Questions? Furthermore, University of Alabama chemists John B. Vincent, Ph.D., and Stephen A. Woski, Ph.D., say their laboratory has found the compound is remarkably stable and unaffected by water, buffers, or blood serum proteins. The demand for chromium pills -- often sold in the form of chromium picolinate -- is based on a simple and common premise: The mineral supposedly helps build muscle and burn fat. Popular Diet Supplement May Be A Cancer Risk. Chronic inhalation of chromium-6 has been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer and … The trace metals, chromium and zinc, are excreted primarily in the urine. This creates an incredible cancer potential. It often is an ingredient in products ranging from sports drinks and gum to pills. The hamster cell study, published in the journal Mutation Research, builds on studies dating to 1995, according to lead author Diane Stearns, assistant professor of biochemistry at Northern Arizona University. ", Stearns found that 58 of 1 million cells had DNA damage, Komorowski points out. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/03/990324062736.htm (accessed December 27, 2020). Supplemental doses of these agents may need to be adjusted, reduced, or omitted in patients with renal dysfunction. Chromium is also a hugely popular dietary supplement -- and not because the nation has developed a sudden mania for well-controlled blood sugar. Such events are known, in some cases, to cause genetic mutations and cancer in humans, the researchers noted. But Australian researchers at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales found that when chromium picolinate enters cells in the body, it is partially converted into a cancer-causing chemical. Chromium-6 is recognized as a human carcinogen when it is inhaled. "Careful investigation into the effects of long-term diet supplementation with chromium picolinate are needed to evaluate its mutagenic and carcinogenic potentials. "Popular Diet Supplement May Be A Cancer Risk." I have started taking chromium picolinate to help normalize my blood sugar, and it has been helping to keep it in the normal range, if I watch my diet. But there's preliminary evidence that chromium picolinate causes severe damage to chromosomes in hamsters' ovary cells. It is called an "essential trace element" because very small amounts of chromium are necessary for human health. Have any problems using the site? Other novel chromium compounds also have improved bioavailability (40) (41) . The USDA toxicity studies also used extremely high doses chromium "but found absolutely no damage and concluded that chromium picolinate was safe," he says. Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Chromium is believed to help the body process carbohydrates and fats.1 It is marketed as a weight loss aid for dieters and an ergogenic (muscle-building) aid for bodybuilders and athletes. ScienceDaily. New Device Detects Which Hand Gesture You Want to Make, Key Advance for Printing Circuitry on Wearable Fabrics, Luminescent Wood Could Light Up Homes of the Future, Research Lays Groundwork for Ultra-Thin, Energy Efficient Photodetector on Glass. "Simple chromium compounds don't do this," says Vincent. Animal tissue studies like Stearns' "cannot be used to conclude that something causes cancer, " says Komorowski. Chromium Picolinate Cancer. ", The current findings are "more indicative" of this cancer-causing potential, Stearns says. "However the doses were within international guidelines for genotoxicity testing," she says. Chromium picolinate is claimed to reduce body fat and build muscle. (1999, March 24). In addition, development of other readily absorbable sources of chromium that lack the DNA-damaging ability of chromium picolinate seems warranted.". The dosage of chromium used in studies ranges from 200 mcg to 1,000 mcg daily, mostly in the form of chromium picolinate. You may require medications along with healthy consuming and exercise routines to manage your type 2 diabetes. Chromium is poorly absorbed following oral administration, but salt forms such as chromium picolinate, niacin-bound chromium, and chromium chloride, appear to have better bioavailability. "Our first study showed chromosome damage, and our second study has taken it one step further by showing that this damage leads to mutations," she says in a news release. Within two weeks, the patient showed distinct improvement in signs and symptoms, blood sugar levels improved and insulin requirements were greatly reduced. Stearns admits that the doses used in her study were higher than one would get from a few pills. Stearns continued, explaining that demonstrating a compound is mutagenic is not the same thing as showing it can cause cancer--that can only be demonstrated through animal or human studies. I learned to do my research and not just rely on doctors alone. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts, Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter, Liver Cancer: Symptoms, Tests, and Treatments, Closer to a Cancer Cure? You can take numerous diabetes medications by mouth. "Also, it is known that chromium can accumulate in the body; therefore, we caution against taking excessive doses of chromium picolinate for long periods of time. A safety paper published by the USDA comments on animal cell studies like Stearns,' citing "that one cannot extrapolate from a hamster tissue culture what could happen in humans," says Komorowski. ANAHEIM, Calif., March 23 --New evidence has been reported that a popular nutritional and dietary supplement, called chromium picolinate, may be a cancer risk. It also has been suggested that the supplement reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and the symptoms of diabetes. "There are studies that can be used to determine if a substance is toxic or not, and Nutrition 21 has done those studies, and chromium picolinate has been shown completely safe," he tells WebMD. A few studies have even suggested that very high chromium levels can cause DNA damage and may cause cancer. Studies show chromium supplementation can improve mood, reduce cravings, improve insulin sensitivity, regulate blood glucose levels, and improve binge eating and depression symptoms. It turns out that chromium side effects also include cancer — it’s very carcinogenic. 