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Chromium in diet


Chromium is an essential mineral that is not made by the body. It must be obtained from the diet.

Alternative Names

Diet - chromium


Chromium is important in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. It stimulates fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis, which are important for brain function and other body processes. Chromium also aids in insulin action and glucose metabolism.

Food Sources

The best source of chromium is brewer's yeast. However, many people do not use brewer's yeast because it causes bloating (abdominal distention) and nausea.

Other good sources of chromium include the following:

  • Beef
  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Oysters
  • Wheat germ
  • Potatoes

Black pepper, butter, and molasses are also good sources of chromium.

Side Effects

Chromium deficiency may be seen as impaired glucose tolerance. It occurs in older people with type 2 diabetes and in infants with protein-calorie malnutrition. Taking chromium supplements can help manage these conditions. However, it is not a substitute for other treatment.

Because of the low absorption and high excretion rates of chromium, toxicity is not common.


The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following dietary intake for chromium:


  • 0 to 6 months: 0.2 micrograms per day (mcg/day)*
  • 7 to 12 months: 5.5 mcg/day*


  • 1 to 3 years: 11 mcg/day*
  • 4 to 8 years: 15 mcg/day*
  • Males age 9 to 13 years: 25 mcg/day*
  • Females age 9 to 13 years: 21 mcg/day*

Adolescents and Adults

  • Males age 14 to 50: 35 mcg/day*
  • Males age 51 and over: 30 mcg/day*
  • Females age 14 to 18: 24 mcg/day*
  • Females age 19 to 50: 25 mcg/day*
  • Females age 51 and older: 20 mcg/day*
  • Pregnant females age 19 to 50: 30 mcg/day
  • Lactating females age 19 to 50: 45 mcg/day

AI or Adequate Intake*

The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from the food guide plate.

Specific recommendations depend on age, gender, and other factors (such as pregnancy). Women who are pregnant or producing breast milk (lactating) need higher amounts. Ask your health care provider which amount is best for you.


Mason JB. Vitamins, trace minerals, and other micronutrients. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 225.

Review Date: 2/2/2015
Reviewed By: Emily Wax, RD, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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