Improved meta-analytic methods show no effect of chromium supplements on fasting glucose

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2014 Jan;157(1):1-8. doi: 10.1007/s12011-013-9863-9. Epub 2013 Nov 30.


The trace mineral chromium has been extensively researched over the years in its role in glucose metabolism. Dietary supplement companies have attempted to make claims that chromium may be able to treat or prevent diabetes. Previous meta-analyses/systematic reviews have indicated that chromium supplementation results in a significant lowering of fasting glucose in diabetics but not in nondiabetics. A meta-analysis was conducted using an alternative measure of effect size, d(ppc2) in order to account for changes in the control group as well as the chromium group. The literature search included MEDLINE, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, and previously published article reviews, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. Included studies were randomized, placebo-controlled trials in the English language with subjects that were nonpregnant adults, both with and without diabetes. Sixteen studies with 809 participants (440 diabetics and 369 nondiabetics) were included in the analysis. Screening for publication bias indicated symmetry of the data. Tests of heterogeneity indicated the use of a fixed-effect model (I² = 0 %). The analysis indicated that there was no significant effect of chromium supplementation in diabetics or nondiabetics, with a weighted average effect size of 0.02 (SE = 0.07), p = 0.787, CI 95 % = -0.12 to 0.16. Chromium supplementation appears to provide no benefits to populations where chromium deficiency is unlikely.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chromium / administration & dosage*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fasting*
  • Humans
  • Publication Bias


  • Blood Glucose
  • Chromium