This popular supplement could cause cancer

It’s marketed as a “sugar-balance” pill to help aid weight loss and balance insulin levels for people with type 2

It’s marketed as a “sugar-balance” pill to help aid weight loss and balance insulin levels for people with type 2 diabetes, but now Australian researchers are warning that the widely available supplement chromium could cause cancer.

Researchers at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales found that when chromium picolinate enters cells in the body, part of it is converted into a cancer-causing chemical, the ABC reports.

Worryingly, there are no statistics or figures in how many people are using the supplement.

“We actually don’t know how many people take it,” UNSW research fellow Dr Lindsay Wu said. “We do know that it’s widely available in pharmacies and it is present in many multi-vitamins.”

Chromium is a trace mineral, meaning it is required in the body in minuscule amounts. According to the National Health and Medical Research Council,  25 to 35 micrograms of chromium daily is all adults require. However, some supplements contain up to 500 micrograms per tablet.

Dr Wu says, “There’s no real need to take chromium supplements. There’s no role for it in the body.

“On top of that, knowing that it turns into a cancer-causing form inside the body is quite a concern, so we’re recommending that people stop taking these supplements.”

According to WedMB, chromium is used for improving blood sugar control in people with prediabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and high blood sugar due to taking steroids.

It is also used for depression, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), lowering “bad”cholesterol, and raising “good” cholesterol in people taking heart medications called beta blockers.

University of Sydney’s Professor Peter Lay, who studies chromium biochemistry, says “I certainly wouldn’t take it. I think it’s like most supplements – there’s been poor clinical trial studies done.

“And when you look at some of the things like folates and beta-Carotene when long-term clinical trials were done, they actually increased cancer risks, not decreased cancer risks.”

According to Professor Lay it would take between 10 and 40 years for chromium-produced cancers to develop.

“The concern is people taking chromium supplements over a long period of time and people who are taking them at high concentration. Even at fairly low levels, if you’re taking it for a long time, your chromium levels will build up,” he said.

Have you been advised to take chromium supplements? Does this new research worry you?


  1. I think we should all be looking at what is in our medications and reading safety data sheets on each chemical.

    • how true is that, I just sitting thinking that I never question what the doctor tells me to take and I would not have a clue what ingredients they contained, perhaps I should be more questioning

  2. Get minerals from natural resources that are found in nutrition. By that I mean FOOD. Study the pyramid of 7 Badics Food Group and learn what they are, their functions and their benefits. In the end, you really need synthesise medications to the simplest ailments that may bug you.

  3. All supplements should be subject to the same controls as regular medications. Just because an item is sold by a health food chain or chemist doesn’t make it any safer than a prescribed drug. Both should be subject to proper rigorous testing. Vitamins and minerals are best obtained from the food you eat, in most cases.

    • Rubbish the food we eat is full of chemicals & often from overseas sprayed with chemicals.Drug company’s are making a killing with what they sell.How many people question what Doctors prescribe.We all create our own reality

    • Jan Boyle I have worked in the health industry for 30+ years, in pathology research attached to major teaching hospitals. what’s your area of expertise? If you don’t question what your doctor prescribes, that is your problem.

  4. This is very worrying and it underlines the fact that all chemicals introduced into the body for a good reason my have harmful side effects. If a doctor prescribes you a new medication do as I do and Google its name to read all about it. There is plenty of good information available if you look for it. I got my own doctor to change my medication after reading about the possible side effects of the one she prescribed.. Doctors are not infallible.

  5. Chromium 6 is pretty bad. I was listening to the scientist who worked on it, it changes from chromium 5 into 6 when taken and can cause cancer, but I need to read up on it.

  6. That’s good to know, I used to take chromium for blood sugar levels many years ago, but I agree minerals are in our food.

  7. I have taken this suppliment off and on over the years, I see it is in one of my suppliments I’m taking at present.. I’m going to re look at it now after reading this.

  8. Doesnt really seem to matter what you eat or what you take in tablet form everything is full of chemicals

    • Kathy everything is made of ‘chemicals’ including us. We are just blobs of chemicals held together by a chemical membrane (skin). ….. LOL To understand all this learn some physiology and anatomy etc.

  9. everything causes cancer lets just eat nothing drink nothing and die in fear lol

    • Funny you should mention stress Jenny, as I nursed my husband for 7 years through cancer, then I got kidney cancer. I did wonder if it was through stress, but my specialist said “no-one knows what really causes any cancer or triggers it off.”

  10. joanne  

    What about radiation I. and chemotherapy drugs. They both cause cancer is chromium worse than these

  11. Well if they had their way no vitamins or supplements would be bought by the public – and we would all be sicker then the Dr s would give us prescriptions for drugs that have killed more people than any vitamin or supplement. Drs do not study Nutrition unless you say 40 mins is study – I prefer to listen to experts when it comes to supplements. I have been a user of multi vitamins etc for years for the very reason we do not get enough nutrition from food these days, the companies are regulated otherwise they would not be approved for sale by the Govt bodies. In fact in some countries just getting vitamin C can be difficult – our good health is not what Big Pharma wants they want profits from sick people, there is no money to be made from people taking care of their own health.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *