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9 Chromium Health Benefits

Written by Helen Quach, BS (Biochemistry) | Last updated:
Jonathan Ritter
Medically reviewed by
Jonathan Ritter, PharmD, PhD (Pharmacology) | Written by Helen Quach, BS (Biochemistry) | Last updated:

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Chromium is a mineral that helps regulate insulin in the body. It can improve the immune system, boost brain function, help increase weight loss, and has other health benefits. Read more below to learn about this mineral.

What is Chromium?

Chromium is an essential mineral, and you can get your daily dose from your diet (mainly from grains) [1].

Trivalent chromium is safe for human consumption. The nutritional benefits of this version are considered to outweigh any potential risks [1].

However, another form called hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen of the stomach and lungs [2].

Health Benefits of Chromium

1) Helps Improve Diabetes Symptoms

Chromium has been found to increase the body’s tolerance for glucose [3].

It increases the ability of insulin to bind to cells which are important for those with type 1, type 2, gestation and steroid-induced diabetes [4].

In patients with type 2 diabetes, Chromium (Cr) picolinate supplements have been shown to control the accumulation of body fat [5].

In a group of elderly patients with type 2 diabetes, supplements helped these individuals control their blood sugar and lowered the amount of fat in their blood [6].

When combined with brewer’s yeast, chromium lowered blood sugar in diabetics that were fasting [7].

2) Improves Immune System Function

Cows supplemented with chromium showed immune system improvements; the blood levels of stress hormones decreased, improving their ability to use insulin [3].

An allergy test for the mineral can detect a chemical that is present in the immune response [8].

For patients living with HIV, chromium supplements helped with the side effects of antiretroviral medication [9].

3) Improves Brain Function

A study done on older adults at risk for cognitive decline found that the supplement Chromium picolinate can improve memory [10].

In patients with depression, these supplements also decreased carbohydrate craving, improved eating habits and benefited mood [11].

4) Helps Weight Loss

Niacin-bound Cr (NBC) caused fat loss in women when given combined with diet and exercise [12].

Animal studies proved the small effects of this mineral in weight loss [13].

5) Lowers Cholesterol

Hamsters given a combination of grape seed extract and Niacin-bound Cr was shown to decrease the total amount of bad cholesterol, repair the damage to cells, and helped repair the buildup of fatty plaques [14].

6) Improves Hormone Levels

Chromium supplementation reduced the amount of stress hormone in the blood of cows [3].

In pigs, it helped normalize the metabolic effects of administered hormones [15].

7) Protects Bone Health

Mineral extracts cause the release of cell signaling compounds that favor bone resorption [16].

In postmenopausal women, Chromium Picolinate supplements reduced bone reabsorption and may have some helpful effects on bone density [17].

8) Improves Women’s Health

In women with polycystic ovary syndrome, a Cr supplement improved acne, decreased levels of proteins associated with heart disease, and increased the body’s ability to deal with harmful free radicals [18].

9) Reduces Inflammation

Treatments with chromium in mice reduced the inflammatory response [19].

Irregular Chromium Levels?

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About the Author

Helen Quach

BS (Biochemistry)

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