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Food Chem Toxicol. 2009 Apr;47(4):729-33. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2009.01.006. Epub 2009 Jan 8.

Chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity studies of chromium picolinate monohydrate administered in feed to F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice for 2 years.

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National Toxicology Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIEHS, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.


Trivalent chromium (Cr(III)) has been proposed to be an essential element, which may increase sensitivity to insulin and thus participate in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Humans ingest Cr(III) both as a natural dietary constituent and in dietary supplements taken for weight loss and antidiabetic effects. Chromium picolinate (CP), a widely used supplement, contains Cr(III) chelated with three molecules of picolinic acid and was formulated in an attempt to improve the absorption of Cr(III). In order to examine the potential for CP to induce chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity, the NTP conducted studies of the monohydrate form (CPM) in groups of 50 male and female F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice exposed in feed to concentrations of 0, 2000, 10,000 or 50,000 ppm for 2 years; exposure concentrations were selected following review of the data from NTP 3-month toxicity studies. Exposure to CPM did not induce biologically significant changes in survival, body weight, feed consumption, or non-neoplastic lesions in rats or mice. In male rats, a statistically significant increase in the incidence of preputial gland adenoma at 10,000 ppm was considered an equivocal finding. CPM was not carcinogenic to female rats or to male or female mice.

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