Chromium is an ingredient found in a variety of supplements and vitamins.

Brand Names
Generic Name
DrugBank Accession Number

Chromium is a transition element with the chemical symbol Cr and atomic number 24 that belongs to Group 6 of the periodic table. It is used in various chemical, industrial and manufacturing applications such as wood preservation and metallurgy. The uses of chromium compounds depend on the valency of chromium, where trivalent Cr (III) compounds are used for dietary Cr supplementation and hexavalent Cr (VI) compounds are used as corrosion inhibitors in commercial settings and are known to be human carcinogens 5. Humans can be exposed to chromium via ingestion, inhalation, and dermal or ocular exposure 6. Trivalent chromium (Cr(III)) ion is considered to be an essential dietary trace element as it is involved in metabolism of blood glucose, regulation of insulin resistance and metabolism of lipids. Clinical trials and other studies suggest the evidence of chromium intake improving glucose tolerance in patients with Type I and II diabetes, however its clinical application in the standard management of type II diabetes mellitus is not established. Chromium deficiency has been associated with a diabetic-like state, impaired growth, decreased fertility and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases 1,2,5.

According to the National Institute of Health, the daily dietary reference intake (DRI) of chromium for adult male and non-pregnant female are 35 μg and 25 μg, respectively 7. Chromium picolinate capsules may be used as nutritional adjuvant in patients with or at risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) to improve blood sugar metabolism and stabilize the levels of serum cholesterol. Chromium chloride is available as an intravenous injection for use as a supplement to intravenous solutions given for total parenteral nutrition (TPN) Label.

Small Molecule
Average: 51.9961
Monoisotopic: 51.940511904
Chemical Formula
  • Biochrome
  • Chrom
  • Chromium, elemental
  • Cromo
  • Dinakrome



Indicated for use as a supplement to intravenous solutions given for total parenteral nutrition (TPN), to maintain chromium serum levels and to prevent depletion of endogenous stores and subsequent deficiency symptoms Label.

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Associated Therapies
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Trivalent chromium is part of glucose tolerance factor, an essential activator of insulin-mediated reactions. Chromium helps to maintain normal glucose metabolism and peripheral nerve function. Chromium increases insulin binding to cells, increases insulin receptor density and activates insulin receptor kinase leading to enhanced insulin sensitivity 2. In chromium deficiency, intravenous administration of chromium resulted in normalization of the glucose tolerance curve from the diabetic-like curve typical of chromium deficiency Label.

Mechanism of action

Chromium is an essential nutrient involved in the metabolism of glucose, insulin and blood lipids. Its role in potentiating insulin signalling cascades has been implicated in several studies. Chromium upregulates insulin-stimulated insulin signal transduction via affecting effector molecules downstream of the insulin receptor (IR). IR-mediated signalling pathway involves phoshorylation of multiple intracellular domains and protein kinases, and downstream effector molecules 3. Upon activation by ligands, intracellular β-subunit of IR autophosphorylates and activates tyrosine kinase domain of the IR, followed by activation and phosphorylation of regulatory proteins and downstream signalling effectors including phosphatidylinositol 2-kinase (PI3K). PI3K activates further downstream reaction cascades to activate protein kinase B (Akt) to ultimately promote translocation of glucose transporter-4 (Glut4)-vesicles from the cytoplasm to the cell surface and regulate glucose uptake 3. Chromium enhances the kinase activity of insulin receptor β and increases the activity of downstream effectors, pI3-kinase and Akt.

Under insulin-resistant conditions, chromium also promotes GLUT-4 transporter translocation that is independent of activity of IR, IRS-1, PI3-kinase, or Akt; chromium mediates cholesterol efflux from the membranes via increasing fluidity of the membrane by decreasing the membrane cholesterol and upregulation of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 3. As a result, intracellular GLUT-4 transporters are stimulated to translocate from intracellular to the plasma membrane, leading to enhanced glucose uptake in muscle cells 8. Chromium attenuates the activity of PTP-1B in vitro, which is a negative regulator of insulin signaling. It also alleviates ER stress that is observed to be elevated the suppression of insulin signaling. ER stress is thought to activate c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), which subsequently induces serine phosphorylation of IRS and aberration of insulin signalling 3. Transient upregulation of AMPK by chromium also leads to increased glucose uptake 3.

UCytochrome b5

Chromium compounds are both absorbed by the lung and the gastrointestinal tract. Oral absorption of chromium compounds in humans can range between 0.5% and 10%, with the hexavalent (VI) chromium more easily absorbed than the trivalent (III) form 5. Absorption of chromium from the intestinal tract is low, ranging from less than 0.4% to 2.5% of the amount consumed 7. Vitamin C and the vitamin B niacin is reported to enhance chromium absorption 7.

Most hexavalent Cr (VI) undergoes partial intragastric reduction to Cr (III) upon absorption, which is an action mainly mediated by sulfhydryl groups of amino acids 5. Cr (VI) readily penetrates cell membranes and chromium can be found in both erythrocytes and plasma after gastrointestinal absorption of Cr (IV). In comparison, the presence of chromium is limited to the plasma as Cr (III) displays poor cell membrane penetration 5. Once transported through the cell membrane, Cr (VI) is rapidly reduced to Cr (III), which subsequently binds to macromolecules or conjugate with proteins. Cr (III) may be bound to transferrin or other plasma proteins, or as complexes, such as glucose tolerance factor (GTF).

Volume of distribution

Absorbed chromium is distributed to all tissues of the body and its distribution in the body depends on the species, age, and chemical form 8. Circulating Cr (III) following oral or parenteral administration of different compounds can be taken up by tissues and accumulates in the liver, kidney, spleen, soft tissue, and bone 7.

Protein binding

In the blood, 95% of chromium (III) is bound to large molecular mass proteins, such as transferrin, while a small proportion associates with low molecular mass oligopeptides 6. Serum chromium is bound to transferrin in the beta globulin fraction Label.


The metabolism of Cr (VI) involves reduction by small molecules and enzyme systems to generate Cr (III) and reactive intermediates. During this process, free radicals can be generated, which is thought to induce damage of cellular components and cause toxicity of chromium 6. The metabolites bind to cellular constituents 5.

Route of elimination

Absorbed chromium is excreted mainly in the urine, accounting for 80% of total excretion of chromium; small amounts are lost in hair, perspiration and bile 5. Chromium is excreted primarily in the urine by glomerular filtration or bound to a low molecular-weight organic transporter 8.


The elimination half-life of hexavalent chromium is 15 to 41 hours 5.


Excretion of chromium is via the kidneys ranges from 3 to 50 μg/day Label. The 24-hour urinary excretion rates for normal human subjects are reported to be 0.22 μg/day 8.

Adverse Effects
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Oral LD50 for Cr (VI) is 135 - 175 mg/kg in mouse and 46 - 113 mg/kg in rat 5. Oral LD50 for Cr (III) in rat is >2000 mg/kg 5. LD50 of chromium (III) oxide in rats is reported to be > 5g/kg 6. Other LD50 values reported for rats include: 3.5 g/kg (CI 3.19-3.79 g/kg) for chromium sulphate; 11.3 g/kg for chromium (III) acetate; 3.3 g/kg for chromium nitrate; and 1.5 g/kg for chromium nitrate nonahydrate 6.

Acute overdose of chromium is rare and seriously detrimental effects of hexavalent chromium are primarily the result of chronic low-level exposure 5. In case of overdose with minimal toxicity following acute ingestion, treatment should be symptomatic and supportive 5. There is no known antidote for chromium toxicity.

Hexavalent chromium is a Class A carcinogen by the inhalation route of exposure and Class D by the oral route 5. The oral lethal dose in humans has been estimated to be 1-3 g of Cr (VI); oral toxicity most likely involves gastrointestinal bleeding rather than systemic toxicity 5. Chronic exposure may cause damage to the following organs: kidneys, lungs, liver, upper respiratory tract MSDS. Soluble chromium VI compounds are human carcinogens. Hexavalent chromium compounds were mutagenic in bacteria assays and caused chromosome aberrations in mammalian cells. There have been associations of increased frequencies of chromosome aberrations in lymphocytes from chromate production workers 4. In human cells in vitro, Cr (VI) caused chromosomal aberrations, sister chromatid exchanges and oxidative DNA damage 5.

