The Benefits of Chromium Picolinate

and the

Dangers of Chromium Picolinate

Minerals and Vitamins

Before we delve into the benefits of chromium picolinate as well as the dangers of chromium picolinate, let's briefly discuss what chromium is and why it is needed.

What is Chromium?

Why is it needed?

Chromium is an essential trace mineral that is needed for normal sugar metabolism. It is a component of a compound called glucose tolerance factor (GTF), which works closely with insulin facilitating the uptake of glucose into cells where it can be used to generate energy. Without the mineral chromium, insulin's action is blocked and blood sugar levels are elevated. Chromium's key responsibility or should we say – 'key beneficial effect' is to help insulin work properly.

In addition, chromium is necessary for the breakdown of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

Needless to say, the body needs chromium for normal growth and health. As such, people who have a need for more chromium or are unable to get enough chromium in their regular diet, chromium supplements may be necessary. In fact, some experts claim that as many as 90% of American diets are low in chromium. In addition, those at risk for chromium deficiency include the elderly and people with diabetes.

Low chromium levels can increase blood sugar, cholesterol, as well as triglycerides (a type of fat) levels and increase the risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Other Benefits of Chromium Picolinate

Chromium supplementation may be helpful for the following conditions:

  • Diabetes- A number of clinical studies have shown that supplementation with chromium picolinate helps improve insulin function and blood sugar control in people with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

  • Hypoglycemia – There is some evidence that suggests that correcting a chromium deficiency through chromium supplementation can improve hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

  • Cholesterol and Triglycerides - Chromium picolinate and other forms of chromium appears to have a mild cholesterol-lowering effect. These findings are based on a handful of clinical trials. Further research is needed on whether or not chromium may be useful in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

  • Weight Loss and Muscle Building - Perhaps one of the most popular uses of chromium picolinate is as a weight loss and muscle-building aid. However, more research is needed to determine the possible benefits of chromium picolinate and weight loss.

    In short, results have been mixed: some people taking chromium picolinate lost weight and had an increase in muscle mass, while for others, the benefits of chromium picolinate as a weight loss aid did not seem to have any effect. There is no substantial documented evidence at this time.

    Some other purported benefits of chromium picolinate and other forms of chromium include: appetite suppression and heart disease prevention.

    So, what's the bottom line about chromium picolinate and other forms of chromium supplementation?

    More large studies are needed so we can know with more certainty whether the health benefits of chromium picolinate or any other forms of chromium supplementation are valid for the aforementioned health conditions and/or other purported claims.

    What is Chromium Picolinate?

    Chromium supplements are available in several forms like chromium polynicotinate, chromium chloride, chromium-enriched yeast, and chromium picolinate (chromium chelated with picolinate, a naturally occurring amino acid metabolite).

    While it may be only natural that each form be touted by their respective suppliers as being superior or best absorbed thus providing you with the greatest benefit -- and although this is often true for other supplements, in the case of chromium, there is no firm evidence to indicate that one form such as chromium picolinate is a significantly better choice than the other. Therefore, keep this in mind about the aforementioned possible health benefits of chromium picolinate.

    Dangers of Chromium Picolinate

    While the benefits of chromium picolinate may be substantial, it's always prudent to investigate the side effects of any supplement before you take it, and chromium is no different. So, without further adieu, let's move on to the dangers of chromium picolinate and other forms of chromium.

    Some laboratory studies have shown that chromium picolinate could damage genetic material in animal cells and, as such, would suggest that it might have cancer- causing ability. Although research is limited, this certainly raises concerns about chromium picolinate and cancer risks. In short, more studies are needed to validate this claim and, if so, would it apply to humans.

    If you have diabetes, consult your physician before taking chromium supplements; it may interact with insulin and other medications prescribed and, as such, you should be monitored by a physician.

    There is little known about toxic effects of large doses in the form of chromium supplements and food. There have been rare reports of fast, irregular heart rhythms and liver dysfunction, but these dangers of chromium were associated with very large dosages. In addition, two cases of kidney damage have been reported from the use of chromium picolinate supplements. Some experts claim dosages at 1,000 micrograms and lower appear to be very safe and nontoxic.

    You should always consult your physician before taking chromium picolinate or any other supplement.

    If you are interested in a product to serve as a foundation for vibrant health we highly recommend Total Balance from a company located in New Zealand.

    Total Balance contains a full spectrum of over 70 nutrients including chromium, along with vitamins, other minerals, amino acids, specialty nutrients, potent antioxidants, and many other herbal extracts.

    We hope this webpage discussing the benefits and dangers of chromium picolinate were useful to you.

    To Your Health!

    The Editors


    More than the benefits of chromium picolinate at our mineral supplements page.

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