Last Updated: September 28 2022

Chromium is an essential mineral. It regulates glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Supplementing more chromium than the body needs does not produce reliable results, but it may be associated with minor benefits to diabetics.

Chromium is most often used for


Chromium is an essential mineral, consumed through the diet. It is found in trace amounts in plant products, specifically grains.

Chromium regulates insulin in the body. It is sometimes supplemented to improve insulin action in the body.

When chromium is supplemented by people with normal or elevated chromium levels, no reliable effect is achieved. Besides a mild decrease in fasting glucose, no diabetes-related biomarkers are improved.

People with a subclinical chromium deficiency (below optimal, but not a true deficiency) may experience benefits when supplementing chromium, but more research is required to confirm this effect. True chromium deficiencies, characterized by inactive chromodulin, are rare.

Chromium’s main mechanism is directly tied to chromodulin. Chromodulin, a protein, normally augments the signaling of insulin receptors. If this protein is impaired, insulin’s ability to work in the body is greatly reduced.

Though chromium supplementation is not effective for diabetics, taking chromium alongside a proven therapy may help fight depression and the snacking associated with binge eating. Further research is needed to determine chromium’s exact mechanism during these effects.

Dosage information

Chromium supplementation typically consists of 1,000 mcg of chromium picolinate, taken in at least two doses throughout the day.

Chromium should be supplemented alongside a carbohydrate containing meal, due to its supposed interactions with glucose metabolism.

Anyone wishing to supplement chromium should be aware that chromium supplementation is not associated with any reliable benefits on markers of glucose metabolism.

Join our supplement information course

Become an Examine Insider for FREE and get a full five-day mini course on supplements. 100% backed by science, we take an independent and unbiased approach to figure out what works (and what's a waste of time and money).

    The only 100% independent company. While everyone sells supplements, we only analyze research.

    Examine Database
    What works and what doesn't?

    Unlock the full potential of Examine

    Get started

    Don't miss out on the latest research

    Become an Examine Insider for FREE to stay on top of the latest nutrition research, supplement myths, and more

