Effectiveness of chromium in atypical depression: a placebo-controlled trial

Biol Psychiatry. 2003 Feb 1;53(3):261-4. doi: 10.1016/s0006-3223(02)01500-7.


Background: Chromium picolinate (CP) has been reported to benefit patients with symptoms of atypical depression.

Methods: A placebo-controlled, double-blind, pilot study of CP was conducted in 15 patients with DSM-IV major depressive disorder, atypical type. Patients received 600 micro g of CP or matching placebo (PBO) for 8 weeks.

Results: Seven (70%) CP and zero (0%) PBO patients met responder criteria (p =.02). Other outcomes were consistent with greater effect of CP. Three patients on CP failed to show any improvement. Chromium picolinate was well tolerated.

Conclusions: Chromium picolinate shows promising antidepressant effects in atypical depression. Its mechanism of action may relate to 5HT2A downregulation, increased insulin sensitivity, or to other effects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Picolinic Acids / adverse effects
  • Picolinic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Picolinic Acids
  • picolinic acid