Types of Chromium

May 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Types of Chromium

Dr. McLeod

I have just started taking chromium that I purchased from Bio-Recovery.  On the lable it says 1 capsule contains: chromium (chromemate) 200mcg & chromium (chelavite)  200mcg.  Both names listed in brackets show as registered trademarks. I’m really just wondering if this is similar or the same formulation as what you recomend.  I ordered this chromium before finding your info. I want to try the formulation that you’ve had the most success with and if this isn’t comparible, I’d rather go out and get what you suggest.

Thank you, C

Dear C

I am familiar with Chromemate which is chromium bound (chelated) to niacin.  I have given it to patients and it is an effective preparation.  However, the niacin causes some people to feel flushed and dizzy.

I am not familiar with chromium chelavite.

The preparation I have most confidence in is Iceland Health Chromax. You can purchase it a WalMart.

Thank you for your question. Please let me know the results

Malcolm McLeod, MD

What is chromium histidinate?

April 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Types of Chromium

Chromium histidinate?


I have been taking Chromax Ultra for my chromium picolinate. At the drug store I noticed that they have changed their formulation to half chromium picolinate and half chromium histidinate. In your book you mentioned that other chromium formulations were not effective, but I don’t recall the hisidinate form being mentioned. Icelandic Health doesn’t seem to offer the regular picolinate only formula any longer. Is the new formulation effective or do I need to switch brands? Thanks!

ANSWER:Your assumption is correct. Chromium histidinate became available after publication of Lifting Your Depression.  To view this new preparation, see Iceland Health Chromax Plus.

A few words about chromium histidinate: Histidine is an essential amino acids and is found in protein-containing foods. When combined with chromium, it improves chromium’s absorption. There is some evidence that — when combined with chromium picolinate — it increases absorption, based on research conducted by research chemist Dr. Richard A. Anderson and colleagues at the USDA.

The object of Dr Anderson’s study was to find a complex of chromium that was better absorption than any of the existing forms. The research group made and tested several new complexes of chromium and gave them to three males and three females. They measured the amount of chromium excreted in their urine, the logic being that the more that is absorbed, the more excreted. They found that the greatest level of urinary chromium excretion occurred in those subject who had taken chromium histidinate.

The study was approved by the Human Nutrition Study Committee, US Department of Agriculture, and the Internal Review Board, Clinical Section of Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

The evidence is meager at this point, but I plan to take the preparation that contains both chromium picolinate and histidinate and also to recommend it to my patiens.

The difference between elemental chromium and chromium picolinate

April 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Types of Chromium

The difference between elemental chromium and chromium picolinate

Dear Dr. McLeod,

Would you please clarify the difference between elemental chromium and chromium picolinate? The label on my bottle of chromium picolinate indicates 200 mcg of elemental chromium and 1.6 mcg of chromium picolinate. Should I calculate my dosage on the basis of elemental chromium or chromium picolinate?

I am eager to read your response. Thank you.



Dear A.W.

Your question is excellent. Thank you for asking it.

Chromium picolinate is composed of 12.43% elemental chromium and ~88% picolinic acid. For example, a capsule of chromium picolinate that contains 600 mcg of elemental chromium also contains approximately 4200 mcg of picolinic acid. The precise designation for this composition would be “600 micrograms of elemental chromium combined with 4200 micrograms of picolinic acid.” Unfortunately I, and others too, have fallen into the habit of referring to such a capsule by the inaccurate and confusing shorthand as “600 mcg of chromium picolinate.”

The daily dosage of chromium, as chromium picolinate, that I recommend is between 3-5 micrograms of elemental chromium per pound of body weight.

Again, yours is an important question. I thank you for asking it. Please let me know if I have answered it clearly. If not, I’ll be happy to try again.

Malcolm McLeod, MD

What form of chromium should I take?

April 30, 2006 by  
Filed under Types of Chromium

What form of chromium should I take?

Below is an e-mail I received. It’s in red

Dear Dr. McLeod,
A family member suffers from depression and anxiety, so I am continually looking for ways to help her feel better. The drugs don’t seem to help much… and we’ve tried them all.
I have been reading some information about Chromium GTF and why some believe it is much more well absorbed than is the picolinate type of chromium. In fact, they say the GTF form is absorbed 10 to 25 times better than “inorganic chromium”. See quote below:
“Chromium is not naturally found in the body in the commonly supplemented forms such as chromium picolinate, chromium chloride, or chromium chelate. Only 1% or less of inorganic chromium is absorbed vs. 10-25% of chromium GTF.”
Would it be best to take the GTF form? If not, why not?
Thank you!

I responded as follows:

Hello B.J.,

Thank you for contacting me.

It is quite true that inorganic forms of chromium, such as chromium chloride, are very poorly absorbed. The two organic forms of chromium — chromium picolinate and chromium polynicotinate (aka GTF) — are both well absorbed. I prefer CHROMAX chromium picolinate (which is chelated with picolinic acid) over the polynicotinate preparation (chelated with niacin). Although chromium polynicotinate is well absorbed, I do not recommend it because it causes flusing, dizziness and hyperpigmentation is some patients. These undesirable side effects are caused by niacin.

Please let me know if this helps.

Malcolm McLeod, MD

Do you recommend chromium picolinate or chromium polynicotinate?

April 30, 2006 by  
Filed under Types of Chromium

Do you recommend chromium picolinate or chromium polynicotinate?

Below in italics is a question I received:

I’m curious to know if Chromium Polynicotinate GTF with the trademark ChromeMate would work for depression and Diabetes just as well as Picolinate.



Dear Jenny,
I recommend Chromax®chromium picolinate. It the best preparation of chromium, in my experience, and it has no known side effects.

Years ago, soon after I accidentally discovered chromium’s benefits in depression, I learned that there is great variation in quality among distributors of chromium products. Some chromium products didn’t work, other tasted awful and some caused a total body rash. Gradually I narrowed the two most effective preparations down to chromium picolinate and chromium polynicotinate. Both helped lift depression, gave more energy, and curbed appetite. Not long thereafter, however, I learned that chromium polynicotinate, which is chelated with niacin, can cause dizziness, I sent several patients to neurologists for dizziness and fainting, and no cause was found. I began to suspect the culprit was the niacin in chromium polynicotinate. After the patients switched from chromium polynicotinate to chromium picolinate, their dizziness disappeared. Other side effect associated with the polynicotinate chromium preparation are flushing, rashes, and skin hyperpigmentation.

In summary, both chromium picolinate and chromium polynicotinate improve insulin sensitivity and help associated symptoms, but chromium polynicotinate causes unwanted side effects. So I recommend Chromax®chromium picolinate, distributed by Nutrition 21.

What brand of chromium should I use?

April 30, 2005 by  
Filed under Types of Chromium

What brand of chromium should I use?

Q: Is any brand of chromium picolinate ok to use? I know all the research used chromax brand. Thank you in advance for answering my question, and I look forward to reading your book when it arrives. I feel I have suffered from atypical depression all my life. I had a bad experience with a high dose antidepressant (Prozac) I took 10 years ago. I don’t want to suffer anymore, but I don’t want any more prescription drug side effects

A: There is more than one good brand of chromium. There are, however, some brands that are not effective. After much trial and error, the brand that I’m most comfortable recommending, the brand that works the best, is Chromax chromium picolinate made by Nutrition 21. It has been the most extensively researched and is the brand currently being used in several major, NIH-sponsored trials. It is far less expensive than pharmaceutical drugs and it has no serious side effects.

For more information on Chromax chromium picolinate and how to order it, go to www.chromiumconnection.com and click on “About Chromax chromium picolinate.”

Good luck, and please let me know if Chromax chromium picolinate helps you.