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From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Subject: Re: Diabetes
Date: 25 May 1995

In <> (Paul Iannone) writes:

>>Who is talking about LD50's? An excessive oral dose doesn't have to
kill you. It can block the absorption of other minerals. But I probably
stated that too strongly--toxicity isn't really an issue. Harm is a
better word. Excessive doses of chromium picolinate may harm health--we
really don't know. Since the picolinate form is better absorbed, there
is more risk of harm, however slight that risk really is.<<

   Agreed.  Though I've fed mice with 1 part in 5 million chromium (as
the picolinate) and found no weight loss or life shortening over a
lifetime.  If anything, I believe they did better (not yet sure if this
is statistical).

>Chromium toxicity itself is well known in industry (usually airborne,
>though tanners get elevated body loads from handling hides), so it isn't
>the case that --any-- form of chromium, --if absorbed--, is utterly

No, but all industrial toxicity involves Cr+6, which is a pro-oxidant,
irritant, and carcinogen.  There is no industrial Cr+3 toxicity, period.

> I would be more concerned about picolinic acid toxicity. THAT has been
>studied very little to my knowledge.

You make this stuff in your body by the tens of milligrams.  You
couldn't afford enough bound to chromium get much higher than that.
And, oh yes, mice do survive at least one meal of 1:10 pure Cr
picolinate to normal chow.  It's not accutely toxic, even in HUGE doses.
At least to mice.

> The biggest reason why chromium of any stripe is 'non-toxic' is that
>it is very poorly absorbed--most of what you take of --any-- form is

Probably.  Somebody must have done IV injection studies of the toxicity
of Cr+3, but I don't know of any off the top of my head.  It's been fed
in the diet as Cr2O3 and CrCl3 in any amount you care to name, however,
and is perfectly inert.

  >>I am not a demon for contradicting you a little. For my part, I
admit that there is very little risk with common sense doses.<<

     Yep.  I would be money there's little risk even with outrageous
doses, something I would NOT do with (say) vanadium.

                                       Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: All-natural healthcare
Date: 13 Apr 1997

In <01bc47c6$08363c00$5bc6fecd@slade> "Slade Henson" <>

>Research EVERYTHING anyone tells you. One person will tell you that
>Chromium will increase your body's ability to exert (as in weight
>lifting) but that person doesn't know that the levels of Chromium in the
>average dietary supplement is TOXIC in the long term. Research.

    If you have a "research" cite to back this statement up, I'd like
to see it.  I know of no toxicity for Cr+3 at any dose up to at least
1000 times the standard 0.2 mg (200 mcg) pills on the market.  I myself
fed mice with 100 times the RDA of chromium picolinate for a whole
lifetime, and they did fine (they didn't live longer, but they didn't
live "shorter" either).

    Vanadium, now, has some evidence for toxicity at doses not too far
from what you may find in weight lifting supplements.  But of course
it's an entirely different mineral (albeit sharing some effects with

                                         Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Reply to Dr. Steve Harris, Part 2
Date: 23 May 1998 10:29:29 GMT

In <>
(Richard A. Goodman) writes:

>Now, on the issue of your belief concerning chromium, which seems to
>be that nobody knows anything about it --One can make the meaningful
>statement that if an individual's rbc chromium level is two or more
>standard deviations below the "mean," the score calculated from the
>average of 100 healthy individuals (which is generally how the "mean"
>score is calculated), then that person is deficient in chromium.  This
>is the medical definition of "deficiency."

   Nonsense.  Try again.  In the following paper, the premier world
authority on chromium discusses the problems with trying to come up
with a valid chemical test for clinical chromium deficiency.  He
concludes there isn't one.

                                      Steve Harris, M.D.

J Nutr 1993 Apr;123(4):626-633
Chromium in human nutrition: a review.

Mertz W

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research
Center, MD 20705.

This review summarizes the results of 15 controlled studies
supplementing defined Cr(III) compounds to subjects with impaired
glucose tolerance. Three of these (3-4 mumol Cr/d for > 2 mo) produced
no beneficial effects: serum glucose, insulin and lipid concentrations
remained unchanged. The remaining 12 interventions improved the
efficiency of insulin or the blood lipid profile of subjects (ranging
from malnourished children and healthy middle-aged individuals to
insulin-requiring diabetics). In addition, three cases of
impaired glucose tolerance after long-term total parenteral
alimentation responding to Cr supplementation have been reported.
Chromium potentiates the action of insulin in vitro and in vivo;
maximal in vitro activity requires a special chemical form, termed
Glucose Tolerance Factor and tentatively identified as a Cr-nicotinic
acid complex. Its complete structural identification is a major
challenge to chromium research. The development and validation of a
procedure to diagnose chromium status is the second challenge.
Such a test would allow the assessment of incidence and severity of
deficiency in the population and the selection of deficiency in the
population and the selection of chromium-responsive individuals. The
third challenge is the definition of chromium's mode of action on
parameters of lipid metabolism that have been reported from some
studies but not others. Future research along these lines might
establish whether chromium deficiency is a factor in the much
discussed "Syndrome X" of insulin resistance.

Publication Types:
  Review of reported cases

  Comment in: J Nutr 1994 Jan;124(1):117-9

PMID: 8463863, UI: 93217574

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Reply to Dr. Steve Harris, Part 2
Date: 27 May 1998 06:35:46 GMT

In <> "Dr. Schmidt" <>

>Steven B. Harris wrote:
>>    Nonsense.  Try again.  In the following paper, the premier world
>> authority on chromium discusses the problems with trying to come up
>> with a valid chemical test for clinical chromium deficiency.  He
>> concludes there isn't one.
>>                                       Steve Harris, M.D.
>> J Nutr 1993 Apr;123(4):626-633
>> Chromium in human nutrition: a review.
>> Mertz W
> One need only do a MEDLINE search on chromium and diabetes to obtain a
> couple hundred studies, nearly all of which show a benefit of chromium
> supplementation on both insulin dependent and non-insulin dependent
> diabetics.

  Bologna.   You'll find about 6 studies in humans with very mixed
results.  What I said Mertz was the expert I wasn't kidding-- he
discovered the necessity for chromium in the diet, and has don't more
in the subject than anyone.  I don't know why told you that diabetes
was as simple chromium deficiency, but you need to try it awhile before
you understand how mild a treatment it is for most diabetics.

> Approximately 50% of each benefit from just 200 mcg of chromium
>in the Glucose Tolerance Factor form.  This figure would likely be
>higher with higher doses.

    Again, lack of real experience talking.  What are you-- some kind
of an O.D. student?  Get your nose out of the book.

>  I suspect that the studies that show no benefit used a
>non-chelated inferior form of chromium.  Chromium picolinate is not as
>effective as Chromate, some studies indicated only 1/3 as

   No, they used brewers yeast, the standard.  Do the medline search
and see.  You CAN do a medline search, I assume?

>Many so-called "experts" are hesitant to change their thinking until
>the results are so obvious they are forced to do so.   How come, Dr.
>Harris, ulcers were treated successfully by veterinarians for 30-40
>years with antibiotics before it was finally accepted by your ivory
>tower colleagues in 1994?

    How come the moon is made of green cheese?  If you think that
antibiotics were standard vet treatment for ulcers before 1994, you
deserve the ridicule you're about to get from some real vets.  The
crossposting is so they can set you straight.  You won't believe it
from me, of course.

>  I'm sure it couldn't have had anything to do with Zantac's patent
>protection running out, could it?  I guess if you want to see a good
>doctor, you should go to a vet!

   Been listening to the Dead Doctor Tape too much?  A syndrome a needs
a name.  A-versimilitudinosis or something.

>Mineral deficiencies are very likely the number one health problem in
the U.S. and other industrialized nations.  Cancer mortality was
reduced by 50% in those taking 200 mcg of selenomethionine, yet how
many M.D.'s recommend their patients take it?<

    I do.

  >>80% of Americans get inadequate amounts of magnesium in their diet
(according to the USDA), a major cause of heart attacks and strokes -as
many as 300,000 each year in the U.S. alone <<

    No evidence for that.  Sorry.

> yet docs tell their patients they get enough nutrition in their food.

   Not always.

>As far as I'm concerned, this borders on malpractice, and it's time
>for the public to take control of their own health, before your
>medical colleagues
>kill them!

    Right after they lose that 30 lbs.

                                                Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: does chromium picc. cause cancer?
Date: 6 Sep 1998 07:00:06 GMT

>about 2 years ago chromium piccolinate was a hot supplement. now it its not
>in fashion. I read somewhere that chromium was carcinogenic. any truth to


   Yes and no.  Chromium in the +6 valence form is a nasty oxidant, and
like most oxidizing things that irritating to tissues, is carcinogenic.
Chromium in the +3 form, however, is not carcinogenic or in the least
toxic (absorption problems limit its toxicity, and most forms you could
eat like mashed potatoes).  And, indeed, Cr+3 is a required nutrient.
And that's the form you find it in, in yeast, foods, and supplements
(including picolinate).  The +6 is mostly an industrial product, and
you worry about it in water from chemical and chrome plating
factories-- that kind of thing.  Not in uncontaminated foods.  Or in
stuff from health food stores.

   I once fed chromium picolinate (which is better absorbed than most
forms of Cr+3) to mice in a concentration of 1 part per thousand
chromium in the dry diet (which is about 8 parts per thousand
Cr-picolinate) for years, until they died of old age.  It didn't do a
thing to them.  Good or bad.  Which is why I haven't published the
experiment yet.  But that experiment did do its part to convince me the
stuff is pretty benign.  One part per thousand in the diet is about 750
mg Cr+3 a day for a human.  When 0.2 mg = 200 mcg Cr is the standard
supplement dose.  That's a factor of 3750, and still no sign of
toxicity.  Most impressive for a mineral.  I really don't know of any
other mineral, in fact, with as wide a nutrient dose--toxicity dose

                                          Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Chromium yeast vs. Chromium picolinate
Date: 20 Dec 1998 05:37:42 GMT

In <uymrAB6K#GA.223@upnetnews05> "Zeus" <> writes:

>Sorry to say this but I haven't seen one legitimate studying showing any
>positive effect of lean body tissue by taking chromium. Add to that, it
>is a trace mineral which is toxic in large quantities. I would recommend
>against it.