      1.^Lukaski HCChromium as a supplementAnnu Rev Nutr.(1999)
      3.^Yamamoto A, Wada O, Suzuki HSeparation of biologically active chromium complex from cow colostrumTohoku J Exp Med.(1987 Jul)
      7.^Freund H, Atamian S, Fischer JEChromium deficiency during total parenteral nutritionJAMA.(1979 Feb 2)
      10.^Sundararaman PG, Sridhar GR, Sujatha V, Anita VSerum chromium levels in gestational diabetes mellitusIndian J Endocrinol Metab.(2012 Mar)
      11.^Woods SE, Ghodsi V, Engel A, Miller J, James SSerum chromium and gestational diabetesJ Am Board Fam Med.(2008 Mar-Apr)
      12.^Kozlovsky AS, Moser PB, Reiser S, Anderson RAEffects of diets high in simple sugars on urinary chromium lossesMetabolism.(1986 Jun)
      14.^Vincent JBThe biochemistry of chromiumJ Nutr.(2000 Apr)
      16.^Clodfelder BJ, Emamaullee J, Hepburn DD, Chakov NE, Nettles HS, Vincent JBThe trail of chromium(III) in vivo from the blood to the urine: the roles of transferrin and chromodulinJ Biol Inorg Chem.(2001 Jun)
      17.^Anderson RA, Polansky MM, Bryden NA, Roginski EE, Patterson KY, Veillon C, Glinsmann WUrinary chromium excretion of human subjects: effects of chromium supplementation and glucose loadingAm J Clin Nutr.(1982 Dec)
      18.^Anderson RA, Polansky MM, Bryden MA, Roginski EE, Patterson KY, Reamer DCEffect of Exercise (Running) on Serum Glucose, Insulin, Glucagon, and Chromium ExcretionDiabetes.(1982 Mar)
      19.^Wahren J, Felig P, Ahlborg G, Jorfeldt LGlucose metabolism during leg exercise in manJ Clin Invest.(1971 Dec)
      20.^Bagchi D, Bagchi M, Balmoori J, Ye X, Stohs SJComparative induction of oxidative stress in cultured J774A.1 macrophage cells by chromium picolinate and chromium nicotinateRes Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol.(1997 Sep)
      21.^Wise SS, Holmes AL, Wise JP SrHexavalent chromium-induced DNA damage and repair mechanismsRev Environ Health.(2008 Jan-Mar)
      22.^Zhang XH, Zhang X, Wang XC, Jin LF, Yang ZP, Jiang CX, Chen Q, Ren XB, Cao JZ, Wang Q, Zhu YMChronic occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium causes DNA damage in electroplating workersBMC Public Health.(2011 Apr 12)
      23.^Kingry KF, Royer AC, Vincent JBNuclear magnetic resonance studies of chromium(III) pyridinecarboxylate complexesJ Inorg Biochem.(1998 Oct)
      24.^Stearns DM, Armstrong WHMononuclear and binuclear chromium(III) picolinate complexesInorg Chem.(1992 Dec)
      26.^Speetjens JK, Collins RA, Vincent JB, Woski SAThe nutritional supplement chromium(III) tris(picolinate) cleaves DNAChem Res Toxicol.(1999 Jun)
      27.^Raspor P, Batic M, Jamnik P, Josić D, Milacic R, Pas M, Recek M, Rezić-Dereani V, Skrt MThe influence of chromium compounds on yeast physiology (a review)Acta Microbiol Immunol Hung.(2000)
      28.^Pas M, Milacic R, Draslar K, Pollak N, Raspor PUptake of chromium(III) and chromium(VI) compounds in the yeast cell structureBiometals.(2004 Feb)
      30.^Schwarz K, Mertz WA glucose tolerance factor and its differentiation from factor 3Arch Biochem Biophys.(1957 Dec)
      33.^Toepfer EW, Mertz W, Polansky MM, Roginski EE, Wolf WRPreparation of chromium-containing material of glucose tolerance factor activity from brewer's yeast extracts and by synthesisJ Agric Food Chem.(1976 Jan-Feb)
      34.^Preuss HG, Wallerstedt D, Talpur N, Tutuncuoglu SO, Echard B, Myers A, Bui M, Bagchi DEffects of niacin-bound chromium and grape seed proanthocyanidin extract on the lipid profile of hypercholesterolemic subjects: a pilot studyJ Med.(2000)
      37.^Hua Y, Clark S, Ren J, Sreejayan NMolecular mechanisms of chromium in alleviating insulin resistanceJ Nutr Biochem.(2012 Apr)
      40.^Yamamoto A, Wada O, Ono TA low-molecular-weight, chromium-binding substance in mammalsToxicol Appl Pharmacol.(1981 Jul)
