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Quick Uptakes
April 28, 1999

Cancer Risk in Diet Supplement

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JAMA. 1999;281(16):1480. doi:10.1001/jama.281.16.1480-JQU90002-3-1

People who take chromium picolinate may get more than the increased muscle mass and reduced body fat that the popular dietary supplement promises.

During last month's meeting of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, Calif, researchers at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa reported on chromium picolinate as a possible carcinogen. Their work advanced research by the late Karen Wetterhahn, PhD, of Dartmouth University, who showed in laboratory experiments that chromium picolinate apparently induces cleavage of chromosomal DNA in cells. When chromium picolinate interacts with such common biochemicals as vitamin C, the Alabama researchers reported, the by-products react with oxygen to generate potent, DNA-damaging hydroxyl radicals.

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