[Chromium and insulin resistance]

Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2004 Jan 31;148(5):217-20.
[Article in Dutch]


Since as early as the 50s of the last century, it has been known that chromium is essential for normal glucose metabolism. Too little chromium in the diet may lead to insulin resistance. However, there is still no standard against which chromium deficiency can be established. Nevertheless, chromium supplements are becoming increasingly popular. Various systematic reviews have been unable to demonstrate any effects of chromium on glycaemic regulation (possibly due partly to the low dosages used), but there is a slight reduction in body weight averaging 1 kg. In a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial in a Chinese population with type-2 diabetes mellitus, supplementation with 1000 micrograms of chromium led to a fall in the glycosylated haemoglobin level (HbA1c) by 2%. Toxic effects of chromium are seldom seen; recently, however, the safety of one of the dosage forms of chromium, chromium picolinate, has been questioned. One should be aware that individual patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus may have an increased risk of hypoglycaemic episodes when taking chromium supplements as self-medication.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Chromium / adverse effects
  • Chromium / deficiency
  • Chromium / metabolism*
  • Chromium / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / chemically induced
  • Insulin Resistance*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Chromium