Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link

Chromium Toxicity


Larry E. Johnson

, MD, PhD, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Last full review/revision May 2020| Content last modified May 2020
Click here for Patient Education

Only 1 to 3% of biologically active trivalent chromium (Cr) is absorbed. Normal plasma levels are 0.05 to 0.50 mcg/L (1.0 to 9.6 nmol/L). However, it is not clear whether chromium should be considered an essential (required) trace element.

Chromium potentiates insulin activity; however, it is not known whether chromium picolinate supplementation is beneficial in diabetes mellitus Diabetes Mellitus (DM) Diabetes mellitus is impaired insulin secretion and variable degrees of peripheral insulin resistance leading to hyperglycemia. Early symptoms are related to hyperglycemia and include polydipsia... read more . Patients with diabetes should not take chromium supplements unless use is supervised by a diabetes specialist. Chromium supplements do not enhance muscle size or strength.

High doses of trivalent chromium given parenterally cause skin irritation, but lower doses given orally are not toxic. Exposure to hexavalent chromium (CrO3) in the workplace may irritate the skin, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract and may cause perforation of the nasal septum and lung carcinoma.


Click here for Patient Education
NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: Click here for the Consumer Version
Professionals also read
Test your knowledge
Nutritional Requirements
Which of the following is the general recommended dietary intake of protein (in ounces) for 40-year-old men who participate in 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity on a daily basis?
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest