Chromium and Glucose Tolerance

Because of chromium’s known ability to potentiate action of insulin, an adequate chromium status is important especially for people with diabetes, insulin resistance and hypoglycemia to maintain glycemic control (1;2).

According to an evaluation of 15 randomized clinical trials, amounts of about 200 mcg per day appear to improve use of glucose (3). In addition, a placebo-controlled trial of 180 Chinese patients found that doses at 200 mcg and as high as 1,000 mcg of chromium taken per day lowered blood glucose levels by 15-19% (3).

Dose may depend on form of chromium since one form may be more bioavailable than another. Chromium picolinate appears to be the most bioavailable and, thus, the most potent (3).

The amount of chromium taken, however, should not exceed 1,000 mcg per day due to potential toxicity (1). Chromium picolinate, in addition, should not be taken in amounts over 600 mcg because of association with renal failure and hepatic dysfunction (1).

Reference List

1. Gropper SS, Smith JL, Groff JL. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2009.
2. Pohl M, Mayr P, Mertl-Roetzer M et al. Glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus with a disease-specific enteral formula: stage II of a randomized, controlled multicenter trial. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2009;33:37-49.
3. Linus Pauling Institute. Chromium. Micronutrient Information Center. Available at: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/chromium/.

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

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