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J Diet Suppl. 2013 Dec;10(4):345-56. doi: 10.3109/19390211.2013.830678.

Chromium supplementation for menstrual cycle-related mood symptoms.

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1Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.



Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) afflicts ~7% of reproductive-age women resulting in impaired relationships, diminished overall quality of life, and disability-adjusted life years lost on par with other major psychiatric disorders. Response to pharmacological treatment is inadequate in ~50% of women with PMDD.


The goal of the present study is to evaluate the effects of a novel approach-short-term chromium supplementation-on menstrual cycle-related mood and physical symptoms.


Five women were studied under single-blind conditions in a private clinical setting (2 of them were referred specifically for treatment-resistant menstrual-related symptoms); 6 women completed a double-blind crossover study of chromium plus placebo versus chromium plus sertraline in a university clinical research setting. Treatments were administered from mid-cycle to onset of menses in 1-month intervals. Symptom ratings were obtained by self-report, using daily symptom checklists, and by clinical assessment, using the Hamilton Psychiatric Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) and the Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) scale.


Overall, chromium treatment was associated with reduced mood symptoms and improved overall health satisfaction in most participants. In some cases, chromium alone was associated with marked clinical improvement; in others, chromium plus an antidepressant resulted in greater improvement than either chromium alone or an antidepressant alone.


These preliminary observations suggest that chromium may be a useful monotherapy or adjunctive therapy for women suffering from significant menstrual cycle-related symptoms. Larger, controlled studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of chromium treatment in this patient population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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