Not Available
Pharmacogenomic Effects/ADRs
Not Available


Drug Interactions
This information should not be interpreted without the help of a healthcare provider. If you believe you are experiencing an interaction, contact a healthcare provider immediately. The absence of an interaction does not necessarily mean no interactions exist.
AbacavirAbacavir may decrease the excretion rate of Chromium which could result in a higher serum level.
AceclofenacAceclofenac may decrease the excretion rate of Chromium which could result in a higher serum level.
AcemetacinAcemetacin may decrease the excretion rate of Chromium which could result in a higher serum level.
AcetaminophenAcetaminophen may decrease the excretion rate of Chromium which could result in a higher serum level.
AcetazolamideAcetazolamide may increase the excretion rate of Chromium which could result in a lower serum level and potentially a reduction in efficacy.
Food Interactions
  • Administer vitamin supplements. Niacin (from food or supplements) may increase the absorption of chromium.
  • Take with foods containing vitamin C. Vitamin C may increase the absorption of chromium.


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Over the Counter Products
NameDosageStrengthRouteLabellerMarketing StartMarketing EndRegionImage
AcceleratorTablet150 mcgOralHealth 4 All Products Limited.Not applicableNot applicableCanada flag
Bio-chromeCapsule200 mcg / capOralSantÉ Naturelle (Ag) LtÉe2000-06-282002-06-18Canada flag
Chelated Chromium 200 McgTablet200 mcg / tabOralWn Pharmaceuticals Ltd.1998-06-262008-07-17Canada flag
Chelated Chromium CapsulesCapsule100 mcg / capOralAlbion1996-09-062002-07-12Canada flag
Chelated Chromium Gtf 500mcg TabTablet500 mcgOralGahler Enterprises Ltd.1987-12-312009-09-28Canada flag
Mixture Products
NameIngredientsDosageRouteLabellerMarketing StartMarketing EndRegionImage
24 Multivitamins + MineralsChromium (20 mcg) + Ascorbic acid (150 mg) + Beta carotene (10000 unit) + Biotin (25 mcg) + Calcium (130 mg) + Cholecalciferol (400 unit) + Choline bitartrate (25 mg) + Copper (1 mg) + Cyanocobalamin (25 mcg) + Ferrous fumarate (15 mg) + Folic acid (.8 mg) + Inositol (25 mg) + Magnesium (65 mg) + Manganese (2 mg) + Molybdenum (20 mcg) + Niacin (25 mg) + Calcium pantothenate (25 mg) + Potassium (15 mg) + Potassium Iodide (.1 mg) + Pyridoxine hydrochloride (25 mg) + Racemethionine (25 mg) + Riboflavin (25 mg) + Selenium (20 mcg) + Thiamine hydrochloride (25 mg) + Vanadium (20 mcg) + Vitamin A palmitate (5000 unit) + Vitamin E (50 unit) + Zinc (10 mg)TabletOralStanley Pharmaceuticals, A Division Of Vita Health Products Inc.1997-04-302002-07-31Canada flag
50 Plus Multiple Vitamins & MineralsChromium (10 mcg) + Ascorbic acid (90 mg) + Biotin (45 mcg) + Calcium (200 mg) + Cholecalciferol (400 unit) + Copper (2 mg) + Cyanocobalamin (25 mcg) + Folic acid (0.4 mg) + Magnesium (100 mg) + Manganese (5 mg) + Molybdenum (25 mcg) + Nicotinamide (40 mg) + Pantothenic acid (10 mg) + Potassium Iodide (0.15 mg) + Pyridoxine hydrochloride (3 mg) + Riboflavin (3.2 mg) + Selenium (25 mcg) + Thiamine mononitrate (2.25 mg) + Vanadium (10 mcg) + Vitamin A palmitate (6000 unit) + Zinc (15 mg)TabletOralGfr Pharma Ltd.2002-10-202004-06-15Canada flag
A.M. FormulaChromium (133.3 mcg) + Vanadium (25 mcg)TabletOralAbundance Naturally Ltd1998-06-051999-08-06Canada flag
Aces CapletChromium (25 mcg) + Beta carotene (15000 unit) + Calcium ascorbate (350 mg) + Selenium (100 mcg) + Vitamin E (200 unit) + Zinc (25 mg)TabletOralNu Life Nutrition Ltd.1997-08-152005-03-15Canada flag
Aces TabChromium (25 mcg) + Calcium ascorbate (350 mg) + Cholecalciferol (200 unit) + Selenium (100 mcg) + Vitamin A (5000 unit) + Vitamin E (200 unit) + Zinc (25 mg)TabletOralNu Life Nutrition Ltd.1987-12-312005-03-15Canada flag
Unapproved/Other Products
NameIngredientsDosageRouteLabellerMarketing StartMarketing EndRegionImage
KeylosaChromium (35 ug/1) + Ascorbic acid (120 mg/1) + Calcium carbonate (200 mg/1) + Cholecalciferol (20 ug/1) + Cyanocobalamin (8 ug/1) + Ferrous fumarate (27 mg/1) + Folic acid (1000 ug/1) + Magnesium oxide (200 mg/1) + Manganese sulfate (23 mg/1) + Molybdenum (45 ug/1) + Nicotinamide (20 mg/1) + Pyridoxine (20 mg/1) + Riboflavin (3.4 mg/1) + Selenium (55 ug/1) + Thiamine mononitrate (3 mg/1) + Vitamin A (1500 ug/1) + Vitamin E (30 mg/1) + Zinc oxide (25 mg/1)Capsule, coatedOralNovian Pharmaceuticals2023-10-06Not applicableUS flag
LipoviteChromium (1 mg/1mL) + Choline (1 mg/1mL) + Citrulline (1 mg/1mL) + Dexpanthenol (1 mg/1mL) + Inositol (1 mg/1mL) + Levocarnitine (1 mg/1mL) + Lidocaine (1 mg/1mL) + Mecobalamin (1 mg/1mL) + Methionine sulfoximine (1 mg/1mL) + Nicotinamide (1 mg/1mL) + Pyridoxine (1 mg/1mL) + Riboflavin (1 mg/1mL) + Thiamine chloride (1 mg/1mL)InjectionIntramuscularPerdido Key Health And Wellness Inc2015-11-23Not applicableUS flag
NicomideChromium (100 ug/1) + Cupric oxide (2 mg/1) + Folic acid (500 ug/1) + Nicotinamide (750 mg/1) + Selenium (50 ug/1) + Zinc glycinate (27 mg/1)TabletOralAvion Pharmaceuticals, Llc2014-12-08Not applicableUS flag
NicotinamideChromium (100 ug/1) + Copper (2 mg/1) + Folic acid (850 ug/1) + Nicotinamide (750 mg/1) + Selenium (50 ug/1) + Zinc (27 mg/1)TabletOralAcella Pharmaceuticals, LLC2021-05-25Not applicableUS flag
Strovite Forte CapletChromium (50 ug/1) + Ascorbic acid (500 mg/1) + Biotin (0.15 mg/1) + Copper (3 mg/1) + Cyanocobalamin (50 ug/1) + Folic acid (1 mg/1) + Iron (10 mg/1) + Magnesium (50 mg/1) + Molybdenum (20 ug/1) + Niacin (100 mg/1) + Pantothenic acid (25 mg/1) + Pyridoxine hydrochloride (25 mg/1) + Riboflavin (20 mg/1) + Selenium (50 ug/1) + Thiamine mononitrate (20 mg/1) + Vitamin A (4000 [iU]/1) + Vitamin D (400 [iU]/1) + Vitamin E (60 [iU]/1) + Zinc (15 mg/1)Tablet, coatedOralExeltis Usa, Inc.1996-10-012023-01-13US flag


Drug Categories
Chemical TaxonomyProvided by Classyfire
This compound belongs to the class of inorganic compounds known as homogeneous transition metal compounds. These are inorganic compounds containing only metal atoms,with the largest atom being a transition metal atom.
Inorganic compounds
Super Class
Homogeneous metal compounds
Homogeneous transition metal compounds
Sub Class
Not Available
Direct Parent
Homogeneous transition metal compounds
Alternative Parents
Not Available
Homogeneous transition metal
Molecular Framework
Not Available
External Descriptors
chromium group element atom (CHEBI:28073)
Affected organisms
Not Available

Chemical Identifiers

CAS number
InChI Key


General References
  1. Wallach S: Clinical and biochemical aspects of chromium deficiency. J Am Coll Nutr. 1985;4(1):107-20. [Article]
  2. Anderson RA: Chromium in the prevention and control of diabetes. Diabetes Metab. 2000 Feb;26(1):22-7. [Article]
  3. Hua Y, Clark S, Ren J, Sreejayan N: Molecular mechanisms of chromium in alleviating insulin resistance. J Nutr Biochem. 2012 Apr;23(4):313-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2011.11.001. [Article]
  4. CHROMIUM, ELEMENTAL - National Library of Medicine HSDB ... - Toxnet - NIH [Link]
  5. CHROMIUM COMPOUNDS - National Library of Medicine HSDB ... - Toxnet - NIH [Link]
  6. Chromium Toxicological Overview - Health Protection Agency - [Link]
  7. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Chromium [Link]
  8. Dailymed Label: DIVISTA - chromium picolinate capsule [Link]
KEGG Compound
PubChem Compound
PubChem Substance
FDA label
Download (73 KB)
Download (49.7 KB)

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials
4Unknown StatusTreatmentHyperuricemia1
3CompletedTreatmentType 2 Diabetes Mellitus1
2CompletedPreventionHuman Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infections1
2CompletedTreatmentTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI)1
2TerminatedPreventionObesity / Weight Gain1


Not Available
Not Available
Dosage Forms
TabletOral150 mcg
Injection, solution, concentrateIntravenous
CapsuleOral200 mcg / cap
Tablet, film coatedOral
TabletOral200 mcg / tab
CapsuleOral100 mcg / cap
TabletOral200 mcg
TabletOral0.2 mg
TabletOral500 mcg
CapsuleOral100 mcg
Tablet, extended releaseOral200 mcg
CapsuleOral200 mcg
TabletOral100 mcg / tab
Tablet, extended releaseOral
CapsuleOral10 mcg / cap
Tablet, effervescentOral
Capsule, coatedOral
TabletOral6 mcg / tab
Tablet, coatedOral
Powder, for solutionOral
PowderOral150 mcg / 20 g
TabletOral100 mcg
Not Available
Not Available


Experimental Properties
melting point (°C)1900MSDS
boiling point (°C)2642MSDS
water solubilityInsolubleMSDS
Predicted Properties
Water Solubility0.0 mg/mLALOGPS
Physiological Charge0Chemaxon
Hydrogen Acceptor Count0Chemaxon
Hydrogen Donor Count0Chemaxon
Polar Surface Area0 Å2Chemaxon
Rotatable Bond Count0Chemaxon
Refractivity0 m3·mol-1Chemaxon
Polarizability1.78 Å3Chemaxon
Number of Rings0Chemaxon
Rule of FiveYesChemaxon
Ghose FilterNoChemaxon
Veber's RuleYesChemaxon
MDDR-like RuleNoChemaxon
Predicted ADMET Features
Not Available


Mass Spec (NIST)
Not Available
Not Available
Chromatographic Properties
Collision Cross Sections (CCS)
Not Available


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Pharmacological action
General Function
Metal ion binding
Specific Function
Cytochrome b5 is a membrane bound hemoprotein which function as an electron carrier for several membrane bound oxygenases.
Gene Name
Uniprot ID
Uniprot Name
Cytochrome b5
Molecular Weight
15329.985 Da
  1. Jannetto PJ, Antholine WE, Myers CR: Cytochrome b(5) plays a key role in human microsomal chromium(VI) reduction. Toxicology. 2001 Feb 28;159(3):119-33. [Article]


Pharmacological action
General Function
Transferrin receptor binding
Specific Function
Transferrins are iron binding transport proteins which can bind two Fe(3+) ions in association with the binding of an anion, usually bicarbonate. It is responsible for the transport of iron from si...
Gene Name
Uniprot ID
Uniprot Name
Molecular Weight
77063.195 Da
  1. Moshtaghie AA, Ani M, Bazrafshan MR: Comparative binding study of aluminum and chromium to human transferrin. Effect of iron. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1992 Jan-Mar;32:39-46. [Article]

Drug created at December 03, 2015 16:51 / Updated at April 14, 2024 23:45