Unveiling the power of Chromium: Your Ultimate Guide to Chromium Supplements

Unveiling the power of Chromium: Your Ultimate Guide to Chromium Supplements

Chromium is a naturally occurring mineral that plays an essential role in the body, affecting how insulin is used to regulate blood sugar levels. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that changes nutritional components such as starch and sugar into energy. 

Understanding Chromium

Chromium is what’s known as an essential trace mineral. It can be found in two forms: Trivalent chromium, which is non-toxic to humans and has many health benefits, and hexavalent chromium, which is a toxin. Trivalent chromium can be found in many food sources, or supplements, and evidence suggests that it helps to keep blood sugar levels normal by enhancing insulin usage within the body. 

As such, it can be used to help navigate chromium deficiency, or manage health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, bipolar disorder, although scientific evidence is inconclusive on its direct benefits. 

Sources of Chromium

While chromium supplements are widely available, it is possible to obtain recommended levels from a balanced and varied diet. Good dietary sources of chromium include:

  • Cheese
  • Whole Grain bread
  • Cereals
  • Lean proteins
  • Spices, including thyme and black pepper

Benefits of chromium in the body

Although research in this field is far from complete, clinical studies have uncovered links between chromium supplements and the following:  

  • Diabetes: The most popular topic around chromium is its impact on those with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is caused when a person’s body either does not make enough insulin, or the body does not properly utilise the insulin that has been created.

As previously discussed, chromium interacts with insulin to reduce blood sugar level, which has been tested in a number of trials, although with inconclusive results.  One such study showed that those with type 2 diabetes that took a chromium picolinate supplement had better HbA1c values than those that took a placebo. HbA1c measures long-term control of blood sugar levels. This result was also replicated when the subjects took a combination of chromium and biotin. Although there are links established here, they are far from unanimous and more research into the relationship is needed. 

  • Weight loss: There is some evidence to suggest that chromium can help people to lose weight and increase lean muscle mass, but the effects seem negligible compared to regular exercise and healthy eating. Interestingly, there are case studies where chromium has helped to curb cravings, particularly of sugary snacks, which has a knock-on effect for dieters and those looking to lose weight. 

Safety of Chromium Supplements

Chromium from food sources is generally considered safe, as the achievable doses are not dangerously high. However, if you are considering supplementing chromium, ‘chromium picolinate’ is its most common supplement form, there are a few possible side effects and interactions with medications that you should be aware of. As always, Etanics recommends you take dietary supplements under the supervision of your healthcare provider. 

When supplementing Chromium, high doses can actually reduce the effectiveness of insulin at managing blood sugar levels, and can also cause irritation or itching to the stomach lining. Rare reports include cases of increased heart rate or damages to the liver or kidneys, but only in cases where the levels of chromium in the body are too high. 

As chromium influences the use of insulin in the body, it can reduce blood sugar levels. In turn, this can make diabetes medications more potent, and can increase the risk of hypoglycaemia (hypo) or low blood sugar. If you are taking diabetes medications, it is important to consult your doctor in case medication doses need to be adjusted. 

Medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, are common household pain relievers. Taking these may increase the levels of chromium already present. 



Chromium is an essential trace element (only very small quantities are a necessity). It’s likely that you can eat enough chromium in a healthy diet containing fruits, vegetables and grains, but in the event of a chromium deficiency supplementation is available, namely in chromium picolinate among others. 

There have been studies conducted on chromium supplementation to assess its effectiveness at managing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, and while some links have been discovered, there is not enough solid evidence to claim it is an effective treatment. 

As always, we at Etanics aim to provide in-depth, unbiased information on health and wellness, including supplementation, and always recommend that supplements be taken under the direct supervision of healthcare professionals. Etanics is a trusted source for quality and reliable supplements.

Back to blog