Adverse Reactions

It is important to differentiate between hexavalent chromium (Cr IV) and trivalent chromium (Cr III) when assessing toxicity. Cr IV is used in industry and is highly toxic, whereas Cr III is approved for use as a supplement and does not attract the same concerns. Recent in vitro studies suggest a possibility that Cr III may oxidise to Cr V, a potential carcinogen (Shrivastava et al 2005); however, this requires confirmation from in vivo studies.

Irritability and insomnia have been reported with chromium yeast supplementation (Schrauzer et al 1992).

A follow-up survey of the Anderson trial at 1 year found no side-effects for doses up to 1000 fjg/day of chromium picolinate (Cheng et al 1999).

Of five anecdotal adverse reports attributed to chromium picolinate and reviewed by Lamson and Plaza (2002), only one reporting transient and vague symptoms was considered to be a possible adverse reaction (Huszonek 1993). Three could not be validated by the reviewers due to concurrent medications (Cerulli et al 1998, Martin & Fuller 1998, Wasser et al 1997), and another involved the inappropriate use of © 2007 Elsevier Australia

potassium dichromate, a strong oxidising agent known to elicit reactions in a majority of people (Fowler 2000). A case report exists of toxic hepatitis and greatly elevated hepatic chromium levels (> 10-fold normal) following 5 month ingestion of chromium polynicotinate in combination with vegetable extracts (Lanca et al 2002). Whether chromium supplementation was responsible for this incident is currently unclear.

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