Chromium Supplement (Oral, Parenteral)

Chromium is an essential element that is used to properly convert sugar into energy and also for the body to break down protein and fat.

Overview

Patients that have a deficiency in chromium may not be able to properly convert sugar or break down proteins and fat. Chromium deficiencies are often remedied through changes in the diet, and when that does not yield the desired results, supplements may be necessary. In some cases where additional chromium is required, the patient may receive the mineral via injections administered by their health care provider. Chromium injections cannot be self-administered and your doctor will provide further guidance on the process if they advise adding the injections to your health plan.

If you are chromium deficient your doctor may first recommend that you alter your diet before you begin taking supplements. Chromium is found in a variety of foods such as baker's yeast, wheat germ, American cheese, and calf liver. If a modified diet does not boost your chromium levels it is likely that your doctor will recommend supplements. Medically significant chromium deficiencies are quite rare, and therefore, there are few studies about supplements or the recommended dosage when taking chromium supplements.

Chromium supplements are available in both capsules and tablets, and in some cases via injection. If your doctor recommends chromium injections they will be administered by your healthcare provider and under doctor supervision. Dosage guidelines vary due to the patients' ages and their nutritional requirements. There are currently no established RDA requirements or guidelines about the proper and most healthy daily chromium intake level.

There are no reported side effects relating to the use of chromium supplements, nor is there a risk of overdose. Also, it is highly unlikely that many patients would experience a chromium deficiency level that would impact their overall health. Taking chromium supplements, or receiving injections from a healthcare provider, is effective in helping the body to avoid glucose intolerance and to properly digest both fat and protein.

Women who are pregnant or nursing need to ensure that their bodies are receiving the necessary nutrients to meet their health needs as well as those of their baby. If you are pregnant, nursing, or are planning to become pregnant in the near future, it is always best practice to discuss your plans to begin a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist before you do so.

Patients that suffer from allergies and other ailments that may affect their reaction to new medications should discuss their intention to begin a course of chromium supplements prior to doing so. While there are no known allergic reactions when taking chromium with other medications or foods, it is always best to err on the side of caution.

Chromium supplements are an effective addition to a balanced diet and if you are taking this supplement be sure to follow the directions on the label. Do not take more than the recommended dosage for any reason. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure that the supplement is having the desired effect. If you suffer from a medical case of chromium deficiency your doctor may want to monitor your chromium levels via blood tests to ensure that the supplements are effective.

Condition(s) Treated

  • Chromium Deficiency

Type of Medication

  • Mineral Supplement

Side Effects

No side effects or risks of overdose have been reported by users of chromium supplements. If you have any questions or concerns about your experience with taking chromium supplements, it is always best practice to consult with your doctor or pharmacist for direction.

As with any medication, it is important to inform both your doctor and your pharmacist of any medications that you are taking. This includes both prescription and non-prescription drugs as well as any herbal remedies or vitamin and mineral supplements that you are currently taking.

If you experience any symptoms such as nausea or headaches while taking this supplement, consult with your doctor or pharmacist. They may advise that you cease taking the supplements and modify your diet to include more foods that are naturally rich in chromium.

Dosage

The normal daily amount of chromium that is recommended for intake, whether through food or via supplements is as follows:

- 0mcg - 200mcg per day for adults and teenagers
- 0mcg - 200mcg per day for children aged 7 - 10
- 0mcg - 120mcg per day for children aged 4 - 6
- 0mcg - 80mcg per day for infants from birth to age 3

Chromium supplements can be both prescription and non-prescription in nature and all instructions provided by your prescribing doctor or pharmacist should be followed for both.

If you happen to miss a scheduled dose of your chromium supplement, there is no need to panic. While you may be being treated for a chromium deficiency, it would likely take several days, or longer, for your chromium levels to reach dangerous levels. If you have questions or concerns about the dosage instructions or missing a scheduled dose, it is always best practice to contact your prescribing physician or pharmacist.

Patients that are taking chromium via prescription to address a deficiency should follow the instructions provided to them by their doctor as they will likely require regular monitoring, via blood test, of your chromium levels.

Major Drug Interactions

There are no major drug interactions that have been reported. However, it always best practice to inform your doctor and pharmacist of all of the medications that you are taking prior to beginning a new medication.

Warnings

If you are taking chromium supplements and also suffer from Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, it is important to discuss your use of the supplement with your doctor as it may decrease the amount of insulin that you require.

There have been recent reports of chromium supplements being used as a weight loss aid. However, there does not exist any scientific or medical proof that verifies these claims.

It is not recommended that you take supplements for reasons other than their intended purposes. Chromium is necessary for the body to properly handle sugar and to break down fat and protein, but this is action is part of the normal digestive process. It is not recommended that chromium supplements be used for the purpose of weight loss.

Consult with your doctor or pharmacist prior to taking any supplement or medication for the purpose of losing weight.

Storage

It is important to store all medications in their original packaging or container and to keep them out of direct light. Do not expose medication to extreme heat or cold or allow it to freeze. Moisture should also be avoided which makes the bathroom a less than ideal place for medication.

Keep this and all other medications out of the reach of children.

At the completion of your course of treatment, you may have excess or expired medication that you do not need. Please consult with your prescribing doctor or pharmacist on the best way to dispose of this medication, as throwing it away or flushing it down the toilet are often not good options.

Summary

A chromium deficiency can cause the body difficulty in processing sugar and converting it to energy and also processing fat and protein. While chromium is found in a number of different foods many people find taking a supplement a preferable way to increase their overall chromium levels.

If you are suffering from a chromium deficiency the most common remedy is to take over the counter supplements if changes to your diet are not successful in increasing your chromium levels. There are no known side effects of taking chromium supplements, nor is there a risk of overdose.

If you suffer from any allergies or are taking any other medications, it is always best practice to talk with your doctor and pharmacist prior to taking any new medications or supplements. Pregnant and nursing women should discuss their desire to take chromium prior to beginning this course of treatment.

Chromium supplements are readily available from your local pharmacy and may prove useful in helping your body to properly deal with sugar, protein, and fat. There is no scientific or medical data that supports the claim that chromium is an effective weight loss aid. Do not take any type of weight loss supplement without first consulting with your doctor or pharmacist. If you are taking a chromium supplement be sure to follow all of the instructions on the label and contact your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any issues.