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Chromium picolinate is found in a wide range of foods, including whole-grain products, processed meats, cereals, coffee, nuts, green beans, broccoli, spices, and some brands of wine and beer. Most dietary chromium comes from preparing or storing food in pans and cans made of stainless steel, which can contain up to 18% chromium.

Chromium is a metal that is utilized in dietary supplements to increase lean muscle mass, reduce carbohydrate cravings, reduce body fat, and regulate appetite. Chromium improves glucose metabolism and has also been attributed with antidepressant properties.

Chromium absorption is low with approximately 2% of ingested chromium utilized by the body and the remainder being excreted in the feces. Amino acids, vitamin C and niacin may enhance the uptake of chromium from the intestinal tract. After absorption, this metal accumulates in the liver, bone, and spleen.

Chromium deficiency is rare, though a diet high in simple sugars, which increases the excretion of the metal through urine, can contribute to its occurrence, but is common in those receiving total parenteral nutrition.