Chromium is required by the body in trace amounts, for performing various functions. However, there are a few known side effects, when chromium is taken in supplements. The following HealthHearty article touches upon the possible ill effects of this mineral, you should be aware of.
Chromium is a mineral and the body requires it in small proportions to regulate certain vital functions. Certain foods are of course the most important source of chromium in our body. Besides, it can also be consumed in the form of supplements that are commercially available.
Chromium regulates the functioning of insulin in the body. It also facilitates the processing of carbohydrates and fats. Supposedly, it is effective in weight loss, however, there is lack of enough medical evidence to prove this fact. The commercially available chromium supplements are believed to induce some side effects in human beings.
Potential Side Effects of Chromium
Chromium is available in various types of supplements. Chromium picolinate is the most popular supplement, as it is easily absorbed by the body. Other supplements include chromium polynicotinate and chromium chloride. Side effects of chromium chloride are yet unknown. Given below are the undesirable effects of the two most popular forms, chromium picolinate and chromium polynicotinate.
Chromium picolinate is usually tolerated efficiently by the body, without any side effects. However, this is the case only when the intake is in lower doses. Higher doses are capable of inducing some serious side effects.
The most important side effect of chromium picolinate is its ability to interfere with the normal sleep pattern of the individual. It causes insomnia or irregular sleeping. Headache, vomiting, are some other common chromium side effects. In some people, it may be a reason for diarrhea or irritability.
Rarely, the mineral may cause certain serious conditions, which must be reported to the doctor as early as possible. These include:
- Traces of blood in the stool, or vomiting blood.
- Difficulty in clear thinking or concentration.
- Symptoms of kidney damage such as increased or decreased urine production (independent of the fluid intake).
- Signs of anemia.
- Signs of liver damage such as dark urine or symptoms of jaundice.
- Upper right abdominal pain.
- Seizures or convulsions.
- Allergic reactions such as rash, hives, itching, swelling of the mouth or throat, wheezing, or difficulty in breathing.
Chromium polynicotinate maintains the blood sugar levels in the body. It is also helpful in synthesis of cholesterol, fat, as well as metabolism of sugar. Ideally, one should consume about 50mcg to 200mcg of this mineral to avoid any side effects. It has lesser number of undesirable effects as compared to chromium picolinate.
The reason is, rate of assimilation of chromium polynicotinate is much better than that of chromium picolinate. When the intake exceeds the prescribed limits, then chromium polynicotinate may induce mild gastrointestinal problems in the individual. It is often an ingredient of many multivitamin supplements. Therefore, it is necessary to read the labels carefully to regulate the amount of chromium in your body.
Side effects occur mainly due to overconsumption of chromium supplements. The more serious ones include, damage to DNA and increased chances of cancer. However, there is not enough medical evidence to show that chromium is responsible for these disorders.
The potential of this mineral to induce side effects cannot be known beforehand. Therefore, there is no way your medical practitioner can warn you against its hazards. The side effects will only become evident once you start consuming the supplements of this mineral.
Fortunately, some people can continue these supplements without experiencing any of the above-mentioned side effects. In any case, it is always better to consult your doctor before going for chromium supplements.