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Chromium
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
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Chromium Usage

Written by FoundHealth.

Usages

Effect of Chromium on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

For PCOS, chromium picolinate is mostly used to help with glucose sensitivity.

Read more about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Chromium Picolinate.

Effect of Chromium on Lipid Disorders

Chromium may have some benefit for improving lipid profile (cholesterol and triglycerides). It appears to help offset the negative effect that beta blockers can have on HDL ("good cholesterol").

Read more about Lipid Disorders and Chromium.

Therapeutic Uses

Chromium has principally been studied for its possible benefits in improving blood sugar control in people with diabetes . Several, but not all, studies suggest that people with adult-onset (type 2) diabetes may show some improvement when given appropriate dosages of chromium. 1 One study suggests that chromium may also be useful for diabetes that occurs during pregnancy . 2 In addition, nondiabetic individuals with mildly impaired blood sugar control might attain better control of blood sugar with chromium supplementation. 3 4 5 Since mild impairment of blood sugar control is believed to increase risk of heart disease, chromium supplementation might help reduce heart disease rates.

Chromium has been sold as a "fat burner" and is also said to help build muscle tissue. However, most studies evaluating chromium's ability to promote weight loss have not found benefits. 6 One study failed to find benefit with a combination of chromium and conjugated linoleic acid . 7 Studies evaluating chromium as a performance enhancer or aid to bodybuilding have yielded almost entirely negative results. 8 Studies on whether chromium can improve cholesterol levels have returned mixed results. 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 However, one study suggests that chromium combined with grape seed extract might have a beneficial effect. 17 In addition, among individuals taking beta-blockers, chromium may raise levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol. 18 When depression is characterized by rapid mood changes, excessive sleeping and eating, a sense of leaden paralysis, and extreme sensitivity to negative life events, the condition is called “atypical depression.” A very small (15 participants) double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that chromium picolinate might be helpful for this form of depression ; 19 however, a much larger study failed to find statistically significant benefits. 20 According to some researchers, impaired blood sugar control, high cholesterol, weight gain, and high blood pressure are all part of a bigger picture, called metabolic syndrome , or syndrome X. Since chromium may be helpful for the first three of these conditions, chromium deficiency has been proposed as the cause of syndrome X. However, this has not been proven.

One study failed to find that chromium picolinate at 200 mcg/day can improve symptoms of polycystic ovaries (a common cause of infertility ). 21 Chromium has also been proposed as a treatment for acne , migraine headaches , and psoriasis , but there is as yet no real evidence that it works.

References

  1. Anderson RA, Cheng N, Bryden NA, Polansky MM, Cheng N, Chi J, Feng J. Elevated intakes of supplemental chromium improve glucose and insulin variables in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes. 46(11):1786-91.
  2. Jovanovic L, Gutierrez M, Peterson CM. Chromium supplementation for women with gestational diabetes mellitus. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 1999;12:91-97.
  3. Anderson RA, Polansky MM, Bryden NA, Roginski EE, Mertz W, Glinsmann W. Chromium supplementation of human subjects: effects on glucose, insulin, and lipid variables. Metabolism. 32(9):894-9.
  4. Anderson RA, Polansky MM, Bryden NA, Canary JJ. Supplemental-chromium effects on glucose, insulin, glucagon, and urinary chromium losses in subjects consuming controlled low-chromium diets. Am J Clin Nutr. 54(5):909-16.
  5. Wilson BE, Gondy A. Effects of chromium supplementation on fasting insulin levels and lipid parameters in healthy, non-obese young subjects. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 28(3):179-84.
  6. Kaats GR, Blum K, Pullin D, et al. A randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled study of the effects of chromium picolinate supplementation on body composition: a replication and extension of a previous study. Curr Ther Res. 1998;59:379-388.
  7. Diaz ML, Watkins BA, Li Y, et al. Chromium picolinate and conjugated linoleic acid do not synergistically influence diet- and exercise-induced changes in body composition and health indexes in overweight women. J Nutr Biochem. 2007 May 23. [Epub ahead of print]
  8. Clarkson PM. Effects of exercise on chromium levels. Is supplementation required? Sports Med. 23(6):341-9.
  9. Mertz W. Chromium in human nutrition: a review. J Nutr. 123(4):626-33.
  10. Press RI, Geller J, Evans GW. The effect of chromium picolinate on serum cholesterol and apolipoprotein fractions in human subjects. West J Med. 152(1):41-5.
  11. Abraham AS, Brooks BA, Eylath U. The effects of chromium supplementation on serum glucose and lipids in patients with and without non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Metabolism. 41(7):768-71.
  12. Lee NA, Reasner CA. Beneficial effect of chromium supplementation on serum triglyceride levels in NIDDM. Diabetes Care. 17(12):1449-52.
  13. Anderson RA, Cheng N, Bryden NA, Polansky MM, Cheng N, Chi J, Feng J. Elevated intakes of supplemental chromium improve glucose and insulin variables in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes. 46(11):1786-91.
  14. Roeback JR Jr, Hla KM, Chambless LE, Fletcher RH. Effects of chromium supplementation on serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in men taking beta-blockers. A randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 115(12):917-24.
  15. Anderson RA, Polansky MM, Bryden NA, Roginski EE, Mertz W, Glinsmann W. Chromium supplementation of human subjects: effects on glucose, insulin, and lipid variables. Metabolism. 32(9):894-9.
  16. Offenbacher EG, Rinko CJ, Pi-Sunyer FX. The effects of inorganic chromium and brewer's yeast on glucose tolerance, plasma lipids, and plasma chromium in elderly subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 42(3):454-61.
  17. Preuss HG, Wallerstedt D, Talpur N, Tutuncuoglu SO, Echard B, Myers A, Bui M, Bagchi D. Effects of niacin-bound chromium and grape seed proanthocyanidin extract on the lipid profile of hypercholesterolemic subjects: a pilot study. J Med. 31(5-6):227-46.
  18. Roeback JR Jr, Hla KM, Chambless LE, Fletcher RH. Effects of chromium supplementation on serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in men taking beta-blockers. A randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med. 115(12):917-24.
  19. Davidson JR, Abraham K, Connor KM, McLeod MN. Effectiveness of chromium in atypical depression: a placebo-controlled trial. Biol Psychiatry. 53(3):261-4.
  20. Docherty JP, Sack DA, Roffman M, Finch M, Komorowski JR. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, exploratory trial of chromium picolinate in atypical depression: effect on carbohydrate craving. J Psychiatr Pract. 11(5):302-14.
  21. Lucidi RS, Thyer AC, Easton CA, Holden AE, Schenken RS, Brzyski RG. Effect of chromium supplementation on insulin resistance and ovarian and menstrual cyclicity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil Steril. 84(6):1755-7.
 
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