Chromium Nicotinate vs. Chromium Picolinate

Chromium Nicotinate
vs. Chromium Picolinate

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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NOTE: This post is from a highly respected manufacturer of supplements, so I will not provide the name of the author. When the information they mention is published, and the abstract is available, I will list it on this page. (See the abstract below.)

Chromium is an essential trace mineral that helps the hormone insulin to function at its full potential. Nicotinate and picolinate are two forms of chromium. Proponents of the picolinate form claim that it lowers cholesterol, burns body fat, and increases life span.

In order to evaluate scientific merit of chromium picolinate, we collaborated on a study with researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. Despite claims of fat burning and weight loss, it yielded none of these effects in overweight women. Additionally, in a direct comparison against chromium nicotinate, the picolinate source was less effective in supporting the action of insulin.

Additionally, there is some scientific evidence suggesting that chromium picolinate triggers chromosomal changes that could be a factor in carcinogenesis. While it is our conclusion that much more research would be needed to indict chromium picolinate as harmful, its scientific track record of efficacy is poor. Hence, the nicotinate form is the preferrable medium to provide added chromium to the diet.

Chromium and Exercise Training: Effect on Obese Women

FROM:   Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997 (Aug);   29 (8):   992998

Grant KE, Chandler RM, Castle AL, Ivy JL

Department of Kinesiology and Health Education,
University of Texas at Austin 78712, USA.

Chromium supplementation may affect various risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD) and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), including body weight and composition, basal plasma hormone and substrate levels, and response to an oral glucose load. This study examined the effects of chromium supplementation (400 micrograms.d-1), with or without exercise training, on these risk factors in young, obese women.

Chromium picolinate supplementation resulted in significant weight gain in this population, while exercise training combined with chromium nicotinate supplementation resulted in significant weight loss and lowered the insulin response to an oral glucose load. We conclude that high levels of chromium picolinate supplementation are contraindicated for weight loss in young, obese women. Moreover, our results suggest that exercise training combined with chromium nicotinate supplementation may be more beneficial than exercise training alone for modification of certain CAD and NIDDM risk factors.

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