Is chromium pharmacologically relevant?

J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2014 Oct;28(4):397-405. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2014.06.020. Epub 2014 Jul 5.


Recent research, combined with reanalysis of previous results, has revealed that chromium can no longer be considered an essential trace element. Clinical studies are ambiguous at best as to whether Cr has a pharmacological effect in humans. Observed effects of Cr on rodent models of insulin resistance and diabetes are best interpreted in terms of a pharmacological role for Cr. Studies on the effects of Cr on rat models of diabetes are reviewed herein and suggest Cr increases insulin sensitivity in peripheral tissues of the rodent models. The lack of effects in human studies may stem from humans receiving a comparably smaller dose than the rodent models. However, given the different responses to Cr in the rodent models, humans could potentially have different responses to Cr.

Keywords: Chromium; Humans; Insulin resistance; Rats; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromium / pharmacology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Rats


  • Chromium