Though chromium as a naturally occurring element found in foods has a natural function in the body, the chromium picolinate supplement is primarily promoted and used to aid the weight loss process. Advertisers claim that chromium picolinate melts fat, shrinks your appetite, increases metabolism and reduces cravings [source: Women Fitness].
The role of chromium picolinate in the weight loss process has always been a dubious one. Back in 1996, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had to submit a settlement against three California-based companies that were spreading unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of chromium picolinate. These companies stood behind their claims about chromium picolinate and weight loss, even though the facts were not verified. Some examples of the benefits they asserted were that chromium burned fat, caused weight loss, boosted muscle mass and lowered cholesterol [source: FTC].
Fitting with the FTC's complaint against the three California companies marketing chromium picolinate, scientific research has not been able to support the claims that chromium picolinate helps people lose weight. Several studies conducted during the late 1990s, when chromium picolinate really started to soar in popularity, indicate that chromium picolinate does not contribute to more lean muscle or decreased fat in the body [source: Allen].
For more information about chromium picolinate and other supplements, check out the links below. And remember, it's a good idea talk to your doctor before starting a chromium picolinate -- or any supplement -- regimen.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Allen, Amanda. "Chromium Picolinate and Weight Loss." Vanderbilt University Psychology Department. (Accessed 3/6/09) http://www.vanderbilt.edu/ans/psychology/health_psychology/chromiumpicolinate.htm
- Any Vitamins. "Chromium Information Page." Salamander Concepts. (Accessed 3/6/09) http://www.anyvitamins.com/chromium-info.htm
- Body Building for You. "Chromium Picolinate Weight Loss and Side Effects." (Accessed 3/6/09) http://www.bodybuildingforyou.com/weight-loss-etc/chromium-picolinate-information.htm
- Drugs. "Chromium Picolinate." Drugs.com (Accessed 3/6/09) http://www.drugs.com/cdi/chromium-picolinate.html
- FTC. "Chromium Picolinate Cases." November 7, 1996. (Accessed 3/6/09) http://www.ftc.gov/opa/1996/11/nut-21.shtm
- Healthline. "Chromium Picolinate." Healthline Networks, Inc. (Accessed 3/6/09) http://www.healthline.com/multumcontent/chromium-picolinate
- Larsen, Joanne. "Chromium." (Accessed 3/6/09) http://www.dietitian.com/chromium.html
- Merck. "Chromium Picolinate." November, 2005.(Accessed 3/6/09) http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec22/ch331/ch331e.html
- NCBI. "Effects of chromium picolinate on body composition." PubMed.gov. December, 1995. (Accessed 3/6/09) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8776075
- UC Berkeley Wellness Letter. "Chromium." (Accessed 3/6/09) http://www.wellnessletter.com/html/ds/dsChromium.php
- Women Fitness. "Chromium Picolinate." (Accessed 3/6/09) http://www.womenfitness.net/chromium_picolinate.htm