Chromium Picolinate for Cats

Learn the benefits of chromium picolinate for cats. Research finds the element is beneficial to overweight cats and those diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. The use of chromium may also help cats maintain a proper body weight, even as they age.

Foods Rich in Chromium Picolinate

Chromium picolinate is found in everything from prunes to mushrooms. Other sources include:

  • Bacon
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Cacao nibs
  • Cheese
  • Corn
  • Herbs in the thyme family
  • Peanuts and peanut butter
  • Peas
  • Raisins
  • Raw oysters
  • Red and white wine
  • Shredded wheat

It's unlikely you'll find these ingredients in cat foods, however. Therefore, supplementation is advisable in cats that are overweight or that suffer from diabetes mellitus or are at risk for obesity.

Benefits of Chromium Picolinate

Research finds that chromium aids the body in losing body fat, lowering blood sugar levels and reducing cholesterol levels. The element aids the body in regulating insulin levels, by metabolizing carbohydrates, fats and proteins properly.

Because it helps with insulin levels, diabetics find their bodies reduce their dependency on insulin injections. Studies have found that chromium is effective in humans, and therefore veterinarians have been testing the effectiveness in cats.

Proper Dosage of Chromium

Experts suggest providing a dosage of 200 micrograms of chromium picolinate once a day. In 2001, a study was performed by the University of Queensland's Companion Animal Sciences Department. They took a group of healthy 32 cats, split them up into four groups and gave each group a specific dosage of chromium:

  • 0 parts per billion
  • 150 ppb
  • 300 ppb
  • 600 ppb

After six weeks of supplementation, the cats given 300 and 600 ppb dosages had lower glucose levels than the other test groups. Following this test, it was suggested that cats at risk for obesity and diabetes be given daily supplements of chromium as a preventative measure. Many say the element aids in glucose regulation in their pet. They find insulin medications last longer and work more effectively. Because chromium does seem to change the way the body uses up glucose stores, it is important to closely monitor blood sugar levels.

Overdosing on Chromium

The US Department of Agriculture performed a test to find out if chromium was toxic in animals or humans at any level. Using lab rats and testing the level of chromium in their bloodstream and organs, the study found that it would take more than 35,000 milligrams of chromium per day before a cat might start showing adverse effects.

Tests on pigs found that those given large supplements of chromium tended to have larger litters. Whether the element would have the same effect on cats is unknown.

Contraindication for Chromium Picolinate

The one downside to daily chromium supplements is an increased risk of kidney disease. Only a small percentage of cats are at risk for developing kidney disease as a result of the increased chromium levels in their bloodstream. Cat breeds such as Siamese that have a higher risk for urinary, bladder and kidney disease should be monitored closely.

If your cat already has kidney problems, you should weigh the risks against the benefits before supplementing his diet with chromium. If you do supplement with chromium, make sure you discuss anything of concern with your veterinarian.