A prediction of chromium(III) accumulation in humans from chromium dietary supplements

Diane M. Stearns, Joseph J. Belbruno, Karen E. Wetterhahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


It has been proposed that 90% of American's diets are deficient in the trace essential mineral chromium. Several chromium(III) dietary supplements are currently available to alleviate this deficiency. We show here that the same pharmacokinetic models that have been used to quantitate absorption of chromium(III) in humans predict that ingested chromium(III) will accumulate and be retained in human tissues for extended periods. Calculations were carried out with the popular supplement chromium picolinate as an example, but may be applied to any chromium(III) complex. Results from these calculations were compared to clinical data obtained from chromium(III) absorption/retention studies in humans. The models predict that chromium(III) can accumulate in human tissues to reach the levels at which DNA damage has been observed in animals and in vitro. The use of chromium supplements for extended periods or in excess dosages should be reevaluated in terms of these established models because the possible long-term biological effects of chromium accumulation in humans are poorly understood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1650-1657
Number of pages8
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number15
StatePublished - 1995


  • absorption
  • chromium
  • picolinic acid
  • supplementation
  • toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'A prediction of chromium(III) accumulation in humans from chromium dietary supplements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this