Chromium

(Known as Chromium chloride, Chromium)

tickMuscle Builder
tickVitamin
tickAids health
tickHormone control
tickAids definition & fat loss
tickControls appetite
tickControls carbohydrate
How does it work?
Chromium is an essential trace mineral that helps the body maintain normal blood sugar levels. Both human and animal studies show that chromium supplementation increases fat loss and promotes a gain in lean muscle tissue. Chromium is found in foods such as brewer's yeast, whole grain cereals, broccoli, prunes, and mushrooms.
Who is it used for?
According to some estimates, 9 out of 10 people in the UK consume less than the recommended amount of chromium each day. People who exercise regularly (3-6 times per week) have an even greater need for chromium, as exercise increases the loss of chromium in the urine [2]. Anyone on a low-calorie diet to maintain or reduce their weight also has an increased requirement for chromium supplementation, as chromium intake is likely to be reduced [4].
How does it work?
The primary function of chromium is to make the hormone insulin work better, helping to drive both protein and glucose into muscle cells while minimising fat storage. Since chromium helps to control insulin levels, chromium supplements also help to maintain blood sugar and cholesterol levels and control the appetite (particularly sweet cravings). Research also shows a reduction in body fat in people given 400 mcg of chromium per day for three months [1,3].

Chromium is notorious for its poor absorption by the body. Many chromium supplements are typically combined with another, more efficiently absorbed compound such as a vitamin (like niacin in polynicotinate versions) or an amino acid derivative (like picolinic acid, a derivative of tryptophan, in picolinate versions). Chromium polynicotinate, chromium picolinate and chromium chloride are the most popular forms of chromium supplement.

Of the three, chromium polynicotinate and chromium chloride have been shown to be the most effective.

In a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin examined the effect of chromium on body fat in a group of 43 overweight women [5]. Following 9 weeks of exercise training and chromium supplementation, the loss of fat was significantly greater in the chromium group compared to the women using no supplement.
How do I use it?
Chromium is effective in varying doses, with most studies showing that a daily intake of between 200-1200 mcg is neccesary for beneficial effects on fat loss and muscle growth.
What results can I expect?
When taken as part of a restricted-calorie diet and regular exercise programme, chromium will increase fat loss and reduce cravings for sweet food. When taken as part of a nutrition and training programme designed for weight gain, chromium will help to divert calories away from fat storage and towards muscle gain. Some bodybuilders also report that chromium gives them greater pumps, vascularity and muscle fullness.
What can it be combined with?
Chromium can be combined with other nutrients, such as Beta-ecdysterone and Methoxyflavone, to enhance its effect on the growth of lean muscle tissue. Some bodybuilders also combine chromium with other nutrients such as alpha-lipoic acid and vanadyl sulphate and use it before exercise or a contest to enhance vascularity and muscle hardness.

1. Kaats, G. R., Blum, K., Fisher, J.A., & Adelman, J.A. (1996). Effects of chronium picolinate supplementation on body composition: A randomized double masked, placebo controlled study. Current Therapeutic Research, 57, 747-756
2. Lefavi, R.G., Anderson, R.A., Keith, R.E., Wilson, G.D., McMillan, J.L., & Stone, M.H. (1992). Efficacy of chromium supplementation in athletes: emphasis on anabolism. International Journal of Sports Nutrition, 2, 111-122
3. Kaats, G.R., Blum, K., & Pullin, D. (1998). A randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled study of the effects of chromium picolinate supplementation on body composition: a replication and extension of a previous study. Current Therapeutic Research, 59, 379-388
4. Clarkson, P.M. (1997). Effects of exercise on chromium levels. Is supplementation required? Sports Medicine, 23, 341-349
5. Grant, K.E., Chandler, R.M., Castle, A.L., & Ivy, J.L. (1997).

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