Should You Take a Chromium Supplement?

Chromium supplements are often promoted for blood sugar regulation and weight management but scientific opinion on their efficacy is mixed. Keep reading to know the potential benefits and health risks this trace mineral has.

By URLife Team
06 Nov 2023

In our pursuit of better health and optimising our well-being, many dietary supplements have gained immense popularity. Among them, chromium supplements have caught the attention of many, who are seeking solutions for blood sugar regulation and weight management.


While our bodies require a variety of minerals to function properly, not all of them are equally vital, and many can be obtained in sufficient quantities from natural sources.


One such mineral is chromium. Chromium is a trace element required by the human body in very small amounts. It plays an important role in a variety of metabolic processes, including carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. Chromium is commonly found in food sources such as meat, whole grains, vegetables and fruits, although levels can vary among these foods.


A chromium supplement is a dietary supplement that provides an additional source of chromium. These supplements generally contain chromium in the form of chromium picolinate, chromium polynicotinate, or other compounds. It is claimed to regulate blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity and help with weight management. However, the scientific evidence and research supporting the use of chromium supplements for these purposes is limited and not conclusive and more research is needed to determine its effectiveness and safety.


While most people can meet their daily chromium requirements with a balanced diet, and deficiencies are rare in healthy people, if you are still considering taking a chromium supplement for specific health reasons, it is advisable to consult with a doctor and seek their advice first.  Also, chromium supplements may interact adversely with certain medications.


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Foods Rich  in Chromium

Chromium is naturally found in many foods as this mineral comes from soil. However the presence of chromium varies depending on soil conditions, water conditions and the manufacturing process. Chromium is found in most of the vegetables, fruits, whole grains and grain or grass-fed meats.


If you are chromium deficient and looking to address this deficiency with the help of natural resources, here is a list of foods that are rich in chromium:

  • Broccoli
  • Grape juice
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Red wine
  • Meat
  • Brazil nuts
  • Whole wheat grains
  • Green beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Fish (especially Shellfish)


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Recommended Dietary Allowance for Chromium

While there is no recommended dietary allowance for chromium and maximum intake, instead there is a minimum amount of chromium that people should get. It is important to note that chromium supplements surpass the adequate intake level of chromium and are of high dosages. It is recommended to get the chromium naturally. Going beyond the adequate intake (AI) can affect your body and may have severe side effects.


Adequate Intakes (AI) of Chromium

Women, ages 19-50 25 micrograms per day
Women, ages 51 and older 20 micrograms per day
Men, ages 19-50 35 micrograms per day
Men, ages 51 and older 30 micrograms per day


Potential Benefits of Chromium

Blood sugar regulation

Chromium is thought to play a role in increased insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Insulin resistance and sensitivity is a condition that causes your body to react poorly to the naturally occurring hormone insulin.

Some studies suggest that chromium supplementation may be beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes or those at risk for the condition. It can help regulate blood sugar levels. With limited research and contradictory results, the chromium benefits are not conclusive and can’t be directly associated with the consumption of chromium.


Weight Management

Chromium supplements have been known as a way to help with weight loss and metabolism. One study suggests that chromium may help reduce appetite and cravings, which may indirectly help with weight control. However with results not entirely consistent across studies, it can be said that chromium supplements will aid in weight management. While some individuals might experience positive effects on their appetite and weight, others might not notice any drastic changes. The effects of chromium supplementation can vary from person to person based on their individual health conditions.


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Chromium supplements have been investigated as a potential treatment option for women with PCOS. It may help improve insulin resistance and hormone balance and in turn, helps in managing the PCOS conditions in these individuals.


Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that can occur together and can significantly increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Chromium can be beneficial for individuals with metabolic syndrome. It can help manage certain underlying factors such as hypertension, cholesterol profile and blood sugar regulation.


It is important to note that although there is some evidence to support these potential benefits, results from different studies may be mixed, and more studies are needed to determine the effect of chromium exposure to be effective for these purposes. In addition, the benefits of chromium supplementation tend to be more pronounced in individuals with or without specific health conditions.


Before considering chromium supplements, it is advisable to consult with a doctor who can assess your individual health conditions and provide guidance on the appropriate dosages.


Related Post: Collagen Supplements: What You Should Know


Risks of Consuming Chromium Supplements

Possible side effects

Some people may experience side effects when taking chromium supplements. These side effects can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, skin rashes, upset stomach, insomnia, mood changes and allergic reactions. High doses of chromium supplements may increase the risk of side effects.



Chromium supplements can interact with certain drugs and can either affect the absorption or boost the effect of the other medicines. Medicines such as antacids, corticosteroids, acid reflux drugs, beta-blockers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and insulin should not be taken with chromium supplements without consulting a doctor.


Kidney and Liver Function

Excessive intake of chromium, especially in hexavalent chromium form, can harm kidney and liver function This is a greater concern with industrial exposure than with dietary supplements. Chromium may also increase the risk of liver or kidney damage. It is advisable not to start with chromium supplements without consulting your doctor, especially when you already have chronic kidney or liver issues.


Incorporating chromium-rich foods can help you increase your chromium levels naturally and address the deficiency, if any. However, if you are considering consuming chromium supplements, it is essential to approach its use with caution.


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