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    Chrome - 120 tablets

    GN Laboratories

    The essential trace element to support health, fat loss and muscle building in a high dose form. Can be supplemented with a support vo...

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  • Chromium Picolinate - 100 Tablets
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    Chromium Picolinate - 100 Tablets

    SCITEC Nutrition

    CHROMIUM PICOLINATE Free of yeast Chromium, an essential mineral, contributes to normal macronutrient metabolism and maintenance of blood sug...

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Chromium is a white-bluish shining heavy metal with the atomic number 24 in the periodic table of the elements and the chemical symbol Cr. It does not occur on earth in elemental form. The most important ore containing chromium is chromite (chrome ironstone). Furthermore, the red lead ore (PbCrO4) has to be mentioned, but it is of less importance for chromium extraction. Chromium is the 20th most abundant element in the earth's crust; in the soils it occurs in a concentration of between 10 and 90 mg per kilogram of soil, depending on the type of soil and the region. The French chemist Louis Nicolas Vauquelin (1763 - 1829) discovered the element in 1797. In industry, chromium is the most important alloying metal for the production of stainless chromium steels and is also used for the production of dyes, e.g. as chromium oxide green. Chromium is a mineral that exists in various forms. Although dangerous forms of chromium are found in industrial contaminants, a safe form is found in food (1). This safe form - trivalent chromium - is typically considered essential for the human body, which means it must be supplied through the diet. Although some scientists question whether this mineral is truly essential, it has many important functions in the body (2). For example, chromium is part of a molecule called chromodulin, which helps the hormone insulin to exert its effects in the body (3, 4). Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and is important for the processing of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in the body (5). Interestingly, the absorption rate of chromium in the digestive tract is very low, being less than 2.5% of the dietary chromium intake (1). However, there is an altered form of chromium known as chromium picolinate that is better absorbed by the body. For this reason, Chromium Picolinate is found in many dietary supplements (3, 6). Chromium Picolinate is a chromium molecule to which three molecules of picolinic acid have been added (3).

Functions in the body

Chromium is an essential trace element, but in too high a dosage or intake it can also lead to health problems such as allergies and even cancer. In the human body, chromium plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates. Chromium is stored in internal organs such as the liver and spleen, but is also found in increased amounts in bones, fat and muscles. It is a cofactor of some enzymes and involved in carbohydrate (sugar) and fat metabolism. Chromium promotes the transport of amino acids to the cells of the heart and liver, and also enhances the action of insulin. Thus, it promotes muscle building and enhances fat loss. Larger amounts of chromium are also present in the cell nuclei (nuclei), where DNA is read and duplicated. Chromium can be seen here as a direct cofactor of enzymes at various sites. Finally, chromium probably influences the maintenance and functioning of the cornea and the lens of the eye.

Potential health benefits

Chromium has a whole range of potential health benefits, which we will look at in more detail in the following sections, along with the scientific study evidence.

Chromium could improve blood sugar levels

In healthy people, the hormone insulin plays an important role in signaling the body to transport blood sugar into the cells. In people who suffer from diabetes, there are problems with the normal response to insulin. Several studies suggest that taking chromium supplements can improve blood glucose levels in diabetics (7, 8). One study found that 200 µg of chromium per day over a 16-week period was able to lower blood glucose levels and insulin levels while improving the body's response to insulin (8). Other research has shown that people with higher blood glucose levels and lower insulin sensitivity responded better to chromium supplements (9, 10). In addition to this, a large study of 62,000 adults observed that those taking chromium supplements were 27% less likely to develop diabetes (11). In contrast, other studies with chromium supplementation of three or more months duration did not observe improvements in blood glucose levels in adults suffering from type 2 diabetes (12). In addition, studies conducted with healthy adults who did not have diabetes concluded that 1,000 µg of chromium picolinate did not improve the body's response to insulin (13). Another study with 425 adult volunteers also concluded that chromium supplements did not change blood glucose levels or insulin levels (14). All in all, the greatest benefits of chromium supplements were observed in diabetics. However, although some studies have not observed benefits in blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity in healthy people without deficiency symptoms, this may be quite different in people who have a suboptimal supply of chromium or a chromium deficiency due to an increased need for chromium or for other reasons, as a chromium deficiency can severely impair insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control. Summary: In diabetics, chromium supplements could be effective in improving the body's response to insulin or lowering blood glucose levels. However, results have been mixed and these benefits typically have not been observed in people without diabetes. However, this is likely to be different in people with an inadequate chromium supply.

