Trivalent chromium, unlike the toxic hexavalent chromium, is essential to the human body.
Chromium supplements are used in small amounts to help in the regulation of blood sugar and triglycerides.
Chromium works in conjunction with magnesium to maintain insulin receptors. If these receptors “close” due to deficiencies of either chromium or magnesium the body’s insulin will not be able to utilize its own insulin. Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are examples of the cells not being sensitive to insulin.
I have posted abstracts for chromium and magnesium for blood sugar control here:
There are different forms of chromium supplements though. The best known of these supplements is chromium picolinate, which is chromium bound to picolinic acid. It gained most of its popularity when it was promoted as a multilevel marketing product.
Being the best known though does not make it the most effective. Chromium polynicotinate has been found to be 300 times more effective than chromium picolinate. Chromium polynicotinate is chromium bound to four niacin molecules. It is one of the forms of chromium classified as a glucose tolerance factor (GTF) chromium. Of the different forms of GTF chromium though, chromium polynicotinate is still the best choice.
Because of the significantly higher cost of chromium polynicotinate though it is less often seen in supplements or supplemental form. Cheaper, but less effective forms of chromium are more commonly used by manufacturers to reduce costs.
Several companies do offer chromium polynicotinate as a straight supplement including Solaray, sold under the name of ActiChrom and by Nature’s Way under the product name GTF Chromium.
Recommended dose of chromium polynicotinate is 200mcg one to three times daily with meals.