Today we are going to talk about a new supplement that I use in definition, in this, perhaps somewhat unknown, chromium picolinate.
It is basically a combination of chromium and picolinic acid, the former is an essential mineral needed by the body (found in meat, fish, potatoes, broccoli and wholemeal bread) and the latter helps the body absorb more chromium.
Why take chromium picolinate?
Chromium picolinate is the best source of chromium that we have.
Said essential mineral helps the body regulate insulin, which helps us deal better with glucose (gain less weight).
Consequently, this will improve the blood flow and the blood sugar levels as well.
In times of definition, chromium picolinate can be a good ally, especially in dietary changes (from volume to definition stage) as it considerably reduces appetite, so you can control your diet with extra help, especially between meals, which is initially the worst thing.
What is chromium?
It is an essential mineral, a micronutrient that is present in small amounts in some food (in the order of 1 or 2).
Chromium contributes to controlling the blood glucose and diabetes, cardiovascular health, weight and brain health.
This mineral plays an important role in the insulin regulation regarding the amount of sugar we take, it helps to balance the blood glucose, resulting in a better energy response. Chromium is related to a group of element that can improve our quality of life, longevity and heart health. This is due to its role in the metabolization of fats, protein, carbs and other nutrients.
Best sources of chromium
Among the most common sources where it can be found are:
- Whole grain cereals
- Green beans
Common symptoms of a chromium deficiency
A chromium deficiency in our body can result in the onset of some of these symptoms or trigger related pathologies:
- Appetite changes
- Weight changes
- Bad blood sugar control
- Lack of energy or fatigue
- Risk of having high cholesterol levels
- Mood swings
- Mild symptoms of anxiety
- Worse skin, bone and eye health
- Less ability to focus and a bad memory
What is chromium picolinate?
It is a combination of the chromium mineral and picolinic acid.
Even though we can combine chromium with other ingredients, it is usually combined with picolinic acid because it helps us absorb more chromium.
Chromium picolinate is sold as a food supplement and it is used to prevent a chromium deficiency. This can happen due to a bad diet, stress and aging.
In addition, chromium picolinate can help us suppress the appetite, deal with diabetes or with high cholesterol levels.
Benefits of chromium picolinate
We will now describe the many benefits of chromium picolinate in terms of improving our health:
Regulating the blood glucose
One of the most important benefits of chromium is regulating the blood sugar levels.
To do so, there is a small molecule called chromodulin, an oligopeptide (binding of the amino acids: aspartate, cysteine, glutamate and glycine). Its main function consists of enhancing the signalling of insulin receptors located in muscle cells. Insulin is a hormone released after a meal that works when there is glucose in the blood.
Consequently, the result will be a better ability to absorb glucose by the muscle tissue. Moreover, it will lower high insulin levels, apart from preventing its accumulation as fat, redirecting glucose to the adipose cell.
Improving insulin sensitivity
Chromium plays a fundamental role in the metabolism of fats and carbs in order to produce energy. Moreover, it has been studied due to its ability to prevent diabetes. Diabetic people cannot use insulin properly because their body resists insulin.
But, thanks to the positive effects of chromium picolinate, we can improve the insulin signalling while reducing the blood sugar levels.
Inside our body, the pancreas releases insulin when the glucose levels increase.
Insulin offers these glucose molecules to our body cells in order to provide them with energy.
However, a constant demand of insulin due to meals high in carbs can hinder the functioning of this organ in the long term. Consequently, it can lead to type II diabetes: the tissues will resist the effect of insulin, the pancreas will produce much less, resulting in a state of blood hyperglycemia.
Ensuring that blood sugar levels remain stable is an important part of weight loss, as too much insulin in the body often triggers a cycle of weight gain.
This is one reason why this supplement is so popular with athletes and bodybuilders or people working hard to maintain a scheduled fat loss cycle or definition phase.
Chromium picolinate can also help to lower the cholesterol and triglycerides.
Chromium picolinate can also improve our heart health according to a study published in the 2010 edition of “Pharmacological Reports”. The researchers examined the effects of chromium picolinate in an abnormal blood pressure and vascular function.
Its results show that, without altering the blood pressure markers, chromium picolinate can:
- Encourage the relaxation of the blood vessels.
- Improve the blood flow.
- Support the recovery of the heart after a heart attack.
Chromium picolinate supplements
Chromium picolinate supplementation could be considered for people whose diet isn’t very suitable, where there is a shortage of the above-mentioned sources, or because of problems with absorption of the mineral, particularly in elderly people.
The best choice when taking a chromium picolinate supplement is with a high-carbohydrate meal.
The best choice when it comes to taking a chromium picolinate supplement will be with a high carb meal. However, it is advisable to reduce the intake of simple and processed carbohydrates and use long chain or complex carbs (tubers, quinoa, whole rice, fruits and vegetables). The fiber supply is also very important, since it will help us avoid weight problems and improve our health overall.
How to take chromium picolinate
If we want to treat the most acute symptoms, we may take 600mcg daily, distributed throughout the day in smaller doses: 200mcg.
Usually, we take picolinate with those meals containing carbs due to their interaction with the glucose metabolism
We suggest consulting your doctor if you have any question regarding the interactions of chromium picolinate and other substances:
- Medicines for the thyroid syndrome
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs)
- Other supplements or plant extracts with chromium
- Vitamin C
The chromium picolinate I am currently using is: EssentialSeries chromium picolinate, which provides 200 micrograms, and can be taken up to 3 times a day, coinciding with the main meals.
- Ciubotariu D, Nechifor M, Dimitriu G. Chromium picolinate reduces morphine-dependence in rats, while increasing brain serotonin levels. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2018 Dec;50:676-683. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2018.06.025. Epub 2018 Jun 30.
- Attaran S, Yokoyama W, Pan J, Berrios JJ. Influence of extruded lentil containing high chromium nutritional yeast on the main physiological factors associated with metabolic syndrome in rodent models. Food Funct. 2018 Oct 17;9(10):5238-5244. doi: 10.1039/c8fo00612a.
- Orhan C, Tuzcu M, Deeh PBD, Sahin N, Komorowski JR, Sahin K. Organic Chromium Form Alleviates the Detrimental Effects of Heat Stress on Nutrient Digestibility and Nutrient Transporters in Laying Hens. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2018 Aug 21. doi: 10.1007/s12011-018-1485-9.