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Chromium Picolinate: A Critical Analysis of the Ergogenic Claims. By Jennifer MacWhorter for HE 426 Sports & Exercise Nutrition. Classification & Usage. Cr(pic)3 is the combination of the essential trace mineral chromium and picolinic acid.

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chromium picolinate a critical analysis of the ergogenic claims

Chromium Picolinate:A Critical Analysis of the Ergogenic Claims

By

Jennifer MacWhorter

for

HE 426 Sports & Exercise Nutrition

classification usage
Classification & Usage
  • Cr(pic)3 is the combination of the essential trace mineral chromium and picolinic acid.
    • Picolinic acid increases absorption rate from .5-2% to 2-5%.

Vincent, John B. (2003). The Potential Value and Toxicity of Chromium Picolinate as a Nutritional Supplement, Weight Loss Agent and Muscle Development Agent {Electronic Version}. Sports Med, 33 (3), 213-230

classification usage1
Classification & Usage
  • Daily adequate intake for chromium is 35mcg (males) and 25mcg (females).
    • Naturally found in brewers yeast, whole grains, nuts, cheese, beer, and mushrooms
  • The more processed food is, the less chromium it will contain.

Williams, Melvin H. (2005). Nutrition for Health, Fitness, & Sport. Boston: McGraw-Hill

classification usage2
Classification & Usage

Cr(pic)3 works with insulin to metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Supplementation can help increase insulin production and improve body composition. Low levels of insulin can lead to insulin resistance, with an increased risk for diabetes, cardiovascular complications and obesity.

classification usage3
Classification & Usage
  • Cr(pic)3 from GNC costs between $7.99-$14.99 for 90 capsules of 500 mcg.
    • Recommended dose of up to 1000 mcg/day
    • 1 years worth would cost ~$120
  • 10 million Americans consume more than $150 million in chromium supplements each year.
performance factor
Performance Factor
  • Claims
    • Appetite suppressant
      • Leads to weight and fat loss
    • Increases efficiency of insulin
      • Promotes insulin transfer of glucose from bloodstream to cells, creating more energy
        • Extra energy may increase the production of serotonin, which will subsequently reduce appetite

Allen, Amanda (2003). Chromium Picolinate and Weight Loss. Retrieved Feburary 11, 2006, from www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/health_psychology/chromiumpicolinate.htm

performance factor1
Performance factor
  • Targeted populations
    • Elderly
      • Less chromium is absorbed as humans age
    • Athletes
      • When stress is placed upon body more chromium is excreted. Endurance/strength type exercise may lead to lower levels in the body.
effectiveness
Effectiveness
  • Cr(pic)3 claims to improve insulin sensitivity
    • Useful only if diet is lacking in chromium
      • Diets lacking in chromium may cause Type 2 diabetes
      • The addition of chromium may help reverse the onset of Type 2 diabetes

If there is no shortage of chromium, will supplementation be useful???

effectiveness1
Effectiveness

40 people with impaired glucose tolerance took either a placebo or 400 mcgs twice daily of Cr(pic)3. Effects were measured on glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and lipids. No benefits were gained from the supplementation.

  • Shows that the addition of Cr(pic)3 does not improve insulin sensitivity unless the person is already deficient in chromium.

Gunton, Jenny E., Cheung, N. Wah. Hitchman, R., Hamms,G. O’Sullivan, C., Foster-Powell, K., & McElduff, A. (2005). Chromium Supplementation Does Not Improve Glucose Tolerance, Insulin Sensitivity, or Lipid Profile {Electronic Version}. Diabetes Care, 28, 712-713.

effectiveness2
Effectiveness
  • Cr(pic)3 claims to decrease fat mass and increase lean body mass
    • This would depend on how insulin is affected by chromium supplementation.
effectiveness3
Effectiveness
  • Wrestlers were given 200 mcg of Cr(pic)3 daily for 14 weeks.
    • Double blind, placebo-controlled study
    • Measurements were taken from underwater weighing, skin folds, and body circumferences
  • No effect was found on body mass, lean body mass, percentage body fat, fat mass, or strength

Vincent, John B. (2003). The Potential Value and Toxicity of Chromium Picolinate as a Nutritional Supplement, Weight Loss Agent and Muscle Development Agent {Electronic Version}. Sports Med, 33 (3), 213-230

effectiveness4
Effectiveness

40 day study involving 18-21 year old males half of which were receiving 200 mcg of Cr(pic)3 daily.

  • Participants engaged in two, 40 minute exercise periods a week
  • Body composition measured by the thickness of skin folds and bicep and calf circumferences.
effectiveness5
Participants receiving supplement

average 2.2 kg body mass

average 1.6 lean body mass

No change in body fat

Participants not receiving supplement

average 1.25 kg body mass

average .04 kg lean body mass

average 1.1% body fat

Effectiveness
effectiveness6
Effectiveness
  • Any studies done that promote the use of Cr(pic)3 as a fat burner and muscle builder were unable to produce similar results in repeated, more controlled studies.
    • Measurements would be taken in ways that inadequately measure the affects (skin fold and circumference) vs. more accurate measurements (underwater weighing, dual x-ray absorptiometry, magnetic resonance).
safety
Safety
  • Generally thought to be safe in recommended doses.
  • Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells were found to develop cleavage of chromosomes.
    • Used unpurified Cr(pic)3
  • No conclusive studies done on humans
safety1
Safety
  • Long term studies on safe levels of Cr(pic)3 still need to be done
    • People supplementing usually take amounts well over the RDA. The effects of taking such an increased amount have not been studied effectively enough to know how it affects the human body.
safety2
Safety
  • Reported effects
    • Anemia
    • Renal failure
    • Liver dysfunction
    • Hypoglycemia
    • Acute, short-lasting cognitive, perceptual and motor changes
safety3
Safety
  • Overdose amount not yet known
    • Over a thousand times the adequate daily intake will cause no immediate danger
  • Levels are measured by hair or blood samples, no quick tests are available to assess levels
ethical legal issues
Ethical & Legal Issues
  • Cr(pic)3 is a legal supplement in the United States and there are no negative ethical issues with regard to safety.
recommendation
Recommendation
  • Recommend use only if showing early signs of Type 2 diabetes.
    • First try to naturally increase levels by changing diet.
  • Not recommended as a weight loss aid or to increase lean body mass
    • No conclusive studies done to support use