USDA Researcher Comments on Safety of Chromium Picolinate: Response to United Kingdom Food Standards Agency (FSA) Advisory on Vitamins and Minerals


Dr. Richard Anderson, USDA researcher from the Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, MD comments, “Based on decades of extensive scientific research, I believe that consumers can continue to use chromium picolinate with confidence. In fact, many of those with insulin resistance are likely to benefit from chromium supplementation in the picolinate form.”

“The FSA’s attempt to raise dramatic safety concerns about chromium picolinate is alarming. I’m disappointed that this U.K. Agency has misrepresented the large body of scientific evidence that supports the safety of chromium picolinate supplementation, which is affirmed as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) in the United States.”

“There is no data to suggest that oral chromium picolinate supplementation in humans or animals has the potential to cause cancer or result in any other adverse event. The FSA suggested proposal to ban the use of chromium picolinate in manufacturing of food supplements in the U.K. is unfounded. In fact, the weight of evidence suggests that chromium as chromium picolinate has real potential to help millions of people, demonstrating consistent efficacy in supporting blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes, a disease that is reaching epidemic proportions in the U.S.”

Chromium Picolinate Safety Evidence Highlights:

• USDA research showing that chromium picolinate was safe in a 24-week animal toxicity study in which animals were dosed at chromium levels several thousand times the upper estimated safe intake for humans (Anderson, 1997).
• The National Toxicology Program, a government agency, conducted an AMES test for chromosomal aberrations and a genotoxicity test for mutagenesis with chromium picolinate and found no toxicity. These tests were performed under Environmental Protection Agency standards for evaluating toxicity of minerals (NTP-CASNO 14639-25-9). These same tests were replicated, further confirming the safety of chromium picolinate (Greenberg, 1999; Juturu, 2002).
• The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Food & Nutrition Board recently conducted a scientific review and concluded that there was no basis for setting a tolerable upper level intake (UL) for chromium (The National Academies Press, 2002)
• No adverse effects of chromium picolinate supplementation were found in 2,000 subjects who participated in 35 published clinical trials.
• More than a decade of safe use in human and animal U.S. nutrition markets with more than 10 million consumers using chromium picolinate supplements annually.

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Note: This statement is the personal belief of Dr. Richard Anderson, not the official policy of the USDA. Nutrition 21, a leading researcher and marketer of chromium picolinate distributed this statement. Dr. Anderson has no financial ties to Nutrition 21.

Sue Preziotti 646-495-3140
Stacey Antine 914-701-4567

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