What is Chromium Picolinate?

Trivalent chromium or chromium picolinate is a form of the metal chromium and is considered an essential element for our bodies. It is a part of chromodulin in our bodies, the molecule that helps insulin perform all of its functions in the body. 

Chromium picolinate is used in several types of medications to treat the deficiency of chromium in the body. Chromium helps in controlling the levels of blood sugar in people with diabetes or prediabetes, in the weight loss process as well as to lower cholesterol levels.

Chromium picolinate is also available in the market in the form of herbal supplements. However, many of these have also been found to be contaminated with toxic drugs or metals, hence herbal supplements must be purchased from credible sources to avoid any contamination and any possible health problems that could be linked with it.

The use of this element is generally advisable only when you have consulted your doctor since chromium picolinate might be a little problematic for you if you have certain medical conditions like diabetes, thyroid, liver or kidney disease, any mental illness, during pregnancy or breastfeeding, etc. 

What are the benefits of chromium picolinate?

Without further ado, let us move on straight to the health benefits of chromium picolinate. Here you go!

  1. It might regulate blood sugar levels:

Diabetic people generally suffer from the body’s disturbing response to insulin, the hormone that helps in signaling the body to bring blood sugar into the body cells. Studies suggest that chromium supplements can help people with diabetes. Chromium is able to lower blood sugar levels as well as improve the body’s response to the hormone insulin. 

In another study, the researchers concluded that people who took chromium supplements in their diet were 27% less likely to develop diabetes as compared to those who don’t. 

However, some studies have not shown any beneficial results for people with Type 2 Diabetes.

  1. May help you lower some weight:
Chromium Picolinate

Chromium is known to improve the body’s nutrient metabolism and affect eating behavior. More research is still ongoing to conclude whether chromium picolinate is an effective weight loss supplement. 

A study conducted on obese people revealed that chromium picolinate very small amounts of weight loss in obese people after around 12 to 16 weeks. There have been some other studies as well, but all of them have been able to show very little loss in weight over a good amount of period. Some studies have even shown nil change in body composition.

Hence, the research is only limited and not very promising, when it comes to aiding weight loss.

  1. Other uses:

Chromium picolinate has shown some promising results in the prevention or treatment of some diseases like:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Heart attacks
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • High blood sugar related to steroid use
  • High blood sugar levels in patients with HIV
  • Mental illness or infirmity with increasing age
  • Turner’s syndrome

However, the use of chromium picolinate in the treatment of these diseases lacks enough evidence to give any conclusive results.

Side effects of chromium picolinate

Possible side effects linked with the consumption of chromium picolinate include:

  • Irritation in the stomach
  • Itching
  • Decreased action of insulin
  • Kidney and liver damage (rarely)
  • Arrhythmia (rarely)

A study conducted revealed that chromium picolinate could damage the genetic material of the hamster cells. Chromium supplements taken with medications that block the formation of prostaglandins (hormone-like substances), such as ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen, and aspirin, may increase the absorption of chromium in the body.

Common side effects may also include: insomnia or sleep issues, headache, or mood swings, and feeling irritability. 

How to consume chromium picolinate?

Chromium Picolinate

A doctor’s advice is highly recommended for taking any chromium supplements. You must also take care to not take any extra dosage apart from what is prescribed by your doctor or what is mentioned on the package under directions. 

Generally, the recommended dosage increases with age and is generally taken as a part of a program that includes other medications, diet, exercise, or weight regulation. 

Chromium picolinate can be easily stored at room temperature, away from heat and excess moisture.

What are the food sources of chromium picolinate?

Many foods contain the mineral chromium. However, chromium picolinate is generally found in dietary supplements. The recommended dietary reference intake (DRI) of chromium in the United States is 35 micrograms per day for adult men and 25 micrograms per day for adult women. 

Generally, whole-grain products, meat, and some fruits and vegetables are considered as good sources of chromium. Broccoli, apples, and oranges are also considered to be good chromium sources. 

However, it must be noted that the agricultural and manufacturing processes affect the levels of chromium in foods, and hence, there is no reliable data on the content of chromium in different food items. 

In all, if you consume a balanced diet with a variety of minimally processed foods, it can successfully help to keep the chromium requirements of your body fulfilled. Safety and risks involved in chromium picolinate consumption

This article would be incomplete without knowing if there are any potential health risks involved in the consumption of chromium picolinate. So, have a look!

The formation of molecules called hydroxyl radicals by the consumption of some forms of chromium, can damage the body’s DNA as well as cause other problems. Some other isolated health concerns have also been suggested to be linked with the usage. The bottom line is that the use of chromium picolinate as a dietary supplement might not be very recommendable, because of its possible health concerns as well as questionable benefits due to limited and not very promising research. 

If you want to consume it, we would suggest you consult with your health care provider, more so when you’re already on some other medications or undergoing some kind of treatment. We hope this article helps!