Chromium could reduce hunger and cravings

Most people who have already tried to lose weight and maintain their new weight are well acquainted with feelings of hunger and strong cravings. As a result, many are interested in foods, supplements or medications that can help fight these urges.

Several studies have investigated whether chromium picolinate could be useful in this regard. In an eight-week study, 1,000 µg of chromium per day in the form of chromium picolinate reduced food intake, hunger, and cravings in healthy overweight women (15). The researchers reported that chromium's effects on the brain may have produced these effects. Other studies have examined people with binge-eating disorders or depression, as these populations may benefit most from suppression of cravings and hunger. In an eight-week study, 113 people with depression were assigned to either a group that received 600 µg of chromium daily in the form of chromium picolinate or a placebo group. The researchers found that appetite and cravings were reduced more by chromium picolinate supplements than by the placebo (16). In addition to this, a small study observed possible benefits in people who suffered from binge-eating disorder. In particular, dosages of 600 to 1,000 µg could lead to reductions in the frequency of binge-eating episodes and a reduction in symptoms of depression (17).

  • Summary: Although limited data are available, some research suggests that 600 to 1,000 µg of chromium picolinate per day may help reduce hunger, cravings, and binge eating in some people.

Could chromium help with weight loss?

Because of the role chromium plays in nutrient metabolism and the potential effects chromium may have on eating behavior, some studies have investigated whether chromium might be an effective weight loss supplement. One large meta-analysis looked at 9 studies involving a total of 622 overweight or obese people to get a full picture of whether chromium might be useful for weight loss. These studies used up to 1,000 µg of chromium picolinate. All in all, these studies concluded that chromium picolinate produced a modest weight loss of about 1.1 kilos in 12 to 16 weeks in overweight or obese people. However, the researchers concluded that the effectiveness of chromium for weight loss is questionable and further research is needed (18). Another analysis of available research reached a similar conclusion (19). An analysis of 11 studies revealed an average weight loss of 0.5 kilograms within 8 to 26 weeks of chromium supplementation. Other studies with healthy adults did not observe any effects of chromium supplements on body composition, which was the case even in combination with exercise (6).

Food sources

While chromium picolinate is typically only found in supplements, many foods contain the mineral chromium. In this context, it is important to note that cultivation and processing methods can influence the chromium content of foods (1). For this reason, the actual chromium content of a given food may vary and therefore there is no reliable database on the chromium content of foods. In addition, most chromium-containing foods contain very low levels of chromium, often in the range of only 1 to 2 µg per serving (20). In the United States, the recommended daily intake of chromium is 35 μg/day for adult men and 25 μg/day for adult women (20). After age 50 years, these recommendations decrease slightly to 30 μg/day for adult men and 20 μg/day for adult women. However, it is important to keep in mind that these recommendations were developed using the estimated intakes of specific populations. For this reason, these recommendations are more tentative in nature (20). Despite the uncertainty regarding the true chromium content of most foods and the uncertain intake recommendations, chromium deficiency appears to be rare (1). In general, whole grains and some fruits and vegetables are considered good sources of chromium (1, 21). Some studies have reported that broccoli is rich in chromium with about 11 µg chromium per half cup, while oranges and apples contain about 6 µg chromium per serving (1, 22). All in all, a balanced diet that provides a wide range of minimally processed foods could help meet chromium requirements.

