Can Chromium and Chromium Picolinate Cause Muscle Development

Chromium, especially in the form of chromium picolinate, has drawn the attention of some athletes. Because chromium appears to potentiate insulin activity, it has been theorized that supplemental chromium may increase amino acid uptake in skeletal muscle and promote muscle protein synthesis. This could lead to the building of more muscle. Picolinate is simply a molecule that, when bound to chromium, is touted to enhance the efficiency of chromium absorption.

Earlier reports by some researchers stated that participants taking chromium picolinate for 40 days in conjunction with weight-training programs increased their body weight. Furthermore, most of the increase in weight was attributed to lean body mass. Another research study described a slight weight reduction in chromium-picolinate supplemented football players. It was reported that these athletes became leaner as a result of a decrease in their body fat. However, other scientists challenged these studies because the methods used in these studies suffered from flaws that easily cast doubt upon the credibility of the results. More recent and better designed studies, including those published in the highly reputable research journals, failed to show beneficial effects of chromium supplementation. Furthermore, studies exploring the potential toxic effects of long-term chromium supplementation have not been completed. Some scientists also speculate that picolinate itself may unfavorably alter brain neurotransmitter levels. So at this time chromium supplementation is not recommended for muscle mass development in otherwise healthy and well nourished athletes.

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