Chromium picolinate is another popular ingredient used in many weight loss supplements. Its use is based on the fact that chromium performs an important function in metabolism.
Chromium is a rare mineral that is only present in certain types of food. The body needs only a trace amount of this mineral to work together with insulin in metabolizing carbohydrates. Interestingly, the body can only absorb less than 2.5 percent of the ingested chromium. This is where chromium picolinate comes into play. It is an alternative form of chromium that the body is able to absorb better.
Chromium picolinate is commonly used to treat chromium deficiency or as an aid in controlling blood sugar in patients with diabetes and in lowering bad cholesterol levels. In recent years, chromium picolinate has been popularly used as a weight loss supplement.
How does chromium picolinate help with weight loss?
Many weight loss supplements contain chromium picolinate. Based on early studies, it supposedly helps you burn more fat and build lean muscles. This theory was due to the fact that chromium helps in metabolizing carbohydrates which eventually could result in weight loss.
Moreover, there are also claims that chromium picolinate helps obese people manage their weight. However, there is limited research available to prove this.
Early research also shows that taking chromium while doing resistance training can help you lose body fat and weight while increasing your body mass. Unfortunately, the findings are not clear on how it happens.
Does chromium picolinate actually help you lose weight?
Due to the important role of chromium in nutrient metabolism and the possible effects on appetite, several studies were conducted to check whether it is effective for weight loss or not.
In one research that checked 9 different studies involving 622 overweight individuals, it showed that the participants were able to lose 2.4 pounds after 12-16 weeks. However, the researchers concluded that this amount is questionable and the effectiveness of chromium supplement is still unclear. Another in-depth study came with a similar conclusion.
The results of different studies only show that chromium picolinate may help with weight loss. However, the amount of excess weight you can shed may not be significant and meaningful.
Other health benefits of chromium picolinate supplements
How chromium can benefit the body remains unclear but a deficiency may lead to certain health problems which include:
- Impaired glucose tolerance – This condition also leads to reduced control of blood sugar level in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Less efficient control of cholesterol – This condition leads to a higher risk of getting atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Chromium picolinate may also help in treating or alleviating the symptoms of the following conditions:
- Alleviates the symptoms of diabetes – According to some research, taking chromium picolinate alone or with biotin may lower levels of insulin and fasting blood sugar, as well as help insulin function properly in patients with type 2 diabetes.
- Lowers the level of bad cholesterol – Some research also show that taking about 15-200 mcg of chromium per day for 6-12 weeks can lower the bad cholesterol level and the total cholesterol level in people with high cholesterol levels. Other research also suggest that taking chromium for about 7-16 months can lower the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing the good cholesterol level.
Additionally, there are also claims that chromium picolinate may help improve the following conditions patients might be suffering from, subject to further evidence:
- Age-related mental decline
- High blood sugar associated with HIV treatments
- Atypical depression
- Abnormal cholesterol levels as a result of certain medications
- Bipolar disorder
- Long-term depression
- Low blood sugar
- Metabolic syndrome
- Heart attack
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Turner’s syndrome
The safe and tolerable maximum intake for chromium is not yet known. However, the safe daily adequate intake according to WebMD is as follows:
- Men (14 to 50 years old) – 35 mcg
- Men (51 and older) – 30 mcg
- Women (19 to 50 years old) – 25 mcg
- Women (51 and older) – 20 mcg
- Pregnant women (14 to 18 years old) – 29 mcg
- Pregnant women (19 to 50 years old) – 30 mcg
- Breastfeeding women (14 to 18 years old) – 44 mcg
- Breastfeeding women (19 to 50 years old) – 45 mcg
Some of the known side effects of taking chromium supplement include vertigo, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, watery stool, mood changes and hives.
Moreover, taking large doses of chromium may lead to more serious side effects including low blood sugar, stomach problems, trouble concentrating, problems with balance or coordination, and damage to the liver and/or kidney.
Moreover, you need to take extra precautions and consult your healthcare provider before taking chromium supplements if you have any of the following conditions:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Kidney problem
- Liver disease
- Mental illness
- Allergic reaction to leather products
- Taking steroid medications
Chromium picolinate is a form of chromium that the body is able to absorb better. While this ingredient is commonly found in many weight loss supplement products, there is no sufficient evidence to prove its significant effect in weight loss.
Further studies are needed to show that taking chromium picolinate can indeed help reduce your weight at a significant level.
Aside from being used as a weight loss supplement, chromium picolinate also offers other health benefits. However, it is important to take note of its proper dosage as well as its possible side effects.
For more information on weight loss supplements read Weight Loss Pills That Really Work