Health Benefits

Chromium: Cures and Side Effects

| Modified on Jan 07, 2014
Chromium has attracted more attention lately as a nutritional supplement that may help to treat a diabetic condition naturally. However, there is also concern about chromium toxicity and its potential as a carcinogen.

Chromium is a metallic element that is nutritionally needed in small quantities for metabolism of fats and sugars. Generally, ordinary diets provide more than enough chromium. Yet studies have tied low chromium levels with a higher risk for the development of diabetes.

Other than hexavalent chromium, a toxic industrial waste, chromium is generally understood to be safe as an nutritional supplement, and no upper daily dosage has been established.

Natural Remedies: Chromium supplements may help diabetics improve the performance of insulin in sugar metabolism, thereby reducing diabetic symptoms. It may also be recommended in greater quantities as we age.

Chromium Toxicity

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Posted by Okj904 (Brooklyn, Ny, Usa) on 10/04/2010

Hello, I am concerned that my mother possibly has chromium toxicity, which could cause liver, or kidney damage. She has been taking 1600 mcg of Chromium picolinate for seven or eight weeks. I honestly believe it to be six weeks now. Do you believe damage has incurred? She shows no signs of any kidney damage, or odd urination patterns. Although the first stages of kidney disease are "silent".

Replied by Bill
(Dayton, Tennessee, Usa)

I have taken 1,000mg of Chromium Picolinate for about 7 years now. This on advice from an alternative medicine doctor. This, along with the cinnamon I take, are for my diabetes. It got me off of Actos, which has since been found to cause bladder Cancer.

In any case. If you really do suspect she has a kidney or liver problem. Take her to the doctor and get some blood drawn. There are blood tests that can be performed to find this out.

As for it being toxic to kidneys and livers. Anything can be toxic if too much is taken into the body or put on the body. In my case, I have bad kidneys and have had them since birth. I am not 62 years old. About 10 years ago, I was told my kidneys were at the 30% level of functioning. In 2011, my kidneys were tested again. They are now at a 60% level.

I really doubt the 1,600mg are bad, but she should get it down to around 1,000mg. Of course, this is also up to the weight. I weigh over 400 pounds. So she might be better off with less of a dose than I take. Just get those blood tests done first and then go from there.

Oh yeah, about liver problems. About 70% of people in the US have first stage fatty liver. Most people are never even aware of it. I am at stage two. There are five stages. For me, I am not worried about it too much, but I have cut back on my fat intake.

Replied by Slim
(West Sacramento, Ca)

A study is often cited by Chromium critics that claims that Chromium Picolinate can cause birth defects in the offspring of persons who supplement with Chromium - it should be noted that this study involved the equivalent of 6 GRAMS of Chromium per day (an amount that is 3,000 - 6,000 times that normally used for therapeutic purposes).

- Recently (1997) a study was undertaken that concluded that Chromium Picolinate and Chromium Chloride are safe in doses of up to 2,000 times the estimated safe limit of Chromium for humans.

Women 51 years: 20 mcg 25 mcg Men 51 years: 30 mcg 35 mcg

In-Tele-Health © 2009 (from Hyperhealth Pro CD-ROM)

Replied by An444


I have liver disease, but I took chromium to help my blood sugar problems, since I thought it was safe to take. By the time I figured out the chromium was damaging my liver, it was too late. Even though I already had liver problems, things were going fairly well, but the chromium made my liver much worse and my kidneys also took a big hit. If the liver can't handle excess chromium, apparently the kidneys can also get damaged. I took about 300 mcg of yeast chromium daily for several weeks. I think people with liver disease should avoid chromium supplements and multivitamins. However, certain B vitamins (perhaps Megafood b complex 1/4-1/2 tablet), vitamin D3 and K2 (as MK-7, but avoid titanium dioxide) might be ok at low or appropriate doses. As it turns out, the DRI for chromium is 25-35 mcg and my diet had enough already. The government says "Adult women in the United States consume about 23 to 29 mcg of chromium per day from food, which meets their AIs unless they're pregnant or lactating. In contrast, adult men average 39 to 54 mcg per day, which exceeds their AIs [14 ]." I guess this means that virtually every chromium supplement on the market is potentially an overdose. I poisoned myself and my blood sugar level was not even helped. A high-fiber vegan diet fixed my blood sugar problem, but I had to stop eating fruit. The label on my chromium bottle claimed that the RDA was 120 mcg, which was apparently inaccurate. Either way, most people get enough chromium in their diet and should consider avoiding this metal supplement (and most mineral pills), unless they are truly deficient. It's easy to overdose, since most people already get the DRI or close to it. Also, certain minerals can build up in the body. I wish I had known the risks - there was certainly no warning label on the bottle. Too much chromium might worsen insulin sensitivity. Chromium picolinate might cause chromosome damage. Chromium yeast supposedly has a high bioavailability, therefore it might cause toxicity easier than other forms, but I don't really know. If I was lucky and had a healthy liver, I would never use chromium supplements or multivitamins. Supplement sellers want you to believe the soils are totally deficient, and that you need to buy their metal pills.

Replied by Prioris
(Fl, Usa)

Were you taking other supplements like milk thistle and acetyl l-glutathione? Liver gets damaged when glutathione in liver gets depleted.

Replied by Rsw
(Uniontown, Oh)

For any kind of liver ailment, from toxic poisoning to cancer or Hep C (although Oscar's BHT treatment would also be at the top of my list for HEP C), Dr. Burt Berkson's protocols have proven time and again to heal the liver using Alpha Lipoic Acid (R lipoic only, sourced from Europe), sometimes combined with LDN, Selenium and/or Milk Thistle. You can Google Dr. Berkson, PhD and MD of Las Cruces, New Mexico to see articles from his extensive work since the 70's healing countless people with his protocol. Just a note: Alpha Lipoic Acid depletes B vitamins and a B supplement should be taken when using it, and it is also know to lower blood sugar levels.