Chromium Picolinate

Chromium is a mineral that the body uses in very small amounts to improve insulin activity. The function of insulin is to take sugars from the blood and store them in the body tissues (muscle) for future energy needs. For this reason, insulin is important in the growth and maintenance of muscle tissue.

WHY ATHLETES USE IT

Athletes use chromium supplements with the intent of maximizing insulin function, which would increase protein synthesis in muscle tissue. It is believed that if one could improve his or her insulin function that he or she could increase blood sugar levels in muscle tissue and develop a faster recovery from intense training.

ADVERSE EFFECTS

  • Headaches.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Nausea.

  • Diarrhea.

  • Abdominal cramping.

  • Dry mouth.

  • Seizures.

  • Mood swings.

  • Itching (Urticaria).

  • Joint pains.

  • Difficulty breathing.

  • Tachycardia (fast heart rate).

  • Hepatitis (inflammation of liver).

  • Elevated triglycerides (changes in amount of fat in blood).

  • Hypertension (elevated blood pressure).

PHARMACOLOGY

Chromium supplements typically come in tablet forms and are taken in an amount of 200 mg per day. Studies have shown no benefit to chromium supplementation in the short term. In long-term supplementation the benefits are questionable. Most physicians and scientists agree that more research needs to be completed before they can establish the benefits and risks of chromium supplementation.

PREVENTION

There is no evidence that chromium supplementation is effective in improving athletic performance. Due to a lack of evidence for its benefit and the risk of side effects it is recommended that athletes do not use chromium supplementation until further testing on long-term safety and athletic benefits are available.