Comparing metabolic effects of six different commercial trivalent chromium compounds

J Inorg Biochem. 2008 Nov;102(11):1986-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2008.07.012. Epub 2008 Jul 31.


Recent reports provide cogent evidence that the average individual becomes chromium deficient with age. Unfortunately, chromium deficiency is strongly associated with many aspects of the Metabolic Syndrome, including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Since replacement of chromium, per os, often ameliorates many deleterious manifestations associated with insulin resistance and diabetes, it is not surprising that many different, commercial trivalent chromium compounds are available on the market. However, previous reports have shown that the form of trivalent chromium (negative charges) can influence effectiveness markedly. We compared various commercial forms of trivalent chromium commonly used alone or in formulations, to examine whether they are equally effective and non-toxic. In the first study, five different chromium products were examined - citrate, amino acid chelate (AAC), chelavite, polynicotinate (NBC), and nicotinate. In the second study, effects of NBC and picolinate were assessed. Results demonstrated that only chelavite and NBC improved insulin sensitivity, and only NBC decreased systolic blood pressure (SBP) significantly. In the second study, both picolinate and NBC significantly decreased SBP compared to control. NBC and picolinate decreased malonyldialdehyde concentrations (free radical formation) and DNA fragmentation in hepatic and renal tissues. No evidence of adverse effects was noted with any of the compounds tested. In conclusion, while all the trivalent chromium compounds tested seem safe, only three enhanced insulin sensitivity (NBC, chelavite, and picolinate) and only two decreased SBP significantly (NBC and picolinate). Furthermore, both NBC and picolinate were protective in lessening free radical formation and DNA damage in the liver and kidneys.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Body Weight
  • Chromium / pharmacology*
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Niacin / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred SHR


  • Blood Glucose
  • Chromium
  • Niacin