Chromium Picolinate Review

Chromium picolinate is a nutritional supplement and chemical compound sometimes used as an alternative treatment for type 2 diabetes. But chromium picolinate has also stirred up chatter on popular health programs regarding how it works in the body for losing weight. How effective is it really for weight loss? In this review we are looking into the NOW brand of Chromium Picolinate.

Chromium Picolinate type 2 diabetesChromium Picolinate Facts

According to Everyday Health, chromium picolinate “works with insulin in the body to metabolize carbohydrates. It's made by combining chromium with picolinic acid. The acid helps the body absorb chromium.”[1]  Many multivitamins do contain some chromium, and it is also sold as an over-the-counter supplement.

Because chromium is a trace mineral in the human body, a large dosage is not needed. According to the Institute of the National Academy of Sciences, daily intake is recommended at 200 micrograms (mcg). Unfortunately, chromium content in foods can be affected by both agricultural and processing variables, so the best science can give is general guidelines. But they do agree relatively good sources can be found in meat, whole-grain products, fruits, vegetables, and some spices. Foods high in simple sugars, in contrast, are low in chromium.[6]

Chromium deficiency in the body is rare, so the supplement has not gained support in the weight-loss world. Also, there really aren't any studies which have shown it to be particularly effective in aiding weight loss. At best, it may serve as a moderate appetite suppressant. There are also warnings: chromium picolinate should not be taken if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you have a history of liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes with insulin injections, thyroid disorder, or mental illness of any kind. Always reach out to your doctor before taking this supplement, as not all of the uses for it have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).[2]

chromium picolinate should not be taken if you have a history of liver diseaseFew serious side effects come with taking the supplement, but you may experience headaches, dizziness, sleep changes, or irritability. A total of 91 different medications have been said to interfere or lessen the effectiveness of Chromium Picolinate—and some medications may have their effects enhanced.[6]  So do check with your doctor if you are taking different medications along with it. [2]

The NOW supplement costs between $8 and $15 for 250 capsules, depending on where you purchase it.

What’s The Word?

Because this supplement can be used for a variety of reasons other than weight loss, we looked into what real customers had to say pertaining to their health and wellness overall. Some people are hypoglycemic, and took chromium picolinate to help regulate their blood sugar.  Others sought it out primarily as a weight loss aid. The results were mostly positive (84% of 313 Amazon reviews), though in a limited scope. Many specifically noted a dramatic decrease in their sugar cravings, which is essential in being able to stick with a diet and exercise program.

Matthew said, “My doctor recommended this supplement after tests showed I was having trouble regulating blood sugar levels. I have been using this product for only one week, and I see a marked difference in my energy levels. I no longer get a dramatic ‘sugar crash’ after eating something sweet, and my craving for sweets has diminished as well.”[3]

Danno said, “This supplement helped me change the way I eat, sharply reducing my cravings for things full of added sugar. Dropped 12 pounds in a month, and it hasn't been hard to keep it off.” [3]

Those who reviewed the product at 3 stars or less said that they did not see a difference in the way it made them feel. No one really spoke about any major weight loss occurring with no diet or exercise changes, but no terrible side effects were mentioned, either.

What Does Chromium Picolinate Offer?

This supplement offers blood sugar and metabolism assistance, which could result in weight loss for some individuals. But because of its ability to regulate blood sugar, it also has the ability to quell sugar and carbohydrate cravings. So while not a magic pill, it’s not snake oil, either.

Chromium Picolinate sugar cravingsAccording to LiveStrong,

A study published in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics in 2008 found that chromium picolinate supplementation helped overweight women who had carbohydrate cravings to better control their appetite and the amount of food that they ate, although it didn't lead to a significant amount of weight loss over the course of the 8-week study. Further research is necessary to verify these results, as this was a small study with only 42 participants. [4]

It is suggested that eating chromium-rich foods while consuming a high glycemic meal can help regulate the blood sugar without any supplementation. [5]

ProsCons
  • Inexpensive
  • Can Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels and Suppress Sugar Cravings.
  • No Strong Evidence Supporting Weight Loss
  • Unnecessary For Many

Natural food sources like whole grains, peanut butter, potatoes, broccoli, and prunes all contain enough chromium in a serving to be effective in the body. Many health practitioners are just recommending folks to skip the picolinate altogether and worry about getting enough chromium in the diet.

Is Chromium Picolinate Worth A Try?

Depends. If you struggle with sugar cravings, it may help. But chromium picolinate has not been proven to demonstrate itself as a true weight-loss aid. It is cheap to purchase and readily available, so you won't be out a lot of money if it doesn't work for you. Always check with your doctor and heed warnings about pre-existing condition interactions before trying any supplement.

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*Individual results will vary.