Chromium deficiency

Chromium deficiency can trigger symptoms similar to those of diabetes mellitus (diabetes) by disrupting sugar metabolism. Here, too, the connections have not yet been fully clarified. Coronary heart disease and an increase in fatty acid levels in the blood could also be partly caused by a deficiency of chromium. General signs: Nervousness, irritability, confusion, depression, learning difficulties; increased urination, weight loss, itching, muscle weakness.

Other known consequences of chromium deficiency are clouding of the lens and cornea and growth retardation in children.

Overdose / Poisoning

Trivalent chromium is hardly resorbed, i.e. hardly absorbed by the body, which is why the trivalent chromium salts are also less toxic. Hexavalent chromium, on the other hand, is better absorbed and is therefore more likely to be classified as toxic for humans.

Hexavalent chromium is contained in cement, for example, and can cause allergy or even poisoning symptoms in people exposed to it. Furthermore, hexavalent chromium compounds are found in wood preservatives and insecticides. Often the pressure-impregnated wood in the garden is also contaminated with chromium salts.

Acute poisoning

Due to the strongly corrosive effect of the chromium compounds, acute chromium poisoning is characterized by severe gastrointestinal symptoms: Vomiting of yellow to greenish masses, which may also be bloody, furthermore severe pain and diarrhea. The symptoms can lead to shock and, in the worst case, death. If acute poisoning is survived, changes in the blood count may develop, as well as kidney and liver damage.

Chronic poisoning

In chronic chromium poisoning, one finds poorly healing ulcers of the skin after skin injuries, as well as rhinitis and nosebleeds caused by inhaled chromium dust. In the eyes, conjunctivitis may occur. Allergies may develop in persons exposed to this substance, e.g. construction workers (cement allergy). Due to the carcinogenic effect of chromium compounds, people who are occupationally exposed to chromium are more likely to develop cancers such as bronchial carcinoma.

Chromium poisoning therapy

In case of acute poisoning, it is recommended to drink immediately about 250 ml of water to dilute the concentration of the poison in the gastrointestinal tract and to reduce the corrosive effect. The administration of activated charcoal is not recommended, but the administration of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is recommended in order to reduce hexavalent chromium to trivalent chromium, which reduces the absorption into the body. Furthermore, the loss of electrolytes and water during vomiting must be compensated for and any shock that may occur must be treated.

The therapy of chronic poisoning depends on the symptoms.


The German Nutrition Society (DGE) states a daily requirement of between 30 and 100 micrograms of chromium for adolescents and adults. Pregnant women, older people, whose chromium depots are depleted with age, malnutrition or extreme stress situations can lead to an increased need for chromium.

Demand in sport

Sports scientists found that crompicolinate combined with strength training resulted in significant muscle gain while reducing body fat. For example, football players experienced an average muscle gain of 5.69 pounds while body fat percentage decreased by 22%. Chromium supplementation (over 24 weeks) showed a significantly greater gain in lean body mass in swimmers, as well as significant body fat loss compared to the comparison group. Realistically, an additional muscle gain of 1-2kg per year seems possible in the long term through regular chromium intake in bodybuilders. However, measurable effects overnight should not be expected.

My recommendation is to take 400-800mcg chromium picolinate a day with meals. However, I must point out that chromium intake only pays off in the long term.

Safety and side effects

Chromium is probably safe and harmless for most adults when used appropriately for up to 6 months. Chromium may be safe and harmless for most people when taken over a longer period of time.

Possible side effects include skin irritation, headache, dizziness, nausea, changes in mood, and impaired thinking, decision-making, and coordination. High doses have been associated with more serious side effects including blood disorders, liver or kidney damage, and other problems. However, it is not known if chromium is actually the cause of these side effects. An upper tolerable limit to which harmful side effects should not be expected has not yet been established for chromium. However, values for a recommended adequate intake have been established:

  • Infants from 0 to 6 months: 0.2 mcg
  • Young children from 7 to 12 months: 5.5 mcg
  • Children from 1 to 3 years: 11 mcg
  • Children from 4 to 8 years: 15 mcg
  • Boys from 9 to 13 years: 25 mcg
  • Men from 14 to 50 years: 35 mcg
  • Men from 51 years: 30 mcg
  • Girls from 9 to 13 years: 21 mcg
  • Girls from 14 to 18 years: 24 mcg
  • Women from 19 to 50 years: 25 mcg
  • Women over 51 years: 20 mcg
  • Pregnant women from 14 to 18 years: 29 mcg
  • Pregnant women from 19 to 50 years: 30 mcg
  • Breastfeeding women from 14 to 18 years: 44 mcg
  • Breastfeeding women from 19 to 50 years: 45 mcg

Some studies have questioned the safety of chromium picolinate. Based on how this form of chromium is processed in the body, it can create harmful molecules called hydroxyl radicals (3). These molecules can damage DNA and cause other problems (20). Interestingly, these negative effects only seem to occur when chromium is used in the form of chromium picolinate.

Precautions and warnings

Pregnancy and Lactation: Chromium is probably safe and harmless during pregnancy and lactation when taken orally in amounts not exceeding the recommended adequate intake (see above). However, women should not take chromium supplements during pregnancy and lactation unless ordered by a physician. Kidney Problems: There have been at least three reports of kidney damage in patients who had taken Chromium Picolinate. One should therefore not use chromium supplements if suffering from kidney problems.

  • Liver disorders: There are three reports of liver damage in patients who had taken Chromium Picolinate. One should therefore not use chromium supplements if suffering from liver problems.
  • Diabetes: Chromium may lower blood sugar levels too much when combined with diabetes medications. For this reason, diabetics should use chromium products with caution and carefully monitor their blood sugar levels. It is possible that the dosage of diabetes medications may need to be adjusted.
  • Chromate/Leather Contact Allergy: Chromium supplements may cause allergic reactions in people suffering from chromate or leather contact allergy. Symptoms include redness, swelling and skin peeling.

Behavioral or psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia: Chromium could affect brain chemistry and exacerbate behavioral or psychiatric disorders. If you suffer from any of these disorders, you should be careful when using chromium supplements and watch for changes in your mood.


Care should be taken when combining chromium with the following medications:


Chromium could lower blood sugar. Insulin is also used to lower blood sugar levels. Taking chromium in combination with insulin could cause blood glucose levels to drop too low. For this reason, blood glucose levels should be carefully monitored. It is possible that the dosage of diabetes medication may need to be adjusted.


Chromium could reduce the amount of levothyroxine that the body absorbs. This could reduce the effectiveness of levothyroxine. To avoid this interaction, levothyroxine should be taken 30 minutes before or 3 to 4 hours after chromium.

One should be vigilant when combining chromium with the following drugs:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to reduce pain and swelling. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs could increase chromium levels in the body and the risk of side effects. For this reason, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and chromium should not be taken at the same time.


Chromium Picolinate is the form of chromium found in most supplements available. Chromium could be effective in improving the body's response to insulin and lowering blood sugar levels in diabetics or people with reduced insulin sensitivity. In addition, chromium could help reduce hunger, cravings, and binge eating. However, chromium does not seem to be effective in producing significant weight loss - at least if there is not an undersupply of chromium.

Chromium deficiency appears to be rare and there are also concerns that excessive amounts of chromium may have adverse effects.


  1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Chromium-HealthProfessional/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21086001
  3. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/130/4/715/4686593
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22423897
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1204764/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12656641
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24635480
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16784965
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20022616
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20425574
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26446484
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23683609
  13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19422140
  14. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/76/1/148/4689472
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18715218
  16. https://journals.lww.com/practicalpsychiatry/Abstract/2005/09000/A_Double_Blind,_Placebo_Controlled,_Exploratory.4.aspx
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4358897/
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24293292
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23495911
  20. https://www.nap.edu/read/10026/chapter/8
  21. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002418.htm
  22. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/food-chromium-content-dietary-chromium-intake-and-related-biological-variables-in-french-free-living-elderly/4F0CE38A26B0B4863078F508F3A69351

Further information

  1. Hepburn DD, Vincent JB. In vivo distribution of chromium from chromium picolinate in rats and implications for the safety of the dietary supplement. Chem Res Toxicol. 2002 Feb;15(2):93-100.
  2. Cefalu WT, Wang ZQ, Zhang XH, Baldor LC, Russell JC. Oral chromium picolinate improves carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and enhances skeletal muscle Glut-4 translocation in obese, hyperinsulinemic (JCR-LA corpulent) rats. J Nutr. 2002 Jun;132(6):1107-14.
  3. 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. 1995 Jun;28(3):179-84
  4. Urberg M, Benyi J, John R. Hypocholesterolemic effects of nicotinic acid and chromium supplementation. J Fam Pract. 1988 Dec;27(6):603-6
  5. Urberg M, Zemel MB. Evidence for synergism between chromium and nicotinic acid in the control of glucose tolerance in elderly humans. Metabolism. 1987 Sep;36(9):896-9
  6. Vincent J. The potential value and toxicity of chromium picolinate as a nutritional supplement, weight loss agent and muscle development agent. Sports Med. 2003;33(3):213-30.
  7. Campbell WW, Joseph LJ, Anderson RA, Davey SL, Hinton J, Evans WJ. Effects of resistive training and chromium picolinate on body composition and skeletal muscle size in older women. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2002 Jun;12(2):125-35.
  8. Campbell WW, Joseph LJ, Davey SL, Cyr-Campbell D, Anderson RA, Evans WJ. Effects of resistance training and chromium picolinate on body composition and skeletal muscle in older men. J Appl Physiol. 1999 Jan;86(1):29-39.
  9. Pittler MH, Stevinson C, Ernst E. Chromium picolinate for reducing body weight: meta-analysis of randomized trials. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Apr;27(4):522-9
  10. Amato P, Morales AJ, Yen SS. Effects of chromium picolinate supplementation on insulin sensitivity, serum lipids, and body composition in healthy, nonobese, older men and women. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2000 May;55(5):M260-3.
  11. Joseph LJ, Farrell PA, Davey SL, Evans WJ, Campbell WW. Effect of resistance training with or without chromium picolinate supplementation on glucose metabolism in older men and women. Metabolism. 1999 May;48(5):546-53 [abstract].
  12. Volpe SL, Huang HW, Larpadisorn K, Lesser II. Effect of chromium supplementation and exercise on body composition, resting metabolic rate and selected biochemical parameters in moderately obese women following an exercise program. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001 Aug;20(4):293-306.
  13. Kareus SA, Kelley C, Walton HS, Sinclair PR. Release of Cr(III) from Cr(III) picolinate upon metabolic activation. J Hazard Mater. 2001 Jun 29;84(2-3):163-74
  14. Manygoats KR, Yazzie M, Stearns DM. Ultrastructural damage in chromium picolinate-treated cells: a TEM study. Transmission electron microscopy. J Biol Inorg Chem. 2002 Sep;7(7-8):791-8. epub 2002 Mar 23.
  15. Bagchi D, Bagchi M, Balmoori J, Ye X, Stohs SJ. Comparative induction of oxidative stress in cultured J774A.1 macrophage cells by chromium picolinate and chromium nicotinate. Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol. 1997 Sep;97(3):335-46.
  16. Hepburn DD, Xiao J, Bindom S, Vincent JB, O'Donnell J. Nutritional supplement chromium picolinate causes sterility and lethal mutations in Drosophila melanogaster. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Apr 1;100(7):3766-71. epub 2003 Mar 20.
  17. Lanca S, Alves A, Vieira AI, Barata J, de Freitas J, de Carvalho A. Chromium-induced toxic hepatitis. Eur J Intern Med. 2002 Dec;13(8):518-520.
  18. Clarkson PM. Effects of exercise on chromium levels. Is supplementation required? Sports Med. 1997 Jun;23(6):341-9