What is chromium deficiency?

Although the body only absorbs 5% or less of chromium in the gut, chromium deficiency is rare. The risk of chromium deficiency may increase with pregnancy and lactation, strenuous exercise, and physical stress from infections or trauma. The risk of chromium deficiency also increases if the diet is also low in chromium, most commonly seen with general malnutrition or acute illness that causes a deficiency of many nutrients.

Chromium deficiency has not been reported in healthy populations, and no definitive deficiency symptoms have been established.

Common chromium deficiency symptoms:

  • Weight loss
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Reduced response to blood sugar (glucose)

What causes a chromium deficiency?

  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Diets high in refined sugars
  • Physical stress from infections and trauma

References: Harvard School of Public Health, MSD Manuals, National Institutes of Health