Chromium-Forgotten Hero ( Need of Hour)

Chromium is used in poultry diet because of its anti-stress effects, various nutritional and immune enhancing effects. Chromium propionate has beneficial impacts on metabolism of nutrient, growth performance, feed efficiency and immune health in poultry.

Chromium (Cr) is an essential mineral which was first demonstrated by Schwarz and Mertz in rats and by Jeejebhoy, et al., (1977) in humans. Cr plays a vital role in livestock and poultry production. One major role of Cr in both human and animals is its involvement in glucose metabolism.Chromium potentiates the action of Insulin and increases insulin sensitivity through its association with glucose tolerance factor, helps control appetide, hypoglycemia and protein uptake.

The Principal route by which Chromium enters the body is through digestive system.
Chromium is the most abundant mineral in the crust of the earth. Cr is one of the transition elements and found in valancies of +2, +3 and +6. Hexavalent chromium is mostly of Industrial origin and toxic. Trivalent Chromium is the most stable oxidation state in which Cr is found in living organism. Organic sources of Cr are ten times more bioavailable than inorganic sources.


  1. Effect of Metabolism and digestion of Nutrients : Chromium involved in carbohydrate,protein and lipid metabolism.Cr enhance the insulin sensitivity and reduce the plasma glucose concentration in birds. Cr acts as a cofactor of insulin activity and required for proper glucose metabolism.
  2. Growth rate and feed utilization: Supplementation of Chromium at different dose levels in poultry diet improved feed efficiency,live weight gain and carcass quality.
  3. Egg production: Dietary supplementation of Chromium in the diet of laying hen increased production performances and egg quality.
  4. Semen quality and reproductive parameters: There is significant improvement in semen quality by supplementation of chromium. The improvement in semen quality may be attributed to the antioxidant activity of chromium which maintained the integrity of cell membrane and reduced the oxidants damage.
  5. Carcass traits: Sahin et al. reported that increased supplemental chromium resulted in an increase in carcass traits of broiler chicks fed on the basal diet supplemented with chromium at levels of 200, 400, 800 and 1200 μg kg–1 diet under heat stress condition, as compared with those fed on the basal diet. Huang et al.21 reported that chromium addition increased dressing percentage and decreased abdominal fat percentage of broiler chickens exposed to heat stress in comparison with control.
  6. Antioxidant activity: Stressors and diseases can increase urinary excretion of chromium and may aggravate a marginal chromium deficiency in poultry and domestic animals. These stressors including heat stress increased production of free radicals which damage the body cells and result in increased poultry morbidity and mortality.
  7. Effect on Immune health: Chromium have different kinds of humoral and cell mediated immunomodulatory effect. Chromium propionate supplementation improved the antibody response of broiler to vaccination against RD.

Conclusion :
Chromium plays an important role in poultry nutrition, production and health as well as enhances growth performance. Chromium is also a potent hypercholesteraemic and antioxidant agent. The dietary Cr has useful impacts on feed utilization, antioxidant defence system, immune response, lean carcass quality, growth and production indices and quality of egg. Moreover, it is very helpful especially in birds exposed to heat-stress conditions. Birds fed diet enriched with Cr revealed higher doses of Cr and other trace elements compared to those without any supplementation. Beneficial impact of Cr such as lowering serum concentration of total cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose had been noticed in poultry species fed diets supplemented with chromium, indicating the positive health-effects. Poultry fed diet supplemented with chromium significantly revealed higher levels of chromium and other trace elements compared to those without any supplementation. Cr Propionate with good RBV (Relative Biological Value) is suppose to be best option in poultry & animal ration to manage stress

  • It significantly helps to maintain vaccine titres in breeders and improve FCR in layers & broilers
  • Addition of good synthetic Vit.C and quality Betaine with Chromium will give synergistic effect to manage stress

Dr Manoj Kumar Dev Sarma

Director – Bhuvana Nutribio Sciences