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Chromium Picolinate and Weight Loss

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Chromium Picolinate and Weight Loss

Chromium picolinate is a nutritional supplement that works to increase the efficiency of insulin to optimal levels. Gaining increased popularity in the United States, this supplement has been touted a miracle mineral, one advertised to have myriad effects including weight loss, mood enhancement, energy promotion, increase in life span, and even the prevention of acne (Krzanowski, 1996). The most common usage for chromium picolinate is as a weight loss aid; claims that this supplement can melt fat, drastically reduce appetite, and increase metabolism are rampant and account for the popularity of chromium picolinate in our diet-obsessed culture. Recently, the supplement has been marketed as a “safe alternative to steroids,” claiming to increase strength and lean muscle mass (Trent &Thieding-Cancel, 1995). Chromium picolinate is a common ingredient in many herbal weight-loss concoctions readily available for over-the-counter sale at the local drugstore or on the internet. However, because chromium picolinate is a nutritional supplement rather than a prescription drug, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannot vouch for the accuracy of advertiser’s often remarkable claims (Krzanowski, 1996). Additionally, scientific research is generally unsupportive of the weight loss claims surrounding chromium picolinate; consumers must be aware of these discrepancies when making a decision to take this or any other nutritional supplement.

what is chromium picolinate?

This popular nutritional supplement is a combination of the element chromium and picolinic acid. Chromium is a naturally-occurring mineral, trace amounts of which are found in everyday foods like meat, poultry, fish, and whole-grain breads. When foods are processed, they are stripped of natural chromium, making American diets generally very low in chromium; studies estimate an average daily chromium consumption of 33 mcg. In 1968, it was demonstrated that when animals do not receive adequate levels of chromium, insulin is not optimally effective, and damage to insulin-dependent systems can occur (Schroeder, 1968). This led the FDA to recommend a daily chromium intake of approximately 130 mcg, as infinitesimal amounts of chromium are needed to aid the transport of blood glucose across cell membranes (http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/dp_fnut/_timely/CHROMIUM.htm). Combining chromium with picolinic acid simply aids in efficient chromium absorption, and it is this combined form that is popular on the diet market today.

how does chromium picolinate work?

After eating, the human body secretes the hormone insulin. In general, the primary function of insulin is to transport glucose to the body’s cells in order to provide energy that facilitates cell functioning.
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