Chromium Picolinate for Weight Loss: How to Use Effectively
Chromium picolinate supplements have long been used by bodybuilders as a weight loss aid, and primarily work as an appetite suppressant. Still, many people do not realize the supplement may have some long-term side effects, and in some cases, may even cause cancer. Taking any form of synthetic or herbal diet supplements poses a number of health risks, especially since most are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration and do not always go through a series of clinical trials.
Is there a way to use chromium picolinate safely and effectively?
Why People Take Chromium Picolinate Supplements
The key reason to take chromium picolinate supplements is to support the conversion of carbohydrates and fat into energy, and some studies suggest that it may also help to keep blood sugar levels in check. Making sure blood sugar levels are steady is an important part of losing weight, since too much insulin in the body often triggers a weight gain cycle. This is one reason why the supplement is so popular with bodybuilders; most work hard to maintain a scheduled fat loss cycle where they must keep their body’s in a particular zone in order to lose weight. Chromium picolinate is often used to keep the body balanced during this weight loss cycle.
Chromium Picolinate supplements offer an additional benefit of suppressing the appetite. This can make it easier to stick with a low-calorie diet for longer periods of time, with an end result of weight loss. Some people believe that the supplement can help to burn fat and calories on its own, but there is little scientific evidence or proof to support these claims; still, many diet drug manufacturers continue to include the supplement in their formulas and market it as a magical weight loss ingredient.
How Can Chromium Picolinate Be Dangerous When It’s Already Found in Food?
Chromium is found in many foods including chicken, turkey, fish, red meat, and whole-grain breads. Only a very small amount of chromium is required for optimum health- just 130mcg each day- but some people who have difficulty absorbing minerals and vitamins from food may take a chromium picolinate supplement to support their health.
However, excess chromium in the cells can lead to a number of health problems, and ongoing use can lead to significant negative effects in the long run. Since chromium can simply stay ‘stuck’ in cells after absorption, it can create significant damage to healthy cells; this may lead to problems with the immune system, poor cell regeneration, unhealthy skin, and a variety of health problems that take place at the cellular level.
Liver and kidney problems are also cause for concern; the daily dose of chromium picolinate should not exceed 1200 mcg, as any more can lead to toxicity.
Bottom Line: There is still very little proof that chromium picolinate has a positive effect on weight loss, and even less evidence that it has any intrinsic fat burning properties at all. Still, many bodybuilders and dieters continue to take large amounts of it in the form of tablets. Long-term risks have not been studied extensively, and women who are pregnant or nursing should not take the supplements as they do put themselves at risk for poor health.
Supplements are not necessarily the answer to ongoing fat loss, and in most cases, a fat loss cycle can be triggered by eating healthy meals and snacks throughout the day, and maintaining a consistent exercise schedule.