Chromium Picolinate

Of all the nutrients that are sold for weight loss and increases in muscle mass, I can't think of a nutrient that has had a rockier track record in the research than chromium picolinate (CP).

Traditionally, sellers of CP tend to pay attention only to the research that showed this popular supplement could help with fat loss while increasing lean body mass (LBM).

The truth be known (which is the purpose of this here section!), CP has had quite a checkered past as it relates to the effects of CP on bodyfat, muscle mass and performance in different groups of people. Early research gave glowing reports of CP and showed significant reductions in bodyfat, with increases in muscle in college age athletes given CP supplements.

However, as recently as 1987 no less than six studies showed CP supplementation - using various populations of people ranging from the old to the young who took various doses of CP - found no effects on muscle mass or bodyfat. In fact, one study found that older women (age range 54-71) given high doses of CP and put on a strength training regimen gained less muscle than the group who did not receive the supplement!

On the flip side, a more recent study looks very promising for CP as a weight loss aid. A double blind placebo controlled study of 122 over weight people, given

400mcg of CP for 90 days, lost over six pounds of bodyfat which was almost twice what the placebo group lost in bodyfat. So how do we come to grips with all the conflicting research on chromium picolinate as a product used for weight loss and increases in muscle?

The bottom line is this: it is well known diets high in sugar, exercise and other factors drain the body's stores of chromium. It is also fairly well established that a large proportion of Americans do not take in sufficient amounts of chromium in their diets and we know that much of the foods people eat have been stripped of their chromium due to modern processing techniques.

Understandably, some research shows that a large proportion of people are chromium deficient. Finally, it is well established that chromium is an essential nutrient to human health and is critical for the regulation of proper blood sugar metabolism.

So, chromium is a nutrient that we should strive to get from a good supplement and from our food. For there is no doubt that people deficient in chromium will get positive effects from ingesting chromium.

Whether or not people not deficient in chromium will get any effect from additional chromium is questionable. So, make sure to get sufficient chromium in your diet from a variety of sources (i.e., multi vitamins, whole grains, etc.), remembering, that to view any chromium supplement as a miracle fat loss supplement or muscle building/ergogenic sports aid would be premature at best.

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