Chromium supplements can contain several different forms of chromium, such as chromium nicotinate, chromium polynicotinate, chromium chloride, and the most popular, chromium picolinate.
You may have heard that chromium is needed by the body. This is true. Chromium is an essential trace mineral that aids in the action of insulin. Since insulin is one of the most important hormones involved in energy metabolism, it was thought that chromium supplementation could help with fat loss.
Sadly, there have been mixed results in studies which have examined chromium’s role as a weight loss aid. One review showed no benefit for chromium supplementation, while another reported very slight weight loss in people who took the supplement versus those who didn’t.
Most of the studies done thus far have not been conducted for a long enough period of time and have used too small a number of participants to be conclusive. Supplementation of 200-400 mcg per day is most commonly used in these studies, however dosages as high as 1000 mcg have been used.
There are some health risks in taking too much chromium. Some people may experience headaches, sleep disturbances or mood changes, while severe intolerance can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and other GI upsets.
People who take chromium-containing herbs such as horsetail and cascara, may be at a higher risk for chromium toxicity.
Bottom line: At this point in time, the research done on chromium is somewhat contradictory and therefore inconclusive. It does seem unlikely that this supplement has any dramatic effect on weight loss. Because of the risk of toxicity, large doses and/or long term supplementation is not a good idea
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