Chromium metabolism. A literature review

Biol Trace Elem Res. Jan-Mar 1992;32:65-77. doi: 10.1007/BF02784589.


The trivalent state of chromium (Cr3+) is that encountered in biological milieus and is responsible for its nutritional activity. The principal route by which trivalent chromium enters the body is the digestive system. Chromium in foods is present both in the inorganic form and as organic complexes. Intestinal absorption of chromium is low (0.5-2%), and the mechanism has not yet been fully elucidated. Absorbed chromium circulates as free Cr3+, as Cr3+ bound to transferrin or other plasma proteins, or as complexes, such as glucose tolerance factor (GTF)-Cr. Circulating trivalent chromium can be taken up by tissues, and its distribution in the body depends on the species, age, and chemical form. It is excreted primarily in the urine by glomerular filtration or bound to a low-mol-wt organic transporter. Chromium metabolism is still imperfectly understood. The use of 51Cr has nevertheless furnished valuable data concerning its transport and excretion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromium / metabolism*
  • Humans


  • Chromium