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Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Chromium, a mineral supplement and essential trace element.

Warning 1 - Ascorbic acid: Both chromium and ascorbic acid absorption are increased when these are taken concurrently.

Warning 2 - Iron salts: Iron salts decrease chromium absorption when taken concurrently.

Warning 3- Zinc: Zinc decreases the absorption of chromium when taken concurrently.

Warning 4 - Diabetes: Chromium supplements might lower blood sugar levels too much if used with diabetes medications. The dosage of drugs used to treat diabetes may require dosage adjustments so talk to your doctor first.

Warning 5 - Chromate/leather contact allergy: People with chromate or leather contact allergies may have an allergic reaction to chromium supplements. Symptoms include swelling, redness, and scaling of the skin.

Warning 6 - Levothyroxine (Synthroid): Taking a chromium supplement may decrease the body's absorption of levothyroxine, which could make levothyroxine less effective. Experts recommend avoiding this interaction by taking levothyroxine (Synthroid) 30 minutes before or 3-4 hours after taking chromium.

Warning 7 - NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs interact with chromium and might increase chromium levels in the body, which could increase the risk of adverse effects. Experts recommend avoiding the use of chromium supplements and NSAIDs at the same time. Drugs in the NSAID class include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, others), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn), indomethacin (Indocin), piroxicam (Feldene), aspirin, and others.

Warning 8 - Behavioral or psychiatric conditions: There is a possibility that chromium might affect brain chemistry, which might make depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia worse. If you have one of these conditions, talk to your doctor before using a chromium supplement.

Used as a natural health remedy: chromium is used internally for the following benefits and conditions:
  • Current research suggests that chromium supplements might improve sugar and fat metabolism problems in people with Turner's syndrome.
  • Decreasing body fat
  • Depression
  • Improve athletic performance
  • Improving blood sugar control in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes as a result of steroid treatment.
  • Increase energy
  • Increase muscle tone
  • Lowering "bad" cholesterol and raising "good" cholesterol in people taking heart medications called beta-blockers.
  • Prevent heart attack. A low level of chromium in the toenails seems to be linked to a higher risk for heart attack. More research is required to determine if chromium supplements might lower this risk.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • To compensate high blood sugar due to taking steroids
  • Weight loss

Side Effects of Chromium

The known side effects of using Chromium include:
  1. Skin irritation
  2. Headaches
  3. Dizziness
  4. Nausea
  5. Mood changes
  6. Impaired thinking or judgment
  7. Impaired coordination
Other side effects may also occur when using Chromium. (See form below) High doses of chromium have been linked to serious side effects including blood disorders, liver and kidney damage but no cause-effect relationship has been established.

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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright 2011-2012 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a layman's report on Chromium and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.
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