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Chromium Supplement (Oral route, Parenteral route)

Chromium supplements are used to prevent or treat chromium deficiency.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

The body needs chromium for normal growth and health. For patients who are unable to get enough chromium in their regular diet or who have a need for more chromium, chromium supplements may be necessary… Read more
Brand names include
Amino-CR, Chromacaps, Chromate, Chromax, M2 Chromium, Nia-Chrom

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Chromium picolinate supplementation for overweight or obese people

Chromium is an essential nutrient (trace element) required for the normal metabolism of carbohydrate, protein and fat (i.e. the chemical reactions involved in breaking down these molecules to a form suitable for absorption by the body). Chromium increases the activity of insulin, and dietary supplementation with chromium has produced improvements in glucose metabolism which may lower blood glucose being important for overweight people with diabetes. It is generally believed that chromium may help to reduce a person's weight by decreasing the amount of fat in the body. Chromium is also said to suppress the appetite and stimulate the production of heat by the body, thus increasing energy expenditure. This may contribute to weight loss. Chromium picolinate is one of several chemical compounds of chromium sold as a nutritional supplement as a potential aid to weight loss.

Improved meta-analytic methods show no effect of chromium supplements on fasting glucose

The trace mineral chromium has been extensively researched over the years in its role in glucose metabolism. Dietary supplement companies have attempted to make claims that chromium may be able to treat or prevent diabetes. Previous meta-analyses/systematic reviews have indicated that chromium supplementation results in a significant lowering of fasting glucose in diabetics but not in nondiabetics. A meta-analysis was conducted using an alternative measure of effect size, d(ppc2) in order to account for changes in the control group as well as the chromium group. The literature search included MEDLINE, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, and previously published article reviews, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. Included studies were randomized, placebo-controlled trials in the English language with subjects that were nonpregnant adults, both with and without diabetes. Sixteen studies with 809 participants (440 diabetics and 369 nondiabetics) were included in the analysis. Screening for publication bias indicated symmetry of the data. Tests of heterogeneity indicated the use of a fixed-effect model (I² = 0 %). The analysis indicated that there was no significant effect of chromium supplementation in diabetics or nondiabetics, with a weighted average effect size of 0.02 (SE = 0.07), p = 0.787, CI 95 % = -0.12 to 0.16. Chromium supplementation appears to provide no benefits to populations where chromium deficiency is unlikely.

Chromium supplementation in overweight and obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials

The increased prevalence of obesity has made the use of dietary supplements as weight reducing agents highly popular, but their efficacy has not been proven. One such supplement is chromium. The purpose of this review was to evaluate the evidence for or against the efficacy of chromium supplementation in overweight and obese individuals. Electronic searches were conducted in Medline, Embase, Amed and The Cochrane Library. The bibliographies of located articles were also searched. No age, gender or language restrictions were imposed. The reporting quality of identified randomized clinical trials (RCTs) was assessed using a methodological checklist adapted from the Consolidated Standard of Reporting Trials Statement and Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Thirty-nine trials were identified and 20 were included. There were variations in reporting quality of included studies. A meta-analysis of 11 studies showed a statistically significant difference in weight loss favouring chromium over placebo (mean difference (MD): -0.50 kg; 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.97, -0.03). There was a high statistical heterogeneity. Adverse events included watery stools, vertigo, headaches and urticaria. The evidence from available RCTs shows that chromium supplementation generates statistically significant reductions in body weight. The magnitude of the effect is small, and the clinical relevance is uncertain. Future trials should last at least 16 weeks and greater uniformity in the measuring and assessment tools for body composition is recommended.

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Summaries for consumers

Chromium picolinate supplementation for overweight or obese people

Chromium is an essential nutrient (trace element) required for the normal metabolism of carbohydrate, protein and fat (i.e. the chemical reactions involved in breaking down these molecules to a form suitable for absorption by the body). Chromium increases the activity of insulin, and dietary supplementation with chromium has produced improvements in glucose metabolism which may lower blood glucose being important for overweight people with diabetes. It is generally believed that chromium may help to reduce a person's weight by decreasing the amount of fat in the body. Chromium is also said to suppress the appetite and stimulate the production of heat by the body, thus increasing energy expenditure. This may contribute to weight loss. Chromium picolinate is one of several chemical compounds of chromium sold as a nutritional supplement as a potential aid to weight loss.

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