MONDAY, Aug. 30, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The supposedly harmless chromium in popular weight-loss agents and muscle-building supplements may be converted into cancer-causing chromium inside the body, claims a study in the current issue of the Angewandte Chemie International Edition.
This Australian study contradicts the current belief that chromium (III) can't be converted into chromium (VI) in the body.
"In light of our new findings, the safety of chromium (III) compounds such as nutritional supplements or drugs should be re-examined very carefully, particularly for heavy users of the supplements, such as elite athletes," researcher Peter Lay said in a prepared statement.
Special complexes of chromium (III) have an insulin-intensifying effect and are being considered as potential drugs to treat diabetes.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has information about chromium supplements.