      46.^Vincent JBChromium: celebrating 50 years as an essential elementDalton Trans.(2010 Apr 28)
      47.^Rutter GA, Da Silva Xavier G, Leclerc IRoles of 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in mammalian glucose homoeostasisBiochem J.(2003 Oct 1)
      49.^Zhao P, Wang J, Ma H, Xiao Y, He L, Tong C, Wang Z, Zheng Q, Dolence EK, Nair S, Ren J, Li JA newly synthetic chromium complex-chromium (D-phenylalanine)3 activates AMP-activated protein kinase and stimulates glucose transportBiochem Pharmacol.(2009 Mar 15)
      51.^Bunker VW, Lawson MS, Delves HT, Clayton BEThe uptake and excretion of chromium by the elderlyAm J Clin Nutr.(1984 May)
      52.^Chen NS, Tsai A, Dyer IAEffect of chelating agents on chromium absorption in ratsJ Nutr.(1973 Aug)
      53.^Hahn CJ, Evans GWAbsorption of trace metals in the zinc-deficient ratAm J Physiol.(1975 Apr)
      54.^Laschinsky N, Kottwitz K, Freund B, Dresow B, Fischer R, Nielsen PBioavailability of chromium(III)-supplements in rats and humansBiometals.(2012 Oct)
      55.^Cefalu WT, Rood J, Pinsonat P, Qin J, Sereda O, Levitan L, Anderson RA, Zhang XH, Martin JM, Martin CK, Wang ZQ, Newcomer BCharacterization of the metabolic and physiologic response to chromium supplementation in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitusMetabolism.(2010 May)
      57.^Ainscough EW, Brodie AM, Plowman JE, Bloor SJ, Loehr JS, Loehr TMStudies on human lactoferrin by electron paramagnetic resonance, fluorescence, and resonance Raman spectroscopyBiochemistry.(1980 Aug 19)
      58.^Aisen P, Aasa R, Redfield AGThe chromium, manganese, and cobalt complexes of transferrinJ Biol Chem.(1969 Sep 10)
      62.^Yoshida M, Hatakeyama E, Hosomi R, Kanda S, Nishiyama T, Fukunaga KTissue accumulation and urinary excretion of chromium in rats fed diets containing graded levels of chromium chloride or chromium picolinateJ Toxicol Sci.(2010 Aug)
      71.^Hainer V, Kabrnova K, Aldhoon B, Kunesova M, Wagenknecht MSerotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibition and eating behaviorAnn N Y Acad Sci.(2006 Nov)
      72.^Attenburrow MJ, Odontiadis J, Murray BJ, Cowen PJ, Franklin MChromium treatment decreases the sensitivity of 5-HT2A receptorsPsychopharmacology (Berl).(2002 Feb)
      73.^Horácek J, Kuzmiaková M, Höschl C, Andĕl M, Bahbonh RThe relationship between central serotonergic activity and insulin sensitivity in healthy volunteersPsychoneuroendocrinology.(1999 Nov)
      74.^Palazidou E, Papadopoulos A, Ratcliff H, Dawling S, Checkley SANoradrenaline uptake inhibition increases melatonin secretion, a measure of noradrenergic neurotransmission, in depressed patientsPsychol Med.(1992 May)
      75.^Pittler MH, Stevinson C, Ernst EChromium picolinate for reducing body weight: meta-analysis of randomized trialsInt J Obes Relat Metab Disord.(2003 Apr)
      77.^Anton SD, Morrison CD, Cefalu WT, Martin CK, Coulon S, Geiselman P, Han H, White CL, Williamson DAEffects of chromium picolinate on food intake and satietyDiabetes Technol Ther.(2008 Oct)
      78.^Singh T, Williams KAtypical depressionPsychiatry (Edgmont).(2006 Apr)
      80.^Krikorian R, Eliassen JC, Boespflug EL, Nash TA, Shidler MDImproved cognitive-cerebral function in older adults with chromium supplementationNutr Neurosci.(2010 Jun)
      81.^Amann BL, Mergl R, Vieta E, Born C, Hermisson I, Seemueller F, Dittmann S, Grunze HA 2-year, open-label pilot study of adjunctive chromium in patients with treatment-resistant rapid-cycling bipolar disorderJ Clin Psychopharmacol.(2007 Feb)
      82.^McLeod MN, Gaynes BN, Golden RNChromium potentiation of antidepressant pharmacotherapy for dysthymic disorder in 5 patientsJ Clin Psychiatry.(1999 Apr)
      83.^Davidson JR, Abraham K, Connor KM, McLeod MNEffectiveness of chromium in atypical depression: a placebo-controlled trialBiol Psychiatry.(2003 Feb 1)
      84.^Guallar E, Jiménez FJ, van 't Veer P, Bode P, Riemersma RA, Gómez-Aracena J, Kark JD, Arab L, Kok FJ, Martín-Moreno JM; EURAMIC-Heavy Metals and Myocardial Infraction Study GroupLow toenail chromium concentration and increased risk of nonfatal myocardial infarctionAm J Epidemiol.(2005 Jul 15)
      85.^Vrtovec M, Vrtovec B, Briski A, Kocijancic A, Anderson RA, Radovancevic BChromium supplementation shortens QTc interval duration in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitusAm Heart J.(2005 Apr)
      88.^Ghosh D, Bhattacharya B, Mukherjee B, Manna B, Sinha M, Chowdhury J, Chowdhury SRole of chromium supplementation in Indians with type 2 diabetes mellitusJ Nutr Biochem.(2002 Nov)
      89.^Jain SK, McVie R, Duett J, Herbst JJErythrocyte membrane lipid peroxidation and glycosylated hemoglobin in diabetesDiabetes.(1989 Dec)
      90.^Jain SK, Patel P, Rogier K, Jain SKTrivalent chromium inhibits protein glycosylation and lipid peroxidation in high glucose-treated erythrocytesAntioxid Redox Signal.(2006 Jan-Feb)
      92.^Gastaldelli A, Baldi S, Pettiti M, Toschi E, Camastra S, Natali A, Landau BR, Ferrannini EInfluence of obesity and type 2 diabetes on gluconeogenesis and glucose output in humans: a quantitative studyDiabetes.(2000 Aug)
      95.^Wada O, Manabe S, Yamaguchi N, Ishikawa S, Yanagisawa HLow-molecular-weight, chromium-binding substance in rat lungs and its possible role in chromium movementInd Health.(1983)
      96.^Wang H, Kruszewski A, Brautigan DLCellular chromium enhances activation of insulin receptor kinaseBiochemistry.(2005 Jun 7)
      97.^Mackowiak P, Krejpcio Z, Sassek M, Kaczmarek P, Hertig I, Chmielewska J, Wojciechowicz T, Szczepankiewicz D, Wieczorek D, Szymusiak H, Nowak KWEvaluation of insulin binding and signaling activity of newly synthesized chromium(III) complexes in vitroMol Med Rep.(2010 Mar-Apr)
      103.^Solinas G, Naugler W, Galimi F, Lee MS, Karin MSaturated fatty acids inhibit induction of insulin gene transcription by JNK-mediated phosphorylation of insulin-receptor substratesProc Natl Acad Sci U S A.(2006 Oct 31)
      104.^Sreejayan N, Dong F, Kandadi MR, Yang X, Ren JChromium alleviates glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and hepatic ER stress in obese miceObesity (Silver Spring).(2008 Jun)
      106.^Ozcan U, Cao Q, Yilmaz E, Lee AH, Iwakoshi NN, Ozdelen E, Tuncman G, Görgün C, Glimcher LH, Hotamisligil GSEndoplasmic reticulum stress links obesity, insulin action, and type 2 diabetesScience.(2004 Oct 15)
      108.^Ozcan U, Yilmaz E, Ozcan L, Furuhashi M, Vaillancourt E, Smith RO, Görgün CZ, Hotamisligil GSChemical chaperones reduce ER stress and restore glucose homeostasis in a mouse model of type 2 diabetesScience.(2006 Aug 25)
      109.^Yang X, Li SY, Dong F, Ren J, Sreejayan NInsulin-sensitizing and cholesterol-lowering effects of chromium (D-Phenylalanine)3J Inorg Biochem.(2006 Jul)
      111.^Gorden P, Carpentier JL, Freychet P, LeCam A, Orci LIntracellular translocation of iodine-125-labeled insulin: direct demonstration in isolated hepatocytesScience.(1978 May 19)
      112.^McClain DAMechanism and role of insulin receptor endocytosisAm J Med Sci.(1992 Sep)
      113.^Geiger D, Carpentier JL, Gorden P, Orci LDown-regulation of insulin receptors is related to insulin internalizationExp Cell Res.(1989 Nov)
      114.^Iqbal N, Cardillo S, Volger S, Bloedon LT, Anderson RA, Boston R, Szapary POChromium picolinate does not improve key features of metabolic syndrome in obese nondiabetic adultsMetab Syndr Relat Disord.(2009 Apr)
