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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Chromium - Charlatan's Delight Or Nutritionist's Concern?

Author
item Nielsen, Forrest

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Opinions are presented on the nutritional importance of chromium and the opinions from chromium supplements. It is concluded that, in spite of shortcomings in the evidence, chromium most likely is an essential nutrient for higher animals, including humans. Also, although the estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intake for chromium is 50-200 micrograms per day, the lower value is much higher than that needed by most individuals; this is not surprising because the values are set to include safety factors to assure the maintenance of health of practically all people. Thus, although many people consume less than 50 micrograms per day, a majority of these probably are not chromium-deficient. Some data, however, suggest that intakes of less than 20 micrograms per day should be of concern; based on dietary surveys, there are a significant number of people consuming less than this amount. Thus some people could benefit from an increased intake of chromium; the best and most enjoyable way of doing this is by eating a varied diet incorporating foods and beverages that are good sources of chromium; not by using chromium supplements. Furthermore, it should be realized from the nutritional viewpoint consumption of chromium supplements when chromium status is adequate is unlikely to affect such things as body composition, weight loss, muscle-building or aging as touted by the lay media or in advertisements by the supplement industry.

Technical Abstract: Opinions are presented on the nutritional importance of chromium and the opinions from chromium supplements. It is concluded that, in spite of shortcomings in the evidence, chromium most likely is an essential nutrient for higher animals, including humans. Also, although the estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intake for chromium is 50-200 micrograms per day, the lower value is much higher than that needed by most individuals; this is not surprising because the values are set to include safety factors to assure the maintenance of health of practically all people. Thus, although many people consume less than 50 micrograms per day, a majority of these probably are not chromium-deficient. Some data, however, suggest that intakes of less than 20 micrograms per day should be of concern; based on dietary surveys, there are a significant number of people consuming less than this amount. Thus some people could benefit from an increased intake of chromium; the best and most enjoyable way of doing this is by eating a varied diet incorporating foods and beverages that are good sources of chromium; not by using chromium supplements. Furthermore, it should be realized from the nutritional viewpoint consumption of chromium supplements when chromium status is adequate is unlikely to affect such things as body composition, weight loss, muscle-building or aging as touted by the lay media or in advertisements by the supplement industry.

Last Modified: 4/17/2014
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