Many people these days try to take good care of their health through exercising on a regular basis, adding more whole foods to their diet, and taking the necessary nutritional supplements.
But what if your body is not able to absorb all those healthy nutrients that you are trying to offer? Studies show that adding chromium to your daily dose of supplements might help with improving the absorption of glucose and other nutrients into the cells.
Chromium belongs to the group of essential trace minerals. It supports the body’s metabolism and contributes to balancing blood sugar levels.
It does not naturally occur in the human body, but luckily, we only need a very small amount of chromium. Most people get enough of it through basic nutrition with certain foods or dietary supplements.
Chromium is naturally present in many foods like grain products, meats, nuts, fruits, vegetables, brewer’s yeast, spices, and wine. People with poor dietary habits, stress or diabetes can develop a chromium deficiency, where the body is having difficulties absorbing macronutrients into the cells.
Chromium picolinate is a form of chromium and it’s ordinarily found in dietary supplements. The supplementation of chromium picolinate is successfully being used to treat chromium deficiency and improve insulin activity.
To find out more about chromium picolinate, its benefits, what it has to do with insulin resistance, recommended dosages, and possible side effects, let’s dig in…
What is Chromium Picolinate?
Chromium picolinate is derived from chromium and picolinic acid, and it’s considered to be the most efficacious form of chromium supplementation.
Some people use it as a complementary and alternative therapy to help a chromium deficiency or to control blood sugar levels. But there are many more beneficial impacts on the body and mind. See our summary below.
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The 5 Proven Health Benefits of Chromium Picolinate
1 – Improves blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity
Multiple studies show that taking chromium supplements daily improves insulin receptor responsiveness, insulin sensitivity, and thus glucose absorption.
These effects support controlling blood sugar levels, which is why supplementing chromium picolinate can lead to health improvements, especially for people with diabetes.
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2 – Supports weight control
Because chromium picolinate plays an essential role in carbohydrate metabolism and balancing blood sugar levels, it can also support weight control. Especially when it’s combined with supplementing biotin. After all, balanced blood sugar levels will suppress feeling hungry and prevent overeating what can also help with fat loss.
The trial results demonstrate that the combination of chromium picolinate and biotin can improve glycaemic control, which is especially useful for obese people fighting overweight or individuals with type 2 diabetes.
3 – Improves cognitive function
Nutrient flow to the brain and blood circulation decreases with age, which in the end can affect cognition.
Glucose is the brain’s main “fuel”, and because chromium picolinate improves metabolism and glucose absorption into the cells, it may enhance cognitive function.
A study shows that adding 1000 mcg of chromium picolinate to daily supplementation improved cognition in older adults who were experiencing early memory decline.
4 – Assists in treating atypical depression
Atypical depression is a depressive disorder characterized by a set of symptoms that include mood swings, rejection sensitivity, weight gain, and carbohydrate cravings.
Multiple clinical trials point out that people who suffer from atypical depression or often experience strong carbohydrate cravings noticed a significant decrease of their levels and improving the symptoms of atypical depression in response to chromium picolinate.
5 – May prevent glaucoma
As people get older, the crystalline lens inside the eye loses flexibility.
Glaucoma is a disease caused by fluid retention in the eyes, which increases pressure inside the eyes.
Adding healthy amounts of chromium to basic nutrition helps in enhancing blood flow to the ciliary muscles needed for eye focusing. Thus, chromium is needed to maintain balanced intraocular pressure in the eyes and prevent glaucoma.
Possible Side Effects and Risks of Taking Chromium Picolinate
There have not been found harmful side effects or risks of chromium poisoning due to food intake.
Consuming chromium as a supplement is likely safe for most adults in medicinal amounts, and yet such side effects as mood changes, headache, insomnia may occur.
Also, large doses of chromium picolinate taken as a supplement can cause possible side effects:
- skin irritation
- kidney damage
- blood disorders
Be aware that chromium supplements can interact with certain medications, which may interfere with or enhance the effects of medicaments. Always consult your general practitioner when you are in doubt, when you are taking other medicines or when you are experiencing one of the following medical conditions:
- kidney disease;
- liver disease;
- a thyroid disorder;
- mental illness;
- an allergy to leather products; or
- if you use steroid medicine, beta-blockers, antacids, H2 blockers, insulin, corticosteroids, nicotinic acid, prostaglandin inhibitors (including ibuprofen and aspirin), proton-pump inhibitors, Synthroid.
Also, consult a specialist before adding chromium supplements to your daily routine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding a baby.
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How To Take Chromium Picolinate?
The tolerable upper intake level of chromium is not known.
However, daily adequate intake levels for chromium have been established, and your dosage will depend on the age, gender, and medical condition.
Here are the average daily recommended amounts:
Birth to 6 months
Infants 7-12 months
Children 1-3 years
Children 4-8 years
Boys 9-13 years
Girls 9-13 years
Teen boys 14-18 years
Teen girls 14-18 years
Adult men 19-50 years
Adult women 19-50 years
Adult men 51+ years
Adult women 51+ years
If you decide to use chromium picolinate, take it as recommended by your doctor or directed on the package to prevent potential side effects.
Due to limited available information about chromium’s impact on our body, no tolerable upper intake level has been set for chromium.
Taking too many chromium supplements can cause health issues. Overdose symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, and even coughing up blood.
If you think you may have overdosed, it is important to seek medical care immediately.
For more information on chromium picolinate, please, check our FAQ below:
Is chromium picolinate safe to take?
Chromium picolinate is considered safe when ingested in normal quantities, but it may cause serious kidney diseases when ingested in excess.
What is the best time for taking chromium picolinate?
Because chromium can interfere with sleep, it is advised to take it in the morning.
Is there anything I have to avoid while taking chromium picolinate?
Refrain from having in your diet foods that are high in sugar. It may interfere with the efficacy of chromium supplementation.
Does chromium suppress appetite?
Chromium picolinate may reduce cravings and appetite by impacting neurotransmitters involved in regulating eating behavior and mood.
Is chromium picolinate bad for kidneys?
Chromium may elevate the risk of renal failure or liver damage. If you have any of these diseases, do not use chromium without consulting a doctor first.
To sum up, Chromium Picolinate can play an important role for people suffering from chromium deficiency. It is proven to be essential to our body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates and other essential nutrients. Which eventually can lead to improvements in:
- Insulin response and lowering blood sugar levels
- Glucose absorption
- Weight control and carbohydrate cravings
- Cognitive function
- Atypical depression
- Cholesterol levels
- Blood flow to the eyes and prevention of glaucoma
Have you tried chromium picolinate? And did you experience the benefits of supplementing it? We would like to hear your comments and feedback.