Dangers of Chromium Picolinate

Woman taking chromium.
Exercise caution before you start taking Chromium.

There are a number of dangers of Chromium Picolinate, and it's important to educate yourself about them before you decide to use this dietary supplement.

The Dangers of Chromium Picolinate

Many of the side effects associated with Chromium Picolinate are considered minor, but some research indicates there may be cause for concern.

Possible Link Between Chromium Picolinate and Cancer

The results of a study conducted by the University of Alabama in 1999 point to a link between Chromium Picolinate and cancer. When Chromium Picolinate is taken as a dietary supplement with Vitamin C supplements, it caused genetic damage to laboratory hamsters.

Additional research will need to be conducted to determine whether these results mean that humans are at increased risk for cancer by combining these two supplements. The risk of damage to human DNA must also be studied further.

Chromium Picolinate and Kidney Failure

Some people who have taken Chromium Picolinate have experienced kidney failure as a result. A 33-year-old woman developed this condition, as well as liver damage and anemia after taking it. It's important to note that in this case the woman took the supplement on a daily basis for several months as part of her weight loss efforts. She was taking between 1,200 and 2,400 micrograms of Chromium Picolinate for five months. In addition, the woman was taking antipsychotic drugs during this time. It is possible that it was the combination of medications she was taking that was responsible for the kidney damage.

In another instance, a 24-year-old man suffered acute kidney failure. He had been taking the supplement for two weeks while working out. The supplement also contained other ingredients, and it is possible that one of them was responsible for his health issues.

Mental Health Issues

Chromium Picolinate may have an effect on the brain's neurotransmitters. Researchers feel that changing levels of neurotransmitters are responsible for depression and bipolar disorder. Using Chromium may not be the best idea for people who are already living with either one of these conditions.

Drug Interactions

If you decide to take Chromium, you need to be aware that combining it with certain other types of over-the-counter medications may increase its absorption rate into the body. Keep this in mind if you are currently taking any of the following:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
  • Naproxen

Chromium Use During Pregnancy

Women who are either pregnant or breast feeding need to be careful about the types of medications they are using. No human studies involving Chromium Picolinate have been conducted, but results of studies involving pregnant laboratory mice are disturbing. When Chromium was given to pregnant mice, it caused birth defects in the fetal mice. The skeleton of the developing fetus was affected.

Avoid High Levels of Chromium Picolinate

Some of the foods that we eat contain Chromium Picolinate and we need some of this substance to stay healthy. The dangers of Chromium Picolinate lie in ingesting large amounts of the supplement. Taken in moderation for a limited period of time, Chromium may be beneficial.

Before taking any nutritional supplement, you should weigh the benefits versus the possible risks. If you decide that you can benefit from taking a Chromium supplement, be alert for any of the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained bruising
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Skin irritations, such as a rash or blisters
  • Less frequent urination

If any of these develop after you start taking Chromium, please contact your doctor to discuss them. He or she will be able to advise whether you should stop taking the Chromium.

Dangers of Chromium Picolinate