Does Chromium Help With Weight Loss?

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    Chromium can support healthy metabolism, body composition, unlock energy from food, and maintain healthy blood sugar levels (already in normal range).

    What is Chromium?

    Chromium is a mineral used in the body to unlock energy from food. Chromium is found in many foods and can also be taken as a supplement, often as chromium picolinate.

    While research into chromium’s health effects remains ongoing, researchers have found that it does play a role in the metabolism of the macronutrients, including carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, into energy.

    Metabolism in the body consists of two key processes – catabolism and anabolism. Catabolism is the breaking down of compounds, while anabolism is using those compounds to build structures. Chromium works on the catabolism side of metabolism, helping to make sure you get the energy that’s available in the foods you eat.

    In particular, research shows that chromium can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels (already in normal range). Changes in your sleep, exercise regimen, and diet can help you manage your blood sugar. Maintaining healthy blood sugar can have many health benefits. Research shows that you can get chromium from foods like broccoli and apple but it can be challenging to get enough from food alone so supplementing can help.

    Does Chromium Aid In Weight Loss?

    While chromium doesn't have any magical weight loss properties on its own, research does show that it may help with body composition when taken as a supplement. So, how does it work? Chromium may help with maintaining blood sugar levels (already in the normal range) and maintaining healthy muscle mass and tone, two major components that can support optimal health.

    Unfortunately, as we age, muscle loss occurs along the way as a natural process. Muscles play an important role in your metabolism in addition to helping with movement and joint health. Chromium helps guide sugar from the bloodstream into muscles so that your body burns fat for fuel instead of muscle. By promoting muscle mass, your metabolism naturally becomes more efficient.

    May help with blood sugar

    Chromium with apple extract can support the body’s ability to appropriately regulate blood sugar levels already in the normal range. But why does this matter for weight loss?

    First, let’s look at how blood sugar regulation and weight management are linked. The body works best when blood sugar levels are maintained within a specific range. When blood sugar rises after a meal containing carbohydrates, the body releases a hormone to help move the sugar in our blood into the cells of the body. Inside the cells, sugar can be used either for fuel to power our daily activities or it can be stored for future use, either as glycogen or as stored fat.

    If our glycogen stores are already maxed out and we don’t need to burn all the sugar for fuel at that moment, then we are more prone to store the excess energy as body fat.

    In order to have consistent energy and a clear mind, healthy blood sugar levels are needed. Overall, chromium keeps your healthy blood sugar levels in a normal range by supporting the activity that carries glucose from your bloodstream to the cells where it can be used for energy.

    May promote balanced body composition

    Body composition is a measurement of the bones, adipose, muscles and water weight in the body. Chromium is an essential mineral that plays a role in maintaining a healthy body composition. This study shows that chromium can help promote lean muscle mass while decreasing the percentage of adipose in the body.

    Visceral fat is a type of fatty tissue found deep within the body that is used to protect the organs. Factors such as age and genetics impact how much visceral fat the body holds on to. Our bodies need some, however in excess it can become dangerous to your health. Research has shown that apple extract can help maintain a healthy percentage of visceral fat in the body. A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial found that individuals who took 600 mg of Apple extract daily experienced a significant reduction in belly fat. Visceral fat was measured three times: at baseline, 8 weeks, and 12 weeks. And at 8 weeks the reduction was significant.

    Care/of formulated a product called, “The Metabolizer” which combines the synergistic actions of both chromium and apple extract to help support a healthy metabolism, unlock energy from food, maintain muscle mass and tone, and maintain healthy blood sugar levels already in normal range.

    Chromium Food Sources

    Chromium is found in many foods, with some of the best sources being grape juice (7.5 mcg per 1 cup), brewer’s yeast, whole wheat, ham, beef, and orange juice.

    Dosages & Side Effects

    The recommended adequate intake for chromium is 25-35 mcg for adults 19-50 years old. This drops to 20-30 mcg for those 51 years or older.

    Chromium is generally considered safe even at higher amounts, with no established tolerable upper limit for the mineral. No known adverse effects are established for higher intakes of chromium from supplements or food.

    However, adequate Intakes are different from the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for many other nutrients and are used when there is insufficient evidence to establish an RDA. More research is needed to more fully unpack the role of chromium in the body and if there is a more concrete level of intake that may be best.

    So always speak to your doctor to make sure a supplement is appropriate for you.

    Should You Take Chromium Supplements?

    Chromium supplements are likely best for those who want metabolism and body composition support, as these are two of the main benefits of chromium established in research.

    Care/of’s Chromium + Apple Extract contains 200 mcg chromium per capsule in the chromium picolinate form, plus apple polyphenol extract, which has been shown in studies to support blood sugar levels already in normal range.

    Always be sure to talk to your doctor before taking supplements, especially if you are taking prescribed medications to manage pre-existing conditions.

    Is chromium the same as chromium picolinate?

    When taken as a dietary supplement, chromium needs to be bound to a substance for better absorption. Chromium picolinate is a supplemental form of chromium that is bound to the organic compound picolinic acid. It is generally considered to be more bioavailable and easily absorbed than other forms of chromium.

    The Bottom Line

    Chromium is a mineral that can aid in weight loss, maintaining blood sugar balance (already in normal range), and promote a balanced body composition as a complement to supporting foundational activities for good health, including proper nutrition, regular exercise, hydration, adequate sleep, and stress management. Current research suggests that it imparts these benefits through maintaining healthy blood sugar levels already in normal range while also promoting healthy muscle mass and tone. It is found in many foods but much higher doses can be found in supplements. While the adequate intake for most adults is set around 20-35 mcg, higher doses from supplements are also generally considered safe. The common supplemental form, chromium picolinate, is considered more absorbable than other forms and is commonly available in doses between 200 mcg to 1,000 mcg per serving.

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Victoria Peck-Gray, RD
    Freelance Contributor
    Victoria is a registered dietitian and functional nutritionist who helps people with resistant weight loss and PCOS transform their metabolic health and lose weight through a functional nutrition and lifestyle approach that addresses root causes. She is owner of her private practice, Wonderfully Made Nutrition and also leads her group metabolic coaching program for women called The 4 Method.