Image: Dr Lindsay Wu with a slide used for synchrotron analysis of chromium’s effects on cells
Original Published Date: 
Monday, January 11, 2016

Concerns have been raised about the long-term use of nutritional supplements containing chromium, after researchers, supported by ARC funding, found the mineral is partially converted into a carcinogenic form when it enters cells.

Chromium is a trace mineral found primarily in two forms. Trivalent chromium (III) picolinate and a range of other chromium (III) forms are sold as nutritional supplements, while hexavalent chromium (VI) is its ‘carcinogenic cousin’.

Supplements containing chromium are consumed for the purported treatment of metabolic disorders, such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, but chromium’s mechanism of action in the body is not well understood.

Media issued by: The University of New South Wales

Photo credit: 

Image courtesy: Dan Wheelahan.