Cr+3, the biological form, is as close to being non toxic as you're
going to find for a trace mineral.  I once fed mice 1 part per 10,000
in the diet of Cr+3 as the well-absorbed picolinate for an entire
lifetime (about equivalent to 75 mg = 75,000 mcg a day or humans), and
it didn't bother them at all.  If you're looking for trace minerals to
worry about toxicity wise, look elsewhere.

                                    Steve Harris, M.D.

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Chromium Piconolate
Date: 1 Apr 1999 12:45:43 GMT

In <> Tom Matthews <> writes:

>Chromium picolinate is one of many things which are freely available in
>the US but which Health Canada (Health Protection Branch), in their
>infinite wisdom, has decided that we Canadians must be protected from.
>I haven't the foggiest notion why!

   ROFL.   I once heard because it was because chromium was a "heavy
metal."   Not in the periodic table in my universe, it isn't.  And then
there is this idea that chromium as a carcinogen.  But I'm not
proposing people take Cr(VI), which is the carcinogen, and oxidize
their gizzards.  Cr(III) is benign, even as the better-absorbed
picolinate.  Really, I'm going to have to publish that study where I
fed Cr(III) picolinate at 1:10,000 in the dry diet for years to mice.
Nothing happened. They died of old age and cancer right on schedule.
It didn't help or hurt.

   There is a paper where somebody put Cr(III) in with cells in vitro
and lot of vitamin C, and got free radicals from a Fenton-type reaction
from electrons being donated to O2 to make .O2- by the reduced Cr(II).
Which in turn caused DNA breaks.  At 100 times the concentrations of
Cr(III) you generally have in your tissues.  I don't know what
concentrations we acheived with 1:10,000 in the dry diet in our mice
(which would be for humans about 75,000 mcg a day, or 375 times the
safe and effective 200 mcg dose the Food and Nutrition Board
recommends).  But it must not have been that high <g>.  Either that, or
yet another test tube experiment doesn't really reflect what goes on in
an intact organism.  Surprise.  Intact organisms ARE better at dealing
with superoxide than cells in dishes are.  We know THAT already.

                                       Steve Harris, M.D.

From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: heavy metals
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 11:29:11 -0700

AC/DCdude17 wrote in message <>...
>    From what I know, any metal with high specific gravity are heavy
>metals.   Theres lots of hype going on about mercury and lead but I
>don't hear much about other metals.
>These the metals I know for sure they are toxic:
>Chromium oxidation # +6 (i.e. chromium trioxide)

Well, chromium doesn't have a specific gravity that greatly different
from iron or copper. It just gets lumped in more out of convenience
than anything else.

BTW, although Cr+6 is toxic in chromates, it's not soluble enough
when it occurs in CrO3 to have any measurable oral toxicity at all.
It's rather like BaSO4 (Ba2+ is horribly toxic, but only if it manages
to dissolve in water first).  In fact CrO3 was used as an inert
 dietary inert marker for food intake in a lot of
studies in the old days, because it goes right through the
animal and is easy to assay.

From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: CR Research Update
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2002 15:38:53 -0600
Message-ID: <a8t2le$8ja$>

"michaelprice" <> wrote in message news:5MKr8.2562
> The way I do the calculation is a bit different.  Taking chromium
> picolinate as my example, I note:
> Proven benefit to diabetics (hence probable benefit to pre-diabetics)
> Passed the Ames test okay, even at astronomical doses

Yep, we saw NO life span toxity signs at 100 ppm-- somewhere between 100 and
10 times average human doses.

> Side effects: rarely a transient rash and dizziness

As compared to placebo?

Like CoQ10 and folate, I can at least guess that even fairly large amounts
of chromium picolinate are safe.


From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: CR Research Update
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2002 21:32:16 -0600
Message-ID: <a8tnc2$lu9$>

"Tim" <> wrote in message
> Steve,
>   You tested a number of supplements for their effects on lifespan didn't you?
> Did you test chromium picolinate? If so what result did you get.
> Tim

No effect of Cr-picolinate at all (vs. control) on life span or weight at
100 ppm Cr+3 (as the picolinate from Nutrition 21) by weight in dry diet,
from weaning till death. Nor brewers' yeast (something like 5% of diet).
Same results for folate at 1000 ppm. And nothing for several doses of
WR-2721, nowadays a.k.a. ethiophos/Amifostine. I really should publish this
somewhere, even in abbreviated form.


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