CRN Asserts Safety of Chromium Picolinate

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 17, 2003 - The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), one of the dietary supplement industry's leading trade associations, today reaffirmed that chromium picolinate (CP) is safe, as demonstrated by more than 30 human clinical trials and a large body of animal trials.

CRN issued the announcement in response to a study conducted in fruit flies by the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), March 17-21.

According to CRN's John Hathcock, Ph.D., vice president, scientific and international affairs, "The University of Alabama study, in which fruit flies were given high concentrations of chromium picolinate, provides no meaningful conclusions that change the weight of the strong scientific evidence for safety in humans."

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) reviewed the scientific literature on chromium picolinate and did not find any basis to set an Upper Limit (UL), meaning that there were no substantive concerns about safety of chromium at any of the levels used in relevant studies. This review included human studies of supplemental chromium (as CP) up to 1000 micrograms (mcg) per day. CRN's review of the literature, as published in Vitamin and Mineral Safety, authored by Dr. Hathcock, indicates that there are no observed adverse effects from intake of chromium up to 1000 mcg per day.

Dr. Hathcock went on to point out two of the flaws in the published article on the University of Alabama study. The discussion of the study clouded the issue of chromium picolinate safety by improper and invalid comparison with environmental forms of chromium that have clear toxicity. There is no valid comparison to be made to the food form of chromium.

Secondly, the researchers were overly credulous in their acceptance of anecdotal case reports regarding chromium picolinate. Dr. Hathcock said, "There is no pattern of effects in the anecdotal reports, and taken individually or collectively there is no discernable relationship to chromium picolinate intake."

Dr. Hathcock has more than 30 years of experience in nutrition and toxicology, including 10 years as a senior scientist with the Food and Drug Administration.

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