3.15.9.4 Chromium Picolinate. Conclusions. ", "I would definitely be concerned about taking this nutritional supplement based on what we've found," concludes Vincent. There are two forms of chromium: trivalent chromium and hexavalent chromium. One form, chromium picolinate, is popular because it is one of the more easily absorbed forms. A pilot scale study was done on 622 women who were obese. A recent USDA study fed rats a diet rich in the compound for 24 weeks and did not see any ill effects. Glucose tolerance factor chromium, more commonly called chromium GTF, is a mineral that is frequently used in bodybuilding, athletic and weight-loss supplements. The FDA considers chromium picolinate a nutritional supplement and therefore does not regulate it. When combined with picolinic acid, it is referred to as chromium picolinate and is sold as a nutritional supplement. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily, its staff, its contributors, or its partners. It plays a role in how your body breaks down fats and carbohydrates. New Treatments That May Change the Game, Understanding Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment. The earliest study that showed the effect of chromium supplementation in decreasing symptoms of diabetes was done in the 1970s, when a patient was given supplemental chromium. Most trials used chromium picolinate, and others used chromium-enriched yeast or chromium nicotinate. Chromium is marketed as a protection against Type 2 diabetes and as a so-called "sugar balance" pill to help weight loss. These and many other studies implicated chromium as a critical cofactor in insulin actio… (NCI04) Chromium picolinate is a nutritional supplement derived by combining chromium and picolinic acid. "We want to make sure that consumers do not misinterpret this data," he tells WebMD. A new study builds on earlier findings that hamster cells grown in a laboratory -- when exposed to chromium picolinate -- develop mutations in the cells' DNA. Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. "If it's stable enough that it gets into the cells intact," says Vincent, "then it could be a big concern.". Financial support for ScienceDaily comes from advertisements and referral programs, where indicated. All rights reserved. It is not known what actually happens in humans, or even animals when chromium picolinate is consumed. "Popular Diet Supplement May Be A Cancer Risk." Now we find out that the body turns chromium-3 into chromium-6. ScienceDaily. Trivalent chromium is available as supplements while the latter is carcinogenic. ", The doses are indeed "over 50,000 times higher than the level of chromium a human would have in their blood," counters Komorowski. Renger F. Witkamp, in Comprehensive Natural Products II, 2010. The investigations show that chromium picolinate resulted in very small amounts of weight loss (about 1.1 kg) after the treatment duration. Chromium picolinate, on the other hand, is more readily taken in during digestive processes. P2. Chromium is a trace mineral found in two main forms, trivalent chromium (III) and hexavalent chromium (VI). Chromium picolinate is a supplemental form of chromium said to improve nutrient metabolism and promote weight loss. It is used to prevent chromium deficiency, which may develop as a result of poor diet, stress and aging. © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. Reason #2 why chromium polynicotinate was mentioned by Dr Oz may have to do with some controversial research in the 1990s that hinted that high doses chromium picolinate might damage DNA. The bes… This article examines the evidence to determine the benefits of chromium picolinate. A study led by the universities of Sydney and NSW has shown that living cells convert chromium III, a naturally occurring element used as a weight loss and type-2 diabetes treatment, into its “carcinogenic cousin” — hexavalent chromium, the industrial pollutant made notorious by the 2000 movie Erin Brockovich and a 2011 chemical spill near Newcastle. A new study found that chromium is partially converted into a carcinogenic form when it enters cells (File photo) The mineral is primarily found in two forms. The element is needed only in trace amounts, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that more than 90% of American diets contain less than the minimum recommended daily allowance of chromium and dietary sources are extremely poorly absorbed by the body. Nutrition 21 is the leading developer and marketer of chromium-based nutritional supplements. Chromium Picolinate Linked To Cancer. Nutrition 21's studies have focused on weight loss, cholesterol, and diabetes. Given that in vitro studies suggest that other forms of chromium used as nutritional supplements, such as chromium chloride, are unlikely to be susceptible to generating this type of oxidative damage, the use of these compounds, rather than Cr(pic)(3), would appear warranted. "We are currently determining the actual type of DNA damage that causes the mutations in order to better understand the relevance of our results to humans who are taking these supplements.". The picolinic form increases Cr absorption from the GI tract, although this remains quite low, around 3%. However, the jury is still out on how effective this supplement is when used for these purposes. These medications are called oral medications. 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. Until now, though, there was no solid explanation for just how chromium picolinate caused the damage. Note: Content may be edited for style and length. Still, chromium's role in these processes is not well understood. These medicines are called oral medicines. Selenium is partially excreted in the urine. Participants taking chromium supplements lost significantly more weight, 0.75 kg, than those taking placebo and also had a significant 0.40 kg/m 2 reduction in BMI and body fat percentage, 0.68%, in comparison with placebo. American Chemical Society. Animal studies suggest that chromium picolinate may be carcinogenic, it enters cells directly and can causes mutations. American Chemical Society. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. 