Chromium, glucose intolerance and diabetes

J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Dec;17(6):548-55. doi: 10.1080/07315724.1998.10718802.


Within the last 5 years chromium (Cr) has been shown to play a role in glucose intolerance, Type 2 diabetes mellitus (Type 2 DM), and gestational diabetes. In addition, diabetes and the neuropathy of a patient on home parenteral nutrition were alleviated when supplemental Cr was added to total parenteral nutrition (TPN) solutions. In a study conducted in China that has been supported by studies in the United States, supplemental Cr as Cr picolinate improved the blood glucose, insulin, cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1C in people with Type 2 DM in a dose dependent manner. Follow-up studies of > 1 year have confirmed these studies. The requirement for Cr is related to the degree of glucose intolerance: 200 microg/day of supplemental Cr is adequate to improve glucose variables of those who are mildly glucose intolerant. However, people with more overt impairments in glucose tolerance and diabetes usually require more than 200 microg/day. Daily intake of 8 microg of Cr per kg body weight was also more effective than 4 microg/kg in women with gestational diabetes. The mechanism of action of Cr involves increased insulin binding, increased insulin receptor number, and increased insulin receptor phosphorylation. In summary, supplemental Cr has been shown to have beneficial effects without any documented side effects on people with varying degrees of glucose intolerance ranging from mild glucose intolerance to overt Type 2 DM.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromium / administration & dosage
  • Chromium / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Glucose Intolerance*
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Pregnancy


  • Chromium