Safety of Chromium

Trivalent Cr, the form of Cr found in foods and nutrient supplements, is one of the least toxic nutrients. The reference dose established by an expert panel of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is 350 times the upper limit of the estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intake. The newer adequate intakes are lower and would have a safety ratio of approximately 2000. The reference dose is defined as ''an estimate (with uncertainty spanning perhaps an order of magnitude) of a daily exposure to the human population, including sensitive subgroups, that is likely to be without an appreciable risk of deleterious effects over a lifetime.'' This conservative estimate of safe intake has a much larger safety factor for trivalent Cr than almost any other nutrient. The ratio of the EPA reference dose to the requirements is approximately two to five for other trace elements, such as zinc and manganese, and five to seven for selenium. Chromium in the form of both Cr chloride and Cr picolinate fed to rats at several thousand times the current adequate intake (based on body weight) resulted in no detectable signs of toxicity.

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