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5 Benefits of Chromium Picolinate for PCOS

Chromium picolinate has become a popular dietary supplement discussed in the PCOS community…but does it actually help PCOS? 

As a registered dietitian who has PCOS, rest assured that I’m going to answer all your questions and tell you what the research actually says about chromium supplements for PCOS. 

white pill bottle with pills coming out of it; text overlay states chromium for pcos.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. 

What is PCOS? 

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder. This condition affects approximately 6-12% of women of reproductive age in the United States. 

PCOS is associated with insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, and high androgen levels. Common symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, weight gain, acne, hair loss, and infertility. 

Unfortunately, women with PCOS are more likely to develop certain health conditions such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, gestational diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 

Learn more about what contributes to weight gain with PCOS: What Is PCOS Belly? A Dietitian’s 8 Tips To Reduce It.

What is Chromium? 

Chromium is an essential trace mineral that is naturally present in several foods and also available as a dietary supplement. Chromium appears to play a role in glucose metabolism, insulin activity, and may act as an antioxidant.

Grape juice, ham, whole grains, and beef are good sources of chromium. Although, the chromium content of foods vary depending upon soil, water, farming and manufacturing conditions. 

Benefits of Chromium for PCOS

Similar to many aspects of PCOS, we continue to need more clinical studies on dietary supplements to determine whether they can be part of an effective treatment plan for PCOS management

Nevertheless, there have been a few different studies that have found favorable effects of chromium supplementation for PCOS patients. Let’s take a look at a few of the potential benefits of chromium supplements.

infographic on the benefits of chromium for pcos.

Insulin Resistance & Testosterone Levels

Insulin resistance is present in up to 80% of those with PCOS. Impaired glucose metabolism and reduced insulin sensitivity can cause a variety of symptoms and increase testosterone levels. 

A recent systematic review found that chromium picolinate supplementation lowers body weight and body mass index (BMI). It also found that chromium supplements lowered serum insulin levels and free testosterone levels.

Learn additional steps you can take to lower testosterone levels in PCOS.

Lowers Inflammation

Chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of PCOS. 

One small randomized, placebo-controlled trial found that 200 mcg of chromium significant reductions in hs-CRP levels compared to the placebo groups. High sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels are an inflammatory marker, indicating whether or not inflammation is present (1).

For a full list of anti-inflammatory foods, grab your copy here: A Dietitian’s Anti-Inflammatory Foods List PDF.

Cholesterol Levels

Many women with PCOS also struggle with high cholesterol. Most often, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglyceride levels are elevated, while HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels are lower. 

A small randomized study found that 200 mcg of chromium picolinate significantly improved lipid profiles by reducing serum triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL levels in PCOS women (2).

How Much & Which Chromium To Take For PCOS?

Clinical studies have used a dose range between 200 to 1000 mcg of chromium picolinate supplements daily. Most PCOS studies looked at anywhere from 8 to 24 weeks of chromium supplementation. Many studies did report benefits with the lower dose of 200 mcg of chromium picolinate. 

For a 200 mcg dose of chromium picolinate, I like this brand. For higher doses of chromium picolinate, I like this brand.

It’s always important to discuss new dietary supplements with your healthcare provider to ensure that they’re a good fit for you and your unique medical needs.

different types of pills and tablets on a table.

Side Effects & Safety Information

Chromium appears to be safe to take in doses up to 1000 mcg for up to 6 months. 

Side effects are generally mild but may include: 

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Insomenia
  • Mood changes

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, consult with your healthcare provider before starting chromium supplements. 

Additionally, people with conditions affecting the liver and kidneys should use caution and discuss use with their medical doctor.


Can I take chromium picolinate and Metformin at the same time? 

There aren’t any known safety interactions between chromium picolinate and Metformin. However, since both of these can lower insulin and glucose levels, there’s an increased risk of hypoglycemia (aka low blood sugar levels) occurring. 

Can I take inositol and chromium together? 

There aren’t any known safety interactions between chromium picolinate and inositol. Some research studies have examined the combination of chromium, myo-inositol and other nutrients in women with PCOS. One study found a positive effect of this combination on menstrual cycle regularity, ovulation rates, and BMI (3). 

What’s the use of chromium in PCOS?

The use of chromium in PCOS may help to alleviate symptoms of PCOS. Chromium picolinate reduces insulin resistance, inflammation, cholesterol, free testosterone levels, and assists with weight loss. 

infographic comparing chromium vs metformin for pcos.

Is chromium better than Metformin? 

One clinical trial examined the effects of 200 mcg of chromium picolinate daily versus 1500 mg of Metformin daily in women with PCOS. It found that they both lowered fasting glucose and insulin levels similarly, however, Metformin decreased androgen levels more significantly than chromium. Overall, chromium picolinate was tolerated better with less side effects than Metformin (4).

The Bottom Line

Chromium picoline is an essential mineral that the body needs in small amounts. It’s found in foods like ham, grape juice, whole grains, and beef. It’s also available in supplement form. 

For PCOS, chromium picoline supplements may help to lower fasting glucose, insulin, cholesterol and free testosterone levels. It may also help to lower inflammation and assist with weight loss. 

Most research studies used a dosage of 200 to 1000 mcg of chromium picolinate daily. These doses appear to be safe for up to 6 months. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting new dietary supplements or changing your supplement routine. 

If you’re looking for more evidenced based information on PCOS supplements, check out The PCOS Supplement Guide

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8 Ovasitol Benefits for PCOS: A Dietitian’s Thoughts

Ashwagandha for PCOS: What You Should Know

Berberine or Inositol for PCOS? Or Both?

Disclaimer: this is for informational purposes only. It does not substitute for or replace professional medical advice. It does not diagnose, treat, or cure any medical condition including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Always consult with your healthcare provider regarding your unique medical needs.

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