Chromium is an essential nutrient for blood glucose regulation and overall metabolism. As such, there may be a role for chromium in PCOS and acne management.
In a 2016 study, researchers found that women with PCOS who took chromium supplements had a higher chance of getting pregnant and a decrease in acne, in addition to other benefits.
This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, by Jamilian and colleagues, involved 60 women with PCOS who received either 200 mcg of chromium supplements or placebo daily for 8 weeks. At the end of the study, the prevalence of acne decreased from 20% to 3.3%, and there were also significant decreases in hirsutism, serum hs-CRP, and MDA.
The chromium group also had improvements in fertility rates, with a pregnancy rate of 16.7%, compared to just 3.3% in the placebo group. Additionally, the chromium group had a significant increase in plasma total antioxidant capacity (TAC) concentrations, which suggests the benefits of chromium in PCOS and acne.
Chromium for Adolescent PCOS and Acne
Another study looked at the effects of chromium in adolescents with PCOS (Amr & Abdel-Rahim, 2015). This study involved 35 adolescent females (14-17 years) with PCOS, who all took 1000 mcg of chromium picolinate daily for 6 months. Unfortunately, there was no control group in this study.
At the end of the 6 months of chromium supplementation, the participants had no significant improvement in body mass index, acne, or hirsutism. However, there was a decrease in the number of patients with oligo/amenorrhea (from 83% at the start down to 31% at 6 months). There was also a significant reduction in mean ovarian volume, total follicular count, and free testosterone.
In summary, there is preliminary evidence that chromium, selenium, and calcium plus vitamin D supplementation may be helpful in managing PCOS and acne. And, there is a theoretical basis for the use of zinc supplementation for PCOS and acne.