Chromium Picolinate


Chromium picolinate is a bright red solid that is the chromium (III) salt of picolinic acid. Small quantities of chromium are needed for glucose utilization by insulin in normal health, but deficiency is rare in developed nations.  The compositions are useful for supplementing dietary chromium, lowering blood glucose levels, lowering serum lipid levels and increasing lean body mass.


Chromium(III) picolinate


The Food and Nutrition Board of the Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences has recommended the following Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for zinc.

Age (years) RDA
Birth - 6 months 10mcg-40mcg
6 months - 12month 20mcg-60mcg
1 - 10 years 30mcg-150mcg
11 - 18 years 100mcg-200mcg
18 years +200mcg+
Pregnant and Lactation +50mcg
Therapeutic Range: 200mcg -3,000mcg+

Picolinic acid as a delivery form of Chromium

In order for minerals in food to be utilized within the cells of the body, they must first be extracted from food, carried through the intestinal membranes, transported in the blood stream, and finally carried through the cell membrane to the interior cellular mechanisms. There are several barriers to this process. The most difficult being the intestinal wall. The cells that line the intestinal wall present a negative charge on the membrane surface. Minerals that have been dissolved in the digestive fluid which have lost their neutrality and have become positively charged will be attracted to the membrane and held tightly. In this instance, the minerals will not be allowed to pass through, and will remain held to the wall until another secretion cleanses them away. A process called chelation accomplishes this feat for some of the minerals, while for others the electrical charge attraction is as strong. Chelators are organic molