Is chromium a trace essential metal?

  title={Is chromium a trace essential metal?},
  author={Diane M. Stearns},
If chromium is an essential metal it must have a specific role in an enzyme or cofactor, and a deficiency should produce a disease or impairment of function. To date, no chromium‐containing glucose tolerance factor has been characterized, the purpose of the low‐molecular‐weight chromium‐binding protein is questionable, and no direct interaction between chromium and insulin has been found. Furthermore, chromium3+ is treated like the toxic metals arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury in animals… 

Chromium: is it essential, pharmacologically relevant, or toxic?

While chromium has been conclusively shown not to have beneficial effects on body mass or composition and should be removed from the list of essential trace elements, chromium(III) compounds are generally nontoxic and have beneficial pharmacological effects in rodents models of insulin insensitivity, although human studies have not conclusively show any beneficial effects.

Chromium: Biological Relevance

There is mounting evidence that the antidiabetic activity of Cr(III) complexes is caused by the formation of high-oxidation-state (Cr(VI) or Cr(V) species during the reactions with biological oxidants in blood plasma, rather than by a specific Cr( III)-containing biomolecule.

Chromium as an essential nutrient: a review

Metabolism, the different biological functions of Cr and symptoms of Cr deficiency are described, especially during different forms of nutritional, metabolic and physical strain.

Recent advances in the biochemistry of chromium(III)

A mechanism for the action of chromodulin has recently been proposed and can serve as a potential framework for further studies to test the role of chromium in metabolism, as the molecule has been found to bind to activated insulin receptor, stimulating its kinase activity.

New Evidence against Chromium as an Essential Trace Element.

Nearly 60 y ago, chromium, as the trivalent ion, was proposed to be an essential element, but the results of new studies indicate that chromium currently can only be considered pharmacologically

Recent advances in the nutritional biochemistry of trivalent chromium

  • J. Vincent
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Nutrition Society
  • 2004
A mechanism for the action of chromodulin has recently been proposed and can serve as a potential framework for further studies to test the role of Cr in metabolism, as the molecule has been found to bind to activated insulin receptor, stimulating its kinase activity.

Effect of Chromium Picolinate and Chromium Nanoparticles Added to Low- or High-Fat Diets on Chromium Biodistribution and the Blood Level of Selected Minerals in Rats

It has been found that CrNPs were to a greater extent excreted from the rat’s body via urine and feces in comparison to CrPic, and the obtained results point to the paramount importance of the dietary Cr form on the excretion pattern of this microelement.

Chemical properties and toxicity of chromium(III) nutritional supplements.

The data suggest that the potential for genotoxic side-effects of Cr(III) complexes may outweigh their possible benefits as insulin enhancers, and that recommendations for their use as either nutritional supplements or antidiabetic drugs need to be reconsidered in light of these recent findings.

Role of chromium in human metabolism, with special reference to type 2 diabetes.

The role of chromium in carbohydrate metabolism was established when severe diabetic symptoms of a female patient on prolonged total parenteral nutrition (deficient in chromium) were alleviated by supplemental chromium.



Mechanisms of chromium carcinogenicity and toxicity.

The chemical nature of chromium compounds and how these properties impact upon the interactions ofchromium with cellular and genetic targets, including animal and human hosts, are discussed.

Mechanisms of chromium action: low-molecular-weight chromium-binding substance.

  • J. Vincent
  • Biology
    Journal of the American College of Nutrition
  • 1999
A naturally-occurring oligopeptide, low-molecular-weight chromium-binding substance (LMWCr), has been found in the laboratory to activate insulin receptor kinase activity up to 7-fold with a dissociation constant of 250 picomolar in the presence of 100 nanomolar insulin.

Essentiality of chromium in humans.

  • R. Anderson
  • Medicine
    The Science of the total environment
  • 1989

Chromium in human nutrition: a review.

  • W. Mertz
  • Medicine, Biology
    The Journal of nutrition
  • 1993
This review summarizes the results of 15 controlled studies supplementing defined Cr(III) compounds to subjects with impaired glucose tolerance with the conclusion that chromium deficiency is a factor in the much discussed "Syndrome X" of insulin resistance.

Chromium metabolism and its role in disease processes in man.

  • R. Anderson
  • Medicine
    Clinical physiology and biochemistry
  • 1986
Dietary intake of Cr is suboptimal and this is exacerbated by increased Cr losses due to stress and certain refined foods including simple sugars that enhance Cr losses.

Dietary chromium effects on tissue chromium concentrations and chromium absorption in rats

It is demonstrated that Cr concentrations are greatest in the kidney and that the form of dietary Cr significantly affects tissue Cr concentrations, and blood Cr is not in equilibrium with tissue Cr stores.

Chromium research from a distance: from 1959 to 1980.

  • W. Mertz
  • Medicine, Biology
    Journal of the American College of Nutrition
  • 1998
Of several approaches for solving this problem, the most feasible might be to standardize the urinary chromium response following an insulinogenic challenge, such as an oral load of glucose or of glucose plus fructose with urine collection before and during the 2-hour test.