Today, we will deal with a new supplement that is not so popular in cutting phase: chromium picolinate. To put it briefly, it is a combination of chromium and picolinic acid. The first one is an essential mineral that our body needs (it is available in meat, fish, potato, broccoli and whole bread). On the other hand, the second one helps the body absorb more chromium.
- 1. Why take chromium picolinate?
- 2. What is chromium?
- 3. Best sources of chromium
- 4. Common symptoms of a chromium deficiency
- 5. What is chromium picolinate?
- 6. Benefits of chromium picolinate
- 7. Chromium picolinate supplements
- 8. How to take chromium picolinate
- 9. My advice
- 10. ChromeMate ®
- 11. Bibliography
- 12. Related Entries:
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.
During cutting phase, chromium picolinate can be a great ally, specially when we change the diet (bulking or cutting phase). The reason is because it reduces the appetite considerably, helping us to control the diet between meals, specially at the beginning.
What is chromium?
It is an essential mineral, a micronutrient that is present in small amounts in some food. Nevertheless, our body only needs small doses for its proper functioning and for the metabolic reactions of macronutrients: protein, fats and carbs.
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. In fact, 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
Some of the most common sources 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.
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
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.
A positive effect that results from this glycemic control is that we can improve the serotonin stability. Consequently, this will improve our mood and relieve the symptoms of depression.
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.
Making sure that the blood sugar levels are stable is an important point for weight loss. Mainly because an insulin excess in the body usually increases our weight. That is the reason why this supplement is so popular among athletes or bodybuilders, or those who work hard to lose fat or for a cutting phase.
Chromium picolinate can also help to lower the cholesterol and triglycerides. A high cholesterol is a fat excess in the bloodstream that can be accumulated in the arterial walls, causing cardiovascular problems.
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
We could consider using chromium picolinate supplementation if our diet is not very good. Either if it lacks the sources that we mentioned previously or if we have problems to absorb said mineral; the latter tends to happen to the elderly.
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 that I am currently using is: chromium picolinate by HSnessentials. It provides 200 micrograms that we can take in three servings in each of the main meals to meet our requirements.
Usually known as chromium nicotinate or chromium polynicorinate (do not confuse with chromium picolinate) is a proprietary niacin system (Vitamin B3) bound to the chromium mineral. It started to be sold in the USA in 1987.
The efficacy and safety of Chromemate® has been widely studied in order to improve the functioning of insulin. Consequently, it helps to regulate the blood sugar and cholesterol levels, the energy production and a healthy body weight. ChromeMate has proven to be 18 times more bioactive than other types of niacin-chromium products.
Benefits of ChromeMate®
When combined with physical exercise and a proper diet, ChromeMate® helps to:
- Preserve a healthy body weight, stimulating the energy metabolism
- Regulate the cholesterol levels, improving our cardiovascular health
- Contribute to the proper functioning of insulin, keeping healthy blood sugar levels
- Increase the life expectancy up to a 20%
- Protect the cells against oxidative damage (due to sugar), reducing the risk of eye injuries, renal problems and nerve damage
- Stimulate the creation of lean muscle mass
How does ChromeMate® work?
Until quite recently, chromium had not received all the attention it deserved. Thanks to Dr. Walter Mertz, now we know that this essential mineral is closely connected to the metabolism of glucose and insulin, but also to the fatty acids and muscle growth.
Chromium improves the absorption of glucose and amino acids by the cells and releases energy. In fact, insulin is the one that usually performs this task. However, it has been proven that the body does not need as much insulin if we have good chromium levels available. Moreover, those who suffer a chromium deficiency experience insulin disorders and they are more prone to developing diabetes.
By improving the functioning of insulin, the cells absorb the glucose and amino acids more quickly. Therefore, we will have more energy and materials to build muscle tissue. On the contrary, if insulin does not perform its functions properly, both elements will go back to the liver where they will be transformed into fats.
However, this does not mean that chromium can be anabolic or lipolytic on its own. Rather, there are other factors (physical exercise and balanced diet) which can support these effects.
The Chromemate® formula enhances the effect of chromium due to its niacin content. Consequently, it helps to metabolize the carbs, fats and protein to produce energy.
- 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.