Chromium - blood test

Definition

Chromium is a mineral that affects insulin, carbohydrate, fat, and protein levels in the body. This article discusses the test to check the amount of chromium in your blood.

Alternative Names

Serum chromium

How the test is performed

A blood sample is needed. Most of the time blood is typically drawn from a vein located on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.

How to prepare for the test

Avoid all Cr inhibitors or antagonists before this test.

How the test will feel

You may feel slight pain or a sting when the needle is inserted. You may also feel some throbbing at the site after the blood is drawn.

Why the test is performed

This test may be done to diagnose chromium poisoning or deficiency.

Normal Values

Serum chromium levels normally range from less than 0.05 up to 0.5 micrograms/milliliter (mcg/mL).

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

The example above shows the common measurement range for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.

What abnormal results mean

Increased chromium levels may result if you are overexposed to the substance. This may happen if you work in the following industries:

  • Leather tanning
  • Electroplating
  • Steel manufacturing

Decreased chromium levels only occurs in people who receive all of their nutrition by vein (total parenteral nutrition or TPN) and do not get enough chromium.

Special considerations

Test results may be altered if the sample is collected in a metal tube.

Figures

References

Mason JB. Vitamins, trace minerals, and other micronutrients. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 83.

McGuigan MA. Chronic poisoning: trace metals and others. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 21.

National Institutes of Health. Chromium. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. Available at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/chromium/ Accessed April 23, 2013.

Revision

Last reviewed 4/24/2013 by David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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