Chromium supplementation for menstrual cycle-related mood symptoms

J Diet Suppl. 2013 Dec;10(4):345-56. doi: 10.3109/19390211.2013.830678.


Background: Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) afflicts ~7% of reproductive-age women resulting in impaired relationships, diminished overall quality of life, and disability-adjusted life years lost on par with other major psychiatric disorders. Response to pharmacological treatment is inadequate in ~50% of women with PMDD.

Objective: The goal of the present study is to evaluate the effects of a novel approach-short-term chromium supplementation-on menstrual cycle-related mood and physical symptoms.

Methods: Five women were studied under single-blind conditions in a private clinical setting (2 of them were referred specifically for treatment-resistant menstrual-related symptoms); 6 women completed a double-blind crossover study of chromium plus placebo versus chromium plus sertraline in a university clinical research setting. Treatments were administered from mid-cycle to onset of menses in 1-month intervals. Symptom ratings were obtained by self-report, using daily symptom checklists, and by clinical assessment, using the Hamilton Psychiatric Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) and the Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) scale.

Results: Overall, chromium treatment was associated with reduced mood symptoms and improved overall health satisfaction in most participants. In some cases, chromium alone was associated with marked clinical improvement; in others, chromium plus an antidepressant resulted in greater improvement than either chromium alone or an antidepressant alone.

Conclusion: These preliminary observations suggest that chromium may be a useful monotherapy or adjunctive therapy for women suffering from significant menstrual cycle-related symptoms. Larger, controlled studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of chromium treatment in this patient population.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Chromium / pharmacology
  • Chromium / therapeutic use*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Health
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle / drug effects*
  • Menstrual Cycle / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / psychology
  • Sertraline / pharmacology
  • Sertraline / therapeutic use
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Trace Elements / pharmacology
  • Trace Elements / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Trace Elements
  • Chromium
  • Sertraline