Is chromium a trace essential metal?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

104 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

If chromium is an essential metal it must have a specific role in an enzyme or cofactor, and a deficiency should produce a disease or impairment of function. To date, no chromium-containing glucose tolerance factor has been characterized, the purpose of the low-molecular-weight chromium-binding protein is questionable, and no direct interaction between chromium and insulin has been found. Furthermore, chromium3+ is treated like the toxic metals arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury in animals. Chromium3+ may be involved in chromium6+-induced cancers because chromium6+ is converted to chromium3+ in vivo, and chromium36+ is genotoxic and mutagenic. Although there is no direct evidence of chromium deficiencies in humans, dietary supplements exist to provide supraphysiological doses of absorbable chromium3+. Chromium3+ may act clinically by interfering with iron absorption, decreasing the high iron stores that are linked to diabetes and heart disease. If so, this would make chromium3+ a pharmacological agent, not an essential metal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-162
Number of pages14
JournalBioFactors
Volume11
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000

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Chromium
Metals
Iron
Dietary supplements
Poisons
Coenzymes
Arsenic
Medical problems
Dietary Supplements
Mercury
Cadmium
Heart Diseases
Carrier Proteins
Animals
Molecular Weight
Molecular weight
Pharmacology
Insulin
Enzymes
Neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry

Cite this

Is chromium a trace essential metal? / Stearns, Diane M.

In: BioFactors, Vol. 11, No. 3, 2000, p. 149-162.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Stearns, DM 2000, 'Is chromium a trace essential metal?', BioFactors, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 149-162.
Stearns, Diane M. / Is chromium a trace essential metal?. In: BioFactors. 2000 ; Vol. 11, No. 3. pp. 149-162.
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