KemTRACE® Chromium for Beef Cattle

What is chromium propionate?

Chromium propionate is an essential trace mineral that has been proven safe and effective as an animal feed additive for more than two decades. KemTRACE® Chromium, the chromium propionate product manufactured by Kemin Industries, has helped customers increase production and profitability in the swine, broiler, beef and dairy industries. KemTRACE Chromium, fed to millions of animals around the world since its introduction in 2000, is registered in more than 30 countries.

  1. Insulin stimulates glucose uptake by muscle cells. 1
  2. Readily available chromium from KemTRACE Chromium allows for increased glucose uptake by muscle cells through stabilization of the insulin receptor and subsequent upregulation of intracellular Glucose-4 transporters.
  3. Greater glucose uptake by muscle cells increases protein synthesis. 2
  4. Increased protein synthesis may result in heavier carcass weight. 2

To learn more about the mode of action for chromium propionate, click here.

Hierarchy of Needs

In a perfect world, feedlot cattle would never be under stress. However, feedlot cattle are presented with daily challenges, which impact their health and performance. Several factors negatively affect animal performance, which causes approximately $1.5 billion in losses per year due to health-related issues.3 One of the most significant factors in animal health and performance is the response to stress. Stress causes the body to redistribute nutrients to maintain and support life. The utilization of glucose by the animal's body is governed by specific hierarchical processes and is dependent on the type of stress the animal is facing.

Chromium Excretion in Response to Stress

The body stores chromium in extremely microscopic quantities (parts per billion).4 During times of stress, chromium is rapidly used and released from the body. Research conducted in humans has shown chromium is not stored in the body and is excreted during stress: "Urinary chromium excretion may increase 10-300 times in stressful situations or due to a carbohydrate-rich diet" (Table 1).5

Table 1. Chromium excretion in response to stress factors4,5,6

Basal State (no stress) 0.16 +/- 0.02
Acute Stress 0.30 +/- 0.07 (2X)
Diet Rich in Carbohydrates 0.28 +/- 0.01 (2X)

Insulin Response Versus Days on Feed

Research conducted at Ohio State University in feedlot animals demonstrated a positive correlation between days on feed and insulin response. As days on feed increased, the insulin response to the glucose tolerance test increased dramatically. Insulin response to glucose infusion was nearly double on day 111 versus day 21 (Figure 1).7 The longer cattle are on feed, the more insulin resistance increases.

This graph shows positive correlation between days on feed and insulin response with chromium

Fasted, mg/dL 95.6 96.5 0.84
Clearance, mg/min 0.93 1.17 < 0.001
Total AUC 16,143 17,365 0.02
Ins: Glc AUC 0.023 0.049 0.0002

Area under the Curve (AUC)






Figure 1. Insulin response versus days on feed

Chromium Benefits in Feed Cattle

  • Chromium propionate is a highly bioavailable, organic source of chromium that optimizes how animals process glucose
  • Chromium is recognized as an essential nutrient8
  • As an essential nutrient, chromium should be fed throughout the entire feeding period
  • Chromium acts to potentiate the action of insulin, increasing glucose availability within the cell9
  • Chromium increases the number of GLUT4s within muscle cells10
  • Additional glucose in the muscle cell provides the energy for optimizing protein synthesis, resulting in improved live performance and increased hot carcass weight (HCW)
  • Feeding levels at 450 ppb maximize additional benefit
  • KemTRACE Chromium is the only chromium source permitted by the U.S. FDA for use in cattle
  • Made in the U.S.A. and available in two product concentrations:
    • 0.04% - for use in complete diets
    • 0.4% - for use in a premix prior to inclusion in complete diets



1Weekes, T. E. C. 1991. Hormonal control of glucose metabolism. Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium of Rumen Physiology (ed. T. Tsuda, Y. Sasaki, and R. Kawashima). p.183. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.

2McGilchrist, P., et al. 2011. Whole body insulin responsiveness is higher in beef steers selected for increased muscling. Animal. 5(10):1579-1586.

3Lloyd, K. E., V. Fellner, S. J. McLeod, R. S. Fry, K. Krafka, A. Lamptey, and J. W. Spears. 2010. Effects of supplementing dairy cows with chromium propionate on milk and tissue chromium concentrations. J. Dairy Sci. 93:4774-4790.

4Kozlovsky, A., P. B. Moser, S. Reiser, and R. A. Anderson. 1986. Effects of diets high in simple sugars on urinary chromium losses. Metabolism. 35:515-518.

5Anderson, et al. 1983. Effects of Cr supplementation on urinary Cr excretion of human subjects and correlation of Cr excretion with selected clinical parameters. Nutrition. 113:276-281.

6Anderson, R. A., M. M. Polansky, R. A. Bryden, E. E. Roginski, K. Y. Patterson, and D. Reamer. 1982. Effect of exercise (running) on serum glucose, insulin, glucagon and chromium excretion. Diabetes. 31:212-216.

7Radunz, A. E., F. L. Fluharty, A. E. Relling, T. L. Felix, L. M. Shoup, H. N. Zerby, and S. C. Loerch. 2012. Prepartum dietary energy source fed to beef cows: Effects on progeny postnatal growth, glucose tolerance, and carcass consumption. J. Anim. Sci. 90:4962.

8Up to Date Recommendations for Vitamins and Trace Minerals for Dairy Cows. Bill Weiss, Ohio State University. 2017 Southwest Nutrition Conference.

9Insulin signaling and the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism. Saltiel & Kahn Nature 414, 799-806. December 13, 2001. doi:10.1038/414799a.

10Kemin Internal Document, 16-00031.

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