Chromium - Fact Sheet

One of the more popular supplements, chromium has some unusual benefits that may or may not lead to helpful uses. Chromium affects blood sugar levels, essentially helping the body to process it more efficiently. For this reason, it may be of use to diabetics. However, it is most popularly marketed as a weight loss pill. The supplement also has some safety issues, possibly, that you should be aware of. In this article I'll explain these aspects of chromium.

Role in Nutrition

This nutrient is a heavy metal that is used by the body to better process blood sugar. The food you consume is converted into glucose, which is then used by your body's cells for energy. Insulin is a chemical that converts sugar into a usable form, and chromium can assist insulin in performing this task. It's a heavy metal, so there is some concern about toxicity and build-up in the body. In addition, it is difficult for the body to absorb, so methods of increasing absorption have been discovered. The most common is to attach the chromium to picolinic acid, found in breast milk. This results in the supplement known as "chromium picolinate."

Weight Loss

The most popular use of chromium picolinate is as a miracle weight loss drug. This is far more controversial than its use in diabetes, and indeed some studies have pointed to possible adverse effects while dieting. Others are not so clear. It may not be all it's cracked up to be in this regard.


Chromium is classified as "generally recognized as safe" by the US FDA, but there are some unknowns about it. It may have some mutagenic properties, possibly causing damage to DNA and resulting in such diseases as cancer. It also may build up inside the body, or not. The evidence just is not clear at this time. However, for short term use, it's probably fine. It has no known short term side effects.

Chromium is not currently the most useful supplement on the market. Its long-term side effects are unclear, and it isn't widely used by diabetics for sugar control, although that may change. We currently recommend using chromium for weight loss, but only as a personal test to see if it actually works as scientific research into this aspect is just as inconclusive as anything else. We don't guarantee results, as weight loss can be extremely subjective, but we feel it may be worth a shot for a dieting program as it is safe in the short term.