We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
There are thousands of supplements on the market to choose from, with many having multiple vitamins and minerals. Chromium is one such mineral, and while people can take it from natural foods, some consider its benefits as a reason to take it as a supplement.
This article looks at what chromium is and its benefits and side effects. It also takes a look at some of the top chromium supplements available, when to see a doctor, and frequently asked questions.
According to the
However, this only applies to one of the two main types of chromium. These are:
- Hexavalent chromium: This is a toxic by-product of stainless steel and the manufacturing industry. It is harmful to humans.
- Trivalent chromium: This is a type of chromium that is available in foods and supplements. This article focuses on trivalent chromium.
A person can also take in chromium from breathing ambient air and drinking water that contains chromium. The CDC states that the main source of chromium for people who are not exposed to chromium through their job is food.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reiterates this, saying there are studies showing that adult participants with type 2 diabetes could improve their glucose tolerance and decreased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol when taking a daily 4–200 microgram (mcg) chromium supplement.
However, more research is needed to understand the health impacts of chromium.
As a result, there are no chromium intake recommendations, but some guidelines have been made based on chromium intake in healthy people.
Learn more about essential nutrients.
NIH specifies that there are various forms of non-toxic chromium. These include:
- chromium picolinate
- chromium nicotinate
- chromium polynicotinate
- chromium chloride
The difference between these is how much actual chromium is in each form and how much the body can absorb.
For example, 12.4% of chromium picolinate’s weight is elemental chromium, with an absorption rate of 1.2%.
Dietary reference intakes (DRI) published in
An adequate intake (AI) has been set at 35 mcg a day for young males, and 25 mcg a day for young females.
The following tables show how the AI for chromium changes as a person ages.
These figures are based on the chromium content of milk from healthy people and an intake of 0.78 liters (l) of human milk per day.
The authors of 2001 research state that more research is needed for this particular age group.
Pregnancy and lactation
These guidelines set out specific adequate intake values for people who are pregnant or lactating.
The AI values for people who are lactating are higher than during pregnancy. This is because a person will need to replace the chromium they lose through lactation and account for their usual, daily adequate chromium intake, too.
It also states that while there are many claims made about chromium, the research so far about its benefits for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cholesterol, and other health conditions is very mixed. Some studies show that a person may get some health benefits from chromium, while others show they may not be able to improve these conditions by taking chromium.
Individuals who are interested in chromium and its potential benefits should consider choosing products that:
- support third-party lab testing
- provide a DV that matches the recommendations from health authorities
- matches their health needs
- suits their budget
- does not contain unnecessary ingredients, such as sugars
Some people may also want to choose products with specific certifications, such as vegan ingredients or environmentally-friendly packaging.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Below are some of the chromium supplements currently available that a person may wish to consider.
Best for personalized plans: Persona Chromium Picolinate
Price: Around $8.68 for 28-day supply
Ingredients: 200 mcg chromium picolinate
Servings: One capsule per day
Persona offers personalized vitamin packs delivered to people’s doors. A person can receive deliveries every 28 days, and they can pause or cancel their deliveries as needed. This may be suitable for people who are not sure if they want to take chromium supplements long-term. Additionally, a person can add other supplements to their delivery if they want to try other supplements alongside chromium.
Persona suggests that its chromium supplement can help a person curb their appetite and reduce food cravings, and improve sugar metabolism. However, it notes that none of these claims have been evaluated by the
When buying online, a person can take an assessment with a Persona nutritionist to find out if their chosen supplement is right for them.
The company claims that its chromium capsules are made:
Best for boosting absorption: Thorne Chromium Picolinate
Price: Around $16
Ingredients: 500 mcg chromium picolinate
Servings: 60 capsules per bottle
Thorne writes that the chromium in this supplement is bound to picolinic acid, which is an organic compound. According to Thorne, this can help the chromium to absorb.
The company recommends a person takes one capsule once or twice each day. It also advises that a person follows any guidance they are given from a health professional.
According to the online product description, Thorne’s chromium picolinate supplements are:
- derived from natural flavors and colors
Best for third-party verification: Nurish Chromium Chloride
Price: Around $5 a month
Ingredients: 350 mcg chromium chloride, maltodextrin
Servings: 30 tablets
Nurish is another company offering personalized supplement plans.
These chromium chloride tablets contain 350 micrograms (mcg) of chromium chloride. They are gluten-free and have no artificial flavors or colors, according to the company.
The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) certification has verified the brand’s products.
Reviews are very positive, with many users writing that the tablets are easy to take and that auto-shipping makes the service very convenient.
Best high dose: Amazing Formulas Chromium Picolinate
Price: Around $14.64
Ingredients: 1,000 mcg chromium picolinate
Servings: 120 tablets
This product contains the highest dose of chromium picolinate per tablet out of the products included in this list.
The company advises a person takes one tablet a day with a meal. The product labeling states this supplement is free from preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and does not contain milk, lactose, gluten, wheat, or fish.
It notes that it is not safe for pregnant or chestfeeding people.
According to the company, it is produced in a facility that has been certified by Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). This means that it has been subject to quality controls. GMP covers the whole manufacturing process, including the materials and equipment used to make the product, and the cleanliness of the environment in which it is made.
Best for weight management: HUM Ripped Rooster
Price: Around $45
Ingredients: Chromium polynicotinate, green tea
Servings: 60 capsules
The Ripped Rooster vegan capsules are aimed at people who wish to support their weight management goals along with a balanced diet and regular exercise.