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ANAHEIM, Calif., March 23 --New evidence has been reported that a popular nutritional and dietary supplement, called chromium picolinate, may be a cancer risk. Chromium picolinate and weight loss. "Those doses are so high, she had to use acetone to get the chromium picolinate to go into solution, so you're using a toxic agent and mixing it with a huge dose of chromium picolinate and exposing it directly to ovary cells. Chemists from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, presented findings here today at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, which they say show chromium(III) tris(picolinate) causes DNA breakage. Chromium picolinate is an organic compound of trivalent chromium and picolinic acid, a naturally occurring derivative of tryptophan. gland was greater in male rats receiving 10,000 ppm chromium picolinate than in the control group. When Chromium Picolinate is taken as a dietary supplement with Vitamin C supplements, it caused genetic damage to laboratory hamsters. And the issue is created with very little effort. It’s been long known that chromium-6 is highly toxic. Chromium picolinate works together with insulin produced by the pancreas to metabolize carbohydrates. What oral medications deal with type 2 diabetes? Chromium picolinate has been used in alternative medicine to treat chromium deficiency, as an aid to controlling blood sugar in people with diabetes or prediabetes, to lower cholesterol, and as a weight-loss supplement. American Chemical Society. It is thought that chromium picolinate can help increase muscle mass. Chromium (in the form chromium picolinate or CrPic) has been associated with a reduction in the risk for obesity, less weight gain and may positively affect food intake. Research on the benefits of chromium to enhance fat loss and increase performance in bodybuilders and athletes has provided mixed results. "They say her studies are 'extremely questionable.'". However, there may be potential risks in the higher dosages of chromium (see Safety Issues). "They have to have ligands -- something that binds to chromium -- that make the properties just right and picolinate is one of those ligands.". A nonprofit organization with a membership of nearly 159,000 chemists and chemical engineers, the American Chemical Society publishes scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy and career programs in chemistry. Nutrition 21 has conducted "numerous clinical studies involving over 3,000 subjects -- in studies between three months and one year in duration -- and there have been absolutely no side effects," Komorowski tells WebMD. What oral medicines treat type 2 diabetes? I had breast cancer five years ago with a resulting mastectomy. "Mutations in certain genes may lead to cancer. Chromium is an essential mineral your body needs in small amounts. "You can't take that and say humans should be concerned.". "Chromium picolinate has been shown completely safe," says James Komorowski, MS, director of research and development at Nutrition 21 in Purchase, N.Y. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader: Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks: Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. ScienceDaily, 24 March 1999. The Alabama scientists believe it does this job by making the insulin receptor work better. Benefits and Dangers of Chromium Picolinate for Weight Loss There are two schools of thought when it comes to the benefits of chromium picolinate for losing weight. . My doctor has not put me on medication for my diabetes at this time. The committee also noted two case reports of kidney failure that might have been caused by this supplement and called for further research into its safety. The Alabama studies advance the work of the late Dartmouth University chemist Karen Wetterhahn, Ph.D., who died from a widely publicized mercury-poisoning accident. This research has been peer-reviewed and will soon appear in the American Chemical Society journal Chemical Research in Toxicology. This was due to concerns raised by the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals that chromium(III) picolinate might be genotoxic (cause cancer). As a weight loss supplement chromium picolinate may be effective, yet there are some potential drawbacks including a cancer risk. In theory, this might mean chromium picolinate might cause cancer. The health claims for chromium are based on its status as an essential human nutrient required for normal carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Vincent found that chromium picolinate reacts with common biochemicals, like vitamin C. He says the products "can then catalyze a reaction with oxygen to generate the potent DNA-damaging hydroxyl radical." We are looking at the potential, at a chemical level, if it is possible that [chromium picolinate] is a mutagen, and the answer is yes." In a 1995 paper she demonstrated that chromium picolinate can get into cells, at least in a lab dish. Found in vitamins and mineral supplements, Chromium may be necessary for utilization of dietary sugars and carbohydrates by optimizing the effects of insulin. These obese individuals were given about 1000 μg/day of chromium picolinate for 12 – 16 weeks. Learn about chromium, exposure to which can increase your risk of lung cancer and cancer of the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity. Hexavalent chromium compounds have been used as corrosion inhibitors in a wide variety of products and processes. We conclude that the occurence of preputial gland adenomas in one group of male rats was possibly associated with exposure to chromium picolinate. Content on this website is for information only. Personally, I don’t feel chromium picolinate causes cancer. Her work further showed that, once inside those laboratory cells, it appeared to induce cleavage of chromosomal DNA. The substance, which has been on the market for 10 years, has also been tested and found safe by the USDA, he tells WebMD. Dec. 11, 2001 -- A popular nutritional supplement, chromium picolinate, has been touted as a fix for weight loss and muscle growth, a potion to help you lose body fat. You may require medicines together with healthy eating and exercise practices to handle your type 2 diabetes. You can take numerous diabetes medications by mouth. 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