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Chromium ˈkrō-mē-əm

By Ara DerMarderosian, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Biology and Pharmacognosy, University of the Sciences

Chromium is a mineral required in small quantities by the body. It enables insulin to function. Whole-grain products are good sources of chromium. Picolinate is often paired with chromium in supplements.

Medicinal Claims

Although chromium deficiency impairs insulin function, supplementation has not been shown to enhance the function of insulin. Nor has it been shown to promote weight loss, build muscle, or reduce body fat. Chromium supplements may lower levels of cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)—the bad—cholesterol, as well as raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL)—the good—cholesterol. Chromium supplements interfere with iron absorption.

Possible Side Effects

The maximum safe level of chromium intake is not known. Some evidence suggests that chromium damages chromosomes and consequently may be harmful or perhaps cause cancer.