These chromium supplements contain 3-acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone, which is also called 7-keto-DHEA. The company lists a 2020 study that shows that study participants taking 100 milligrams (mg) of 7-keto-DHEA twice daily lost 3.1 times more body fat compared to those taking a placebo.
Positive reviews mention that the supplement did support weight loss, while negative reviews mention that it had no noticeable effects and could cause stomach pain and acne.
Learn more about weight loss.
According to HUM, these capsules are gluten-free, verified by third-party labs for potency, and free of GMOs.
The company recommends a person takes one capsule with food twice a day.
Best for managing blood sugar: NOW Foods GTF Chromium
Price: Around $15.99
Ingredients: 200 mcg glucose tolerance factor (GTF) chromium
Servings: 250 tablets
This product uses GTF chromium, which is the biologically active form of chromium called chromium chelavite.
The company claims that these chromium supplements can help a person to support their body’s natural ability to manage blood sugar levels.
NOW Foods products are GMP-certified.
Best unique formula: Life Extension Optimized Chromium with Crominex 3
Price: Around $6.75
Ingredients: Proprietary blend of chromium with shilajit and fruit extract
Servings: 60 capsules
These capsules are different from others included in this list as they contain Indian gooseberry and a proprietary form of shilajit, which is a sticky substance that is rich in minerals. The company says this formulation makes the chromium more effective at supporting healthy blood sugar levels.
A 2014 animal study writes that Indian gooseberry oil, also called amla oil, had antidiabetic and antioxidant properties.
According to the product labeling, the product is gluten-free, non-GMO, and suitable for vegetarians.
Many buyers write in online reviews that this chromium supplement helped them control their appetite, but some say their glucose levels remained the same after months of taking the supplement.
Best for organic ingredients: Organixx Multi-Vita-Maxx
Price: Around $54.95
Ingredients: 60 mcg chromium, organic broccoli, spinach, raspberry juice, and alfalfa powder, turkey tail mushroom
Servings: 90 capsules
According to the company, these multivitamins contain 21 different vitamins and minerals, plus other botanical ingredients including mushrooms, vegetables, and fruits.
Aside from 60 mcg of chromium per capsule, each serving includes vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and biotin.
A person can read third-party test results for this brand’s multivitamins online.
People will need to take this multivitamin three times a day. The company writes that it is not suitable for people with yeast allergies.
Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:
- Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe and high-quality ingredients that are clearly labeled. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
- Dosage: MNT chooses products that must clearly state the supplement dosage.
- Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a safe dosage.
- Third-party testing: MNT chooses products that must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
- Available certificate of analysis: MNT chooses companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) following receipt of its third-party lab results.
Individuals concerned about their blood sugar or insulin levels should consult a doctor for advice.
A person should seek medical advice if they are experiencing any early symptoms of diabetes, including the following described by the American Diabetes Association:
Additionally, if a person needs help managing their weight, they can speak to a doctor or other health professional.
A person should always consult a doctor before taking any new supplements or vitamins to make sure they are safe for them to take.
Below are some of the most common questions people have about chromium supplements.
What is the best form of chromium supplementation?
People can take in enough daily chromium from food. Individuals can try to eat a balanced diet containing foods that contain chromium, such as lettuce, or beef.
Brands will use different forms of chromium and make varying claims about its benefits. A person should research whether a brand uses third-party testing on its products or manufacturing process, and whether the company provides access to scientific research backing up any health claims it makes.
Learn more about vitamins, minerals, and supplements in our dedicated hub.
What is the most absorbable form of chromium?
It depends. Proprietary forms may not always have had enough third-party studies to support the company’s claims on how well the body can absorb the chromium in its supplement. Chromium polynicotinate and chromium picolinate can both be absorbed by the body.
Is there a difference between chromium and chromium picolinate?
Yes. Chromium has many forms, including nicotinate, chloride, and picolinate. The difference between these resides in how much actual chromium the body can absorb from these forms.
There are many foods that contain chromium that people can eat to get their daily intake of chromium.
However, if a person has a known deficiency in chromium or they would like to explore the benefits of increasing their chromium intake, they may consider taking a chromium supplement.
There is a wide range of chromium supplements available online, and many have been tested by third party laboratories or quality control organizations. Some companies make chromium supplements with chromium picolinate, while others use more unusual, proprietary blends, that include extra organic ingredients and vitamins.
There is a lack of research into the benefits of taking a chromium supplement, and currently, there are no official recommendations on how much chromium a person should have each day.
Those who are concerned about their weight, insulin resistance, or diabetes should talk to a doctor before choosing a chromium supplement, as there may be more widely studied treatments or management methods available.
- Ansari, A., et al. (2014). Emblica officinalis improves glycemic status and oxidative stress in STZ induced type 2 diabetic model rats [Abstract]. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1995764513601856
- Chromium: Consumer. (2021).
- Chromium: Health professional fact sheet. (2021).
- Diabetes symptoms. (n.d.). https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/type-1/symptoms
- Kaiman, D, S., et al. (2020). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 3-acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone in healthy overweight adults [Abstract]. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0011393X00800260
- Preuss, H, G., et al. (2008). Comparing metabolic effects of six different commercial trivalent chromium compounds [Abstract].
- Toxicological profile for chromium. (n.d.) https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp7-c2.pdf