supplemented. The supplemented group received 600 mcg/day of chromium picolinate. Results showed that chromium supported healthy blood sugar balance as measured by fasting and postprandial glucose and HbA1c values.*
Chromium has also been shown to help support healthy weight, perhaps via its ability to support healthy glucose levels.* According to a 2018 review in the journal Nutrients, chromium picolinate complemented a weight loss program by supporting lean body mass.*
The Linus Pauling Institute reports that chromium deficiency has the potential to impair glucose tolerance and has been correlated with an increased need for insulin.
The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements reports that these factors may lead to chromium deficiency:
- High sugar diet
- Acute exercise
- Pregnancy and lactation
- Stressful state (such as physical trauma)
Most foods provide small amounts of chromium with whole-grain products and meat having the highest content. The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements cautions that “dietary intakes of chromium cannot be reliably determined because the content of the mineral in foods is substantially affected by agricultural and manufacturing processes…Chromium deficiency impairs the body’s ability to use glucose to meet its energy needs and raises insulin requirements.”
Adequate intakes established for chromium (mcg/day):
Age Males Females Pregnancy Lactation
9–13 yrs 25 21
14–18 yrs 35 24 29 44
19–50 yrs 35 25 30 45
>50 yrs 30 20
Source: National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements
It’s known that dietary chromium is generally poorly absorbed, with chromium levels decreasing with age. Studies have now demonstrated that chromium supplementation is a safe way to support metabolic health.*
Hua Y, Clark S, Ren J, Sreejayan N. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 2012;23(4):313-319.
Paiva AN, de Lima JG, de Medeiros A, et al. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology. 2015;32:66-72.
Willoughby D, Hewlings S, Kalman D. Nutrients. 2018;10(12):1876.
Yin RV, Phung OJ. Nutrition Journal. 2015;14:14.