The history of biochemical and nutritional studies of the element is unfortunately full of twists and turns, most leading to dead ends. Chromium (Cr), as the trivalent ion, has been proposed to be an essential element, a body mass and muscle development agent, and, in the form of the most popular Cr-containing nutritional supplement, to be toxic when given orally to mammals. None of these proposals, despite significant attention in the popular media, has proven to be correct. Trivalent chromium has also been proposed as a therapeutic agent to increase insulin sensitivity and affect lipid metabolism, although a molecular mechanism for such actions has not been elucidated. Greater cooperative research interactions between nutritionists, biochemists, and chemists might have avoided the earlier issues in nutritional and biochemical Cr research and is necessary to establish the potential role of Cr as a therapeutic agent at a molecular level.
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