      117.^Balk EM, Tatsioni A, Lichtenstein AH, Lau J, Pittas AGEffect of chromium supplementation on glucose metabolism and lipids: a systematic review of randomized controlled trialsDiabetes Care.(2007 Aug)
      118.^Broadhurst CL, Domenico PClinical studies on chromium picolinate supplementation in diabetes mellitus--a reviewDiabetes Technol Ther.(2006 Dec)
      119.^Frauchiger MT, Wenk C, Colombani PCEffects of acute chromium supplementation on postprandial metabolism in healthy young menJ Am Coll Nutr.(2004 Aug)
      120.^Kleefstra N, Houweling ST, Bakker SJ, Verhoeven S, Gans RO, Meyboom-de Jong B, Bilo HJChromium treatment has no effect in patients with type 2 diabetes in a Western population: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trialDiabetes Care.(2007 May)
      121.^Kleefstra N, Houweling ST, Jansman FG, Groenier KH, Gans RO, Meyboom-de Jong B, Bakker SJ, Bilo HJChromium treatment has no effect in patients with poorly controlled, insulin-treated type 2 diabetes in an obese Western population: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trialDiabetes Care.(2006 Mar)
      123.^Martin J, Wang ZQ, Zhang XH, Wachtel D, Volaufova J, Matthews DE, Cefalu WTChromium picolinate supplementation attenuates body weight gain and increases insulin sensitivity in subjects with type 2 diabetesDiabetes Care.(2006 Aug)
      125.^McIver DJ, Grizales AM, Brownstein JS, Goldfine ABRisk of Type 2 Diabetes Is Lower in US Adults Taking Chromium-Containing SupplementsJ Nutr.(2015 Dec)
      127.^Campbell WW, Joseph LJ, Anderson RA, Davey SL, Hinton J, Evans WJEffects of resistive training and chromium picolinate on body composition and skeletal muscle size in older womenInt J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab.(2002 Jun)
      128.^Campbell WW, Joseph LJ, Davey SL, Cyr-Campbell D, Anderson RA, Evans WJEffects of resistance training and chromium picolinate on body composition and skeletal muscle in older menJ Appl Physiol (1985).(1999 Jan)
      129.^Walker LS, Bemben MG, Bemben DA, Knehans AWChromium picolinate effects on body composition and muscular performance in wrestlersMed Sci Sports Exerc.(1998 Dec)
      130.^Hallmark MA, Reynolds TH, DeSouza CA, Dotson CO, Anderson RA, Rogers MAEffects of chromium and resistive training on muscle strength and body compositionMed Sci Sports Exerc.(1996 Jan)
      131.^Livolsi JM, Adams GM, Laguna PLThe effect of chromium picolinate on muscular strength and body composition in women athletesJ Strength Cond Res.(2001 May)
      132.^Davis JM, Welsh RS, Alerson NAEffects of carbohydrate and chromium ingestion during intermittent high-intensity exercise to fatigueInt J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab.(2000 Dec)
      133.^Volek JS, Silvestre R, Kirwan JP, Sharman MJ, Judelson DA, Spiering BA, Vingren JL, Maresh CM, Vanheest JL, Kraemer WJEffects of chromium supplementation on glycogen synthesis after high-intensity exerciseMed Sci Sports Exerc.(2006 Dec)
      135.^Campbell WW, Polansky MM, Bryden NA, Soares JH Jr, Anderson RAExercise training and dietary chromium effects on glycogen, glycogen synthase, phosphorylase and total protein in ratsJ Nutr.(1989 Apr)
      136.^Tian H, Guo X, Wang X, He Z, Sun R, Ge S, Zhang ZChromium picolinate supplementation for overweight or obese adultsCochrane Database Syst Rev.(2013 Nov 29)
      137.^Meyers AW, Klesges RC, Winders SE, Ward KD, Peterson BA, Eck LHAre weight concerns predictive of smoking cessation? A prospective analysisJ Consult Clin Psychol.(1997 Jun)
      140.^Cheng HH, Lai MH, Hou WC, Huang CLAntioxidant effects of chromium supplementation with type 2 diabetes mellitus and euglycemic subjectsJ Agric Food Chem.(2004 Mar 10)
      141.^Anderson RA, Roussel AM, Zouari N, Mahjoub S, Matheau JM, Kerkeni APotential antioxidant effects of zinc and chromium supplementation in people with type 2 diabetes mellitusJ Am Coll Nutr.(2001 Jun)
      142.^Stearns DM, Wise JP Sr, Patierno SR, Wetterhahn KEChromium(III) picolinate produces chromosome damage in Chinese hamster ovary cellsFASEB J.(1995 Dec)
      143.^Parand A, Royer AC, Cantrell TL, Weitzel M, Memon N, Vincent JB, Crowder MWDNA nicking by a trinuclear chromium complexInorg. Chim. Acta.(1998 Feb)
      145.^Sugden KD, Geer RD, Rogers SJOxygen radical-mediated DNA damage by redox-active Cr(III) complexesBiochemistry.(1992 Nov 24)
      147.^Kato I, Vogelman JH, Dilman V, Karkoszka J, Frenkel K, Durr NP, Orentreich N, Toniolo PEffect of supplementation with chromium picolinate on antibody titers to 5-hydroxymethyl uracilEur J Epidemiol.(1998 Sep)
      148.^Shirnamé-Moré L, Rossman TG, Troll W, Teebor GW, Frenkel KGenetic effects of 5-hydroxymethyl-2'-deoxyuridine, a product of ionizing radiationMutat Res.(1987 Jun)
      150.^Marouani N, Tebourbi O, Mahjoub S, Yacoubi MT, Sakly M, Benkhalifa M, Rhouma KBEffects of hexavalent chromium on reproductive functions of male adult ratsReprod Biol.(2012 Jul)
      152.^Cheng RY, Alvord WG, Powell D, Kasprzak KS, Anderson LMMicroarray analysis of altered gene expression in the TM4 Sertoli-like cell line exposed to chromium(III) chlorideReprod Toxicol.(2002 May-Jun)
      153.^Mohamedshah FY, Moser-Veillon PB, Yamini S, Douglass LW, Anderson RA, Veillon CDistribution of a stable isotope of chromium (53Cr) in serum, urine, and breast milk in lactating womenAm J Clin Nutr.(1998 Jun)
      155.^Anderson RA, Bryden NA, Patterson KY, Veillon C, Andon MB, Moser-Veillon PBBreast milk chromium and its association with chromium intake, chromium excretion, and serum chromium.Am J Clin Nutr.(1993 Apr)
      156.^Kumpulainen J, Vuori ELongitudinal study of chromium in human milk.Am J Clin Nutr.(1980 Nov)
      157.^Casey CE, Hambidge KMChromium in human milk from American mothersBr J Nutr.(1984 Jul)
      158.^Mestre TA, Zurowski M, Fox SH5-Hydroxytryptamine 2A receptor antagonists as potential treatment for psychiatric disordersExpert Opin Investig Drugs.(2013 Apr)
      159.^Hockney RA, Montgomery P, Williams C, Geddes JR, Cowen PJLack of effect of chromium supplementation on mental state and body weight in people with schizophreniaJ Clin Psychopharmacol.(2006 Oct)
      160.^Lydic ML, McNurlan M, Bembo S, Mitchell L, Komaroff E, Gelato MChromium picolinate improves insulin sensitivity in obese subjects with polycystic ovary syndromeFertil Steril.(2006 Jul)
      164.^Ani M, Moshtaghie AAThe effect of chromium on parameters related to iron metabolismBiol Trace Elem Res.(1992 Jan-Mar)
      166.^Król E, Krejpcio Z, Byks H, Bogdański P, Pupek-Musialik DEffects of chromium brewer's yeast supplementation on body mass, blood carbohydrates, and lipids and minerals in type 2 diabetic patientsBiol Trace Elem Res.(2011 Nov)
      168.^Diplock ATAntioxidant nutrients and disease prevention: an overviewAm J Clin Nutr.(1991 Jan)
      169.^Campbell WW, Joseph LJ, Ostlund RE Jr, Anderson RA, Farrell PA, Evans WJResistive training and chromium picolinate: effects on inositols and liver and kidney functions in older adultsInt J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab.(2004 Aug)
      171.^Anderson RA, Bryden NA, Polansky MMLack of toxicity of chromium chloride and chromium picolinate in ratsJ Am Coll Nutr.(1997 Jun)
      172.^Cerulli J, Grabe DW, Gauthier I, Malone M, McGoldrick MDChromium picolinate toxicityAnn Pharmacother.(1998 Apr)
      173.^Martin WR, Fuller RESuspected chromium picolinate-induced rhabdomyolysisPharmacotherapy.(1998 Jul-Aug)