Effects of chromium supplementation on body composition, human and animal health, and insulin and glucose metabolism

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2019 Nov;22(6):483-489. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000604.


Purpose of review: Chromium(III) has been proposed to have a nutritional or pharmacological role in changing body composition and improving symptoms of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and related conditions although the mode of action of Cr(III) at a molecular level has failed to be elucidated. This review details the current status of studies into Cr(III) supplementation.

Recent findings: Clinical trials, meta-analyses and systematic reviews have failed to demonstrate clinically significant effects from Cr(III) supplementation on body composition or symptoms of insulin resistance and related conditions in humans and farm animals. Although new Cr(III) supplements continue to appear in the scientific literature, studies have failed to elucidate the mechanism of chromium action at a molecular level. Conflicting results on a role of transferrin in Cr(III) transport and detoxification have appeared.

Summary: Cr(III) supplementation cannot currently be recommended in humans or farm animals. Further studies are required to probe the mechanism of Cr(III) action in increasing insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake in rodent models of insulin resistance and diabetes, with particular attention being turned to a potential role of transferrin in Cr(III) transport and detoxification.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Chromium* / administration & dosage
  • Chromium* / pharmacology
  • Chromium* / therapeutic use
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Mice
  • Rats


  • Insulin
  • Chromium
  • Glucose