Fundamentals of Human Nutrition/Chromium

< Fundamentals of Human Nutrition

11.7 ChromiumEdit

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11.7.1 SourcesEdit

Some of the best sources of Chromium are seafood, but it is available in low quantities in nearly all foods. An exception to this rule is foods with a large proportion of monosaccharides, which are lower than other sources (NIH, 2013). Here are some foods relatively rich in chromium listed with the number of micrograms of chromium per 100 grams of the food (EFIC, 2008):

Mussels 128
Brazil nuts 100
Oysters 57
Dried dates 29
Pears 27
Tomatoes 20
Mushrooms 17
Broccoli 16

11.7.2 FunctionsEdit

Chromium's role in human health is still being studied, but scientists suspect that it plays a role in maintaining proper glucose and insulin levels for type-2 diabetics. The studies, however, show that adding chromium to one's diet does not help above what a normal diet typically contains. It also seems to have no measurable effect on non-diabetic insulin-glucose management. As such, only chromium-deficient type-2 diabetics were shown to benefit from chromium supplementation. More studies need to be done to confirm even this, however, as there have been some concerns over the studies that did show improvements (NIH, 2013).
Other studies have been done to investigate whether chromium can reduce LDL cholesterol and help raise HDL cholesterol, but the results are inconclusive. Similarly, some studies have shown a slight positive effect in weight loss and lean muscle building, but the methodology has been called into question, and the results were so minor as to make little difference in the average person's weight loss strategy (NIH, 2013).

11.7.3 RequirementsEdit

For a variety of factors, including a lack of a test to determine one's stored levels, the wide-spread prevalence of it in small amount in nearly every food, and our lack of understanding of its role in the body, it has been hard to determine what an appropriate intake of chromium is. Men are encouraged to consume between 30 and 35 micrograms and women are encouraged to take in between 20 and 25 micrograms (Schiff, 2014)

11.7.4 ImbalanceEdit

Chromium deficiency is very rare, and is only found in otherwise severely malnourished individuals. Anyone eating an adequate amount of any type of food will get enough chromium. Deficiency signs are elevated blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides (Schiff, 2014). There is no evidence of toxic effects of too much chromium, so there is no UL.

11.7.5 Drug InteractionsEdit

The effects of the following drugs may be enhanced if taken with more than a normal amount of chromium: Beta-blockers, corticosteroids, insulin, nicotinic acid, NSAIDs, prostaglandin inhibitors (NIH, 2013). The evidence for these interactions is limited, but because the benefits of chromium supplements are likely to be minor at best, patients taking these drugs are encouraged to talk to their health care provider before taking chromium supplements.


National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. (11/4/2013). Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Chromium—Health Professional Fact Sheet. Retrieved on 8/11/15 from

European Food Information Council. (12/2008). Chromium in the Diet. Retrieved on 8/11/15 from

Beaumont Health. Food Sources for Magnesium and Chromium. Retrieved on 8/11/15 from

Schiff, W. (2014) Nutrition Essentials: A Personal Approach. McGraw-Hill Education.