Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition
Publication Type: Literature Review
Publication Acceptance Date: October 14, 2004
Publication Date: May 5, 2005
Citation: Anderson, R.A. 2005. Chromium physiology, dietary sources and requirements. Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition. Technical Abstract: Chromium in the trivalent form is an essential nutrient that functions primarily in sugar and fat metabolism. Dietary intake of Cr by humans and farm animals is often sub optimal. Insufficient dietary intake of Cr is associated with increased risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes (type 2 DM) and cardiovascular diseases. Chromium functions in glucose and insulin metabolism primarily via its role in the improvement of insulin activity. Improved insulin function is also associated with an improved lipid profile. People with type 2 diabetes have a more than two-fold increase in the incidence of cardiovascular diseases compared with control subjects. Chromium in foods and dietary supplements is trivalent while Cr often found in paints, welding fumes and other industrial settings is hexavalent and is several-fold more toxic than the trivalent nutritional Cr. Trivalent chromium is one of the safest nutrient supplements based upon the ratio with the amount that is needed relative to the amount that can be consumed over a lifetime with no adverse effects. An expert panel of the US Food and Nutrition Board was unable to set an upper level of safe intake since none of the levels of intake tested showed any signs of toxicity. Toxicity is also alleviated by the low level of absorption, usually less than 2%.