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Chromium is an essential trace element necessary for the body to perform different functions. Chromium helps hormone insulin to bring glucose from the blood into the cells to produce the energy. Also, chromium has an important role in breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Additionally, it is believed that chromium aids in weight loss, increases muscle mass and decreases body fat. Deficiency in this important mineral usually occurs in elderly people, pregnant women, people who practice high intensity exercise and people who eat large amounts of sugary foods. Low levels of chromium elevate blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and triglycerides, and increase the risk of diabetes and heart diseases.

Chromium can be obtained naturally through foods or by chromium supplementation. Rich sources of chromium are whole grain breads and cereals, lean meat, cheese, brewer’s yeast and some spices such as black pepper and thyme.

Chromium Side Effects

Chromium is available as part of multivitamins or alone. Chromium supplements can be found in several forms including chromium polynicotinate, chromium histidinate, chromium chloride and chromium picolinate. Chromium picolinate is a popular form of chromium supplements because it is easily absorbed by the body. On the other side, chromium picolinate, and chromium polynicotinate are associated with certain side effects.

Side Effects of Chromium PicolinateSide effects of chromium picolinate supplement occur when taken in high doses. Chromium picolinate can affect sleep pattern and cause either insomnia or irregular sleeping. Other common adverse effects of this supplement involve headaches, diarrhea, vomiting, irritability and irregular heart beats. There are also several sever side effects of chromium picolinate. Emergency medical help is necessary in case that signs of an allergic reaction occur. That includes hives, difficulty breathing, rash, itching, wheezing and swelling of face, lips, tongue or throat. Apart from that, person may experience trouble focusing and clear thinking. There may be blood in the stool or person may vomit blood. Kidney damage is also likely to occur with signs such as increased or decreased production of urine which is unrelated to fluid intake. Signs of liver damage may take place and include dark urine, yellowing of the eyes or skin and upper right abdominal pain. Person may experience signs of anemia too and seizures or convulsions.

Side Effects of Chromium Polynicotinate This supplement contains chromium mixed with nicotinate. Side effects of chromium polynicotinate are rare but several of them do exist. To avoid side effects of this chromium supplement one should take 50mcg to 200 mcg. When a person takes higher doses mild gastrointestinal problems may occur. Some people experience dizziness and slight rash too.

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