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What You Should Know Before Taking Chromium Picolinate

The ultimate goal of taking a dietary supplement is to boost vitality, limit the sign of aging, extend life, cut the chances of chronic disease, and so on. Nearly a third of the people in the United States take some form of dietary supplement daily. Chromium picolinate is one of those supplements.

When chromium picolinate was first introduced, it was sold primarily as a nutritional alternative to prevent or treat chromium deficiency. However, it turned out to be more useful than that.

For example, it has been suggested that chromium picolinate helps reduce blood sugar levels.[1] And this notion, although still under investigation, has gotten more and more popular over time.

In 2006, a series of published clinical trials involving 1,690 subjects with diabetes reported significant improvement in at least one outcome of glycemic control. The data revealed that supplementation with chromium picolinate for people with type 2 diabetes results in substantial reductions in hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia – reducing the risk for complications related to the disease.[2]


Chromium Picolinate for Weight-loss and Muscle-Building

Although it is widely believed that chromium picolinate may work for people who want to lose weight, many studies suggest otherwise. In a 2010 study performed at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, 80 overweight adults took either 1000 micrograms of chromium picolinate or a placebo for 24 weeks.  The study concluded that supplementation of 1000 micrograms of chromium picolinate alone (coupled with nutritional education) did not affect weight loss in this study of overweight adults.[3]

Although these studies are ongoing, overweight individuals seeking a magic weight loss supplement should be advised before adhering to the claims of supplement companies. Any health minded individual should research what they put into their bodies.

Some supplement companies would have you believe chromium picolinate is a great aid in developing an athletic physique or as a means to shed extra pounds. However, a growing number of studies have failed to demonstrate the significant effect of chromium picolinate on either muscle growth or fat loss. Rather, there a growing number of studies pointing to the negative effects of chromium picolinate.

Vincent JB at the Department of Chemistry and Coalition for Biomolecular Products at The University of Alabama stated:

[…] over a decade of human studies with [chromium picolinate] indicate that the supplement has not demonstrated effects on the body composition of healthy individuals, even when taken in combination with an exercise training program… [chromium picolinate] probably generates oxidative damage of DNA and lipids and is mutagenic…[4]


Before Taking Chromium Picolinate

Many researchers believe chromium supplements may have no benefits unless you are deficient in the mineral to begin with. How many of us are truly deficient in this mineral is a question yet to be answered; studies are ongoing.

Today, many grocery stores and pharmacies have a healthy inventory of chromium picolinate. There are literally hundreds of companies manufacturing this supplement – each claiming to be better than the competition. My advice to you is to check before buying any supplement. A few questions to ask are:

1)      What goes into the manufacturing of these supplements?

2)      Is the company reputable?

3)      Is there any reliable, easily accessible information available about the company (i.e. the company website)?

4)      Does the company have a proven track record of positive customer reviews? (Never discount the customer reviews!)

Advancements in science and technology continue to grow exponentially by the second. As new research continually surfaces, there will always be more information to back up a company’s claims. Taking the aforementioned into consideration, it is advisable before you try chromium picolinate (or any other supplement), that you first consult with your physician.



[1] Clinical studies on chromium picolinate supplementation in diabetes mellitus–a review.

[2] Clinical studies on chromium picolinate supplementation in diabetes mellitus–a review.

[3] A pilot study of chromium picolinate for weight loss.

[4] The potential value and toxicity of chromium picolinate as a nutritional supplement, weight loss agent and muscle development agent.

[5] Oral chromium picolinate improves carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and enhances skeletal muscle Glut-4 translocation in obese, hyperinsulinemic (JCR-LA corpulent) rats.