Logo c4c345c0f2f7ba2a15948ce307a630a6d8edf8f88a547d69336323a7dfa75bdc

Chromium: why is it an essential nutrient?

Published: May 10, 2019

Chromium, like several other minerals such as iron, zinc, and copper, is a metal mineral and exists in several oxidation states ranging from Cr2- (a negatively charged anion) to Cr6+ (a positively charged cation).

Mushrooms are a good source of chromium
Mushrooms are a good source of chromium
It is thought that the most important form for humans is Cr3+, the most stable oxidation state and most common form of chromium in foods. 
In foods chromium is often incorporated into molecules which contain nitrogen, oxygen or sulfur.
The amount of chromium stored in your body is approximately 4- 6 mg.
Dietary sources of chromium
Chromium is present in a wide range of foods particularly unrefined foods.
Whole grains, meat (especially organ meats such as liver), poultry, cheese, mushrooms, condiments and spices are good sources of chromium.
Wine, beer and tea are also relatively good sources of chromium. Brewer’s yeast contains glucose tolerance factor which contains chromium.
Refining processes such as the production of white flour from whole grains and sugar refining reduce the level of chromium in the resulting product.
Thus whole grains, molasses and brown sugar have a higher chromium content than their refined end product.
Click on the “sources of chromium table” to learn more.
Recommended dietary intake for chromium
Although there is insufficient information to establish an RDA (recommended dietary allowance) an AI (average intake) for chromium has been set. The AI is based on median intakes of healthy individuals.

  • 0-6 months = 0.2 mcg/day
  • 6-12 months = 5.5 mcg/day
  • 1-3 years = 11 mcg/day
  • 4-8 years = 15 mcg/day
  • 9-13 years males = 25 mcg/day
  • 9-13 years females = 21 mcg/day
  • 14-50 years males =35 mcg/day
  • 14-18 years females = 24 mcg/day
  • 19- 50 years females = 25 mcg/day
  • > 50 years males = 30 mcg/day
  • >50 years females = 20 mcg/day
  • Pregnancy = 30 mcg/day
  • Lactation = 45 mcg/day

Under certain conditions your chromium requirement may increase.

For instance, stress and severe trauma increase secretion of the hormones glucagon and cortisol which interfere with glucose and chromium metabolism. People with diabetes mellitus may...link to the full article to learn more.

Related Topics

Diet  Health  Carbohydrates  Minerals 


Gropper, S.S., Smith, J.L. & Groff, J.L. (2005). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (4thEd.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Whitney, E. & Rady Rolfes, S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
Centre for Science in the Public Interest May 2012, June 2008, September 2011.
National institute of health: Chromium
Food data chart Chromium