Chromium is a trace mineral that helps your body absorb, metabolize, and distribute glucose to your cells.
Scientists have known about the role of chromium in blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity. Now, emerging research indicates it may promote weight loss, stop cravings, and support heart health. As you can imagine, its popularity has skyrocketed with this news.
Today, we explore the science-backed health benefits of chromium and list the 8 best chromium supplements on the market.
If you want to add a high-quality chromium supplement to your life, look no further.
Chromium is an essential trace mineral well-known for regulating blood sugar levels. It’s in chromodulin, a molecule needed for proper insulin signaling. Insulin is the hormone responsible for managing blood glucose levels and signaling cells to take in glucose for energy.
There are two types of chromium.
1. Trivalent chromium is the biologically active form that your body uses in small amounts. You must get it from meat, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It’s also available in nutritional supplements aimed at blood sugar support, weight loss, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
2. Hexavalent chromium is considered a carcinogen unsafe for human consumption. If you’ve seen the movie Erin Brockovich, you know all about this environmental toxin (if not, go and watch it, it’s some of Julia Roberts’ best work). But don’t worry; you cannot get this form in a health supplement.
Chromium supplements are pretty controversial in the conventional medical world. Despite this, research supports using chromium for insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes.
Let’s look at the potential benefits of taking extra chromium.
Population studies have found those who consume supplements containing chromium are at lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
Furthermore, meta-analysis and systematic review studies from 2014 and 2016 found taking chromium up to 1000 micrograms per day improved glycemic control in diabetics.
That said, an older meta-analysis showed chromium did not affect fasting glucose, insulin, or glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels in nondiabetic people.
We’re not suggesting you drop your regular blood sugar medication. However, chromium may be helpful when used with medication and lifestyle changes.
Chromium may lower the risk of heart disease by supporting glucose, insulin, and lipid metabolism.
Chromium may reduce total cholesterol and the particularly dangerous low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This study suggests it significantly lowers apolipoprotein B, the main component in LDL cholesterol particles.
On the other hand, another recent review study on type-2 diabetes found chromium had a negligible effect on blood lipids. We need more studies on chromium for heart health.
Chromium may help you lose body fat by reducing blood sugar spikes and carbohydrate cravings.
A 2013 meta-analysis of 11 studies showed chromium significantly reduced body weight compared to a placebo. Other studies show it may support weight loss by reducing hunger levels and food cravings.
Interestingly, research shows doses between 600-1000 mcg/day may reduce binge eating – a hidden cause of obesity. It makes sense that you’re less likely to experience ravenous cravings for carbs if your blood sugar is stable.
Here is our list of the 8 best chromium supplements.
We only selected supplements made according to current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) standards and thoroughly evaluated for potency and purity.
*Note: We have affiliate links throughout this article, which means we receive a commission if you buy from any of our links. This supports our mission to bring complicated health and fitness info in an entertaining package. And it keeps us from putting up annoying things like banner ads. Those suck.
We’ve scoured the marketplace for the best chromium supplements, and Upgraded Chromium Plus undoubtedly snatches the top spot.
Upgraded Chromium Plus is a liquid formula that ensures maximum bioavailability and a 99.99% cellular absorption rate. Stabilized Nano Mineral Technology shrinks the chromium particles, allowing them to bypass the digestive system and slip into your cells.
A 1 ml serving delivers 500 mcg of Nano Chromium Chloride. It also contains 100 mg of vitamin C and 5 mg of a trace mineral blend to enhance the effects of chromium.
So, how do I take it?
The experts at Upgraded Formulas suggest adding 1 ml to 8-16 oz. of water, juice, smoothie, or protein shake. The bottle comes with a convenient dropper, which makes it super easy. You can take it on an empty stomach or with food.
With third-party testing, Upgraded Formulas guarantee ingredient safety and potency. Plus, the supplement is 100% natural, keto, gluten-free, and vegan.
A bottle costs $32 for 60 servings – and comes with a 100-day money-back guarantee. The higher absorption rate means you can take a lower dose than other chromium supplements.
It’s also worth mentioning that, for every purchase, Upgraded Formulas donate a percentage to improve access to clean water across the world.
It’s easy to see why Upgraded Chromium Plus is our #1 choice.
Natural Factors is a Canadian brand that’s cGMP-accredited by the FDA and Health Canada.
Their Chromium capsules deliver 500 mcg of pure chromium picolinate free from artificial colors, preservatives, sweeteners, dairy, sugar, gluten, yeast, soy, and corn.
Natural Factors are third-party tested by Isura™, the gold standard for independent natural health supplement verification and certification. This ensures their products are contaminant-free, non-GMO, and potency authenticated.
You can grab Natural Factors Chromium from iHerb for a great price.
NOW GTF Chromium provides 200 mcg of chromium nicotinate glycinate per tablet. The tablets are non-GMO, vegan, kosher, and free from wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, and shellfish. One bottle contains 250 tablets.
NOW Food is a trusted brand with years of experience making cGMP quality-assured supplements verified by a third party.
Upgraded Formulas has another great mineral supplement using the same nano chromium. Their Metabolism Formula delivers 450 mcg of Nano Chromium Chloride with 15 mg Nano Zinc and 3 mg Nano Manganese per 4 ml serving. These are three crucial minerals that many Americans don’t get enough of through their diet. Plus, you get 6 mg of a trace mineral blend.
A bottle costs $46 for 30 servings – and comes with a 100-day money-back guarantee.
Life Extension Optimized Chromium with Crominex® 3+ is a proprietary formula using ingredients that enhance the blood sugar-balancing effects of chromium.
Each serving contains a 500 mcg blend of chromium, Capros® amla fruit extract (Indian gooseberry), and PrimaVie® Shilajit. The capsules are vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO.
Life Extension is an NSF International-accredited, third-party-tested brand. You can see their certificates of analysis (COA) on request.
Thorne Chromium Picolinate provides chromium bound to picolinic acid, a natural mineral chelator that supports absorption. Each capsule contains 200 mcg of chromium.
Thorne is cGMP compliant and certified by NSF International. Each product goes through four rounds of thorough testing to verify identity, potency, and purity. They are also the first U.S. supplement company to be certified by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration – among the strictest regulatory bodies in the world.
The capsules are vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. That said, it contains more fillers than we’d like to see.
Seeking Health Trace Minerals Complex delivers chromium in a formula with 9 other essential minerals (plus potassium) in bioavailable forms for optimal absorption.
Each capsule contains:
Your body needs all the trace elements to function well, so this formula covers all your bases. However, it’s free from iron, making it suitable for people who shouldn’t consume extra iron, and leaves out magnesium and calcium, since they’re very common.
Seeking Health is third-party-tested and NSF-accredited.
Source Naturals Chromium contains 200 mcg of chromium amino acid chelate per capsule.
The capsules are free from sugar, yeast, dairy, egg, gluten, corn, soy, preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors. However, this product also has a few too many fillers for our liking.
We ranked these products, but we want you to decide on the best product for your needs. To do that, you need to understand how we ranked.
Here are factors we considered when researching the best copper supplement.
Not all chromium supplements are created equal. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate dietary supplements as it does pharmaceuticals. It’s like the wild west out there.
For this reason, we look for reputable companies that adhere to cGMP regulations and use independent testing.
Minerals are notoriously hard to absorb in supplement form. We selected formulas with higher absorption rates like Upgraded Chromium Plus, which uses nano mineral particles for easy cellular absorption.
Other products on the list are chromium chelates (like chromium picolinate) to support absorption and utilization.
We also prioritize products without allergens, additives, and fillers.
These chromium supplements offer 200-500 mcg per serving. This is considered safe and therapeutic.
Improving your wellness shouldn’t put you out of pocket. We weighed the cost of each product against the number of servings, dose per serving, and overall quality and bioavailability to decide which supplements are the best value.
Our list has products that suit a range of budgets. For example, Upgraded Formulas Chromium Plus is our top pick, but it’s pricey due to the use of nanotechnology. However, we have other affordable and high-quality options.
PCOS is a hormonal condition in women characterized by ovarian cysts, infertility, acne, higher testosterone levels, insulin resistance, and weight gain. Chromium is considered a natural treatment because of its role in insulin signaling.
This study on women with PCOS found 200 mcg of chromium improved pregnancy rates and reduced acne, excess body hair, and overall inflammation. Other research suggests chromium may lower body mass index (BMI), testosterone levels, and fasting insulin levels.
We need more research, but it might be helpful when used in conjunction with other treatments.
Chromium deficiency is rare in developed countries because humans only need a small amount of chromium.
Some people may have a borderline or subclinical deficiency that flies under the radar. It may result in these symptoms:
Populations with higher nutrient demands may be at increased risk for chromium deficiency. This includes athletes, people with gastrointestinal conditions, those on restrictive diets, and the elderly. However, the body stores chromium in the liver, spleen, bones, and other tissues – so blood testing isn’t reliable.
We get chromium in small amounts from a varied, whole-food diet. Some of the best food sources are brewer’s yeast, whole grains, broccoli, grapes, apples, bananas, potatoes, peas, green beans, garlic, basil, oranges, grass-fed beef, and turkey.
However, soil quality varies widely depending on the location and the time of year (and is declining due to over-farming). In addition, food processing and refinement may reduce the mineral content of your diet.
There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for chromium. However, the adequate intake (AI) for chromium is 35 mcg/day for men and 25 mcg/day for women. This increases slightly to 35 mcg/day for pregnant and lactating women.
Keep in mind these numbers indicate the average adequate intake of healthy adults. You’ll likely need higher levels of chromium to reduce the risk of certain health conditions.
Clinical research uses doses of chromium between 200 – 1000 mcg daily without problems. However, check with your healthcare professional to determine the ideal dosage for your needs.
Note: Your multivitamin may contain some chromium. Be sure to check before you take an extra chromium supplement.
A chromium picolinate supplement combines the hard-to-absorb trace mineral chromium with three picolinic acid molecules to enhance absorption.
Chromium GTF stands for “Glucose Tolerance Factor.” It’s the name given to the form of trivalent chromium isolated from yeast. Nowadays, many supplement companies use GTF on their labels for marketing.
Both forms are effective and support healthy glucose metabolism.
Chromium picolinate, chromium polynicotinate, and chromium chloride. are considered the most effective forms of trivalent chromium.
In addition, liquid chromium made using nano mineral technology (like in the case of Upgraded Chromium Plus) is highly bioavailable. It doesn’t require digestion and gets straight to your cells.
Experts suggest taking chromium in the morning on an empty stomach or with food.
However, avoid taking chromium with insulin and other diabetes medication without your doctor’s permission. There’s a risk your blood sugar levels may drop dangerously low. In addition, take chromium away from thyroid medication or antacids as it may affect absorption.
Chromium supplements are safe when taken at the suggested dose. However, high doses over time may cause symptoms such as watery stools, vertigo, headaches, sleep problems, and mood changes.
Please consult your healthcare provider before taking any new supplement, especially if you take chronic medication.
Some of the most exciting supplements for promoting healthy blood sugar levels include Resveratrol, Berberine, and NMN.
Chromium is a promising dietary supplement for people experiencing insulin resistance, type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and weight gain. It may also reduce cravings and binge eating.
However, no one supplement is the answer to weight loss and overall health. This depends on combining a balanced diet with a regular training program, quality sleep, and science-backed supplements.
Our list of the 10 best chromium supplements is the best place to start if you’re keen to try this mineral.
Disclaimer: We’re strangers on the internet, NOT your healthcare provider. Please talk to your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement.