Do chromium supplements help manage diabetes?

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Chromium is a nutrient that plays an important role in helping the body use insulin more efficiently, which in turn can help control blood sugar levels. Although it is popular as a supplement to improve blood sugar control in people who have prediabetes, type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. The research is still in its early stages, and there’s not yet proof that it helps treat high blood sugar.

Janis Jibrin, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Chromium is essential to enhancing the way insulin works in your body, so you'd think that supplementing with it might be a good idea. But in most studies, supplements did nothing for blood sugar. Indeed, the Food and Drug Administration has concluded that the relationship between chromium supplements and insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes is "highly uncertain." Your best strategy is to eat a varied diet, as small amounts of chromium are contained in many different types of foods. Recommended levels of the mineral are 25 micrograms (mcg) for women and 35 mcg for men up until age 50; 20 mcg for women and 30 mcg for men age 50 and above.

The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

More About this Book

The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

Bob Greene has helped millions of Americans become fit and healthy with his life-changing Best Life plan. Now, for the first time, Oprah's trusted expert on diet and fitness teams up with a leading...
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

You can take chromium supplements to temper the effects of diabetes. Taking chromium polynicotinate daily may improve how insulin works in your body, going so far as to bring prediabetics—people in the 100-125 blood sugar range—back down to healthy levels.

This content originally appeared on

Continue Learning about Minerals

Carotenoids: The Calcium Side Your Bones Crave
Carotenoids: The Calcium Side Your Bones Crave
Keep your skeleton strong and fracture-free by serving that calcium supplement with a healthy salad on the side. Salad? Yep, salad. A 4-year study fo...
Read More
What can cause high selenium levels?
Dariush Mozaffarian, MDDariush Mozaffarian, MD
The amount of selenium in foods varies widely, as it depends on the selenium content of the soil whe...
More Answers
How are minerals categorized?
Michael T. Murray, NDMichael T. Murray, ND
Minerals are classified into two categories: major and minor. This classification is determined by t...
More Answers
Selenium Keeps You Young
Selenium Keeps You Young

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.