Only 1 to 3% of biologically active trivalent chromium (Cr) is absorbed. Normal plasma levels are 0.05 to 0.50 mcg/L (1.0 to 9.6 nmol/L). However, it is not clear whether chromium should be considered an essential (required) trace element (1).
Chromium potentiates insulin activity; however, it is not known whether chromium picolinate supplementation is beneficial in diabetes mellitus. Patients with diabetes should not take chromium supplements unless use is supervised by a diabetes specialist. Chromium supplements do not enhance muscle size or strength.
Patients receiving long-term total parenteral nutrition rarely develop chromium deficiency. Symptoms respond to trivalent chromium 150 to 250 mg.
(See also Overview of Mineral Deficiency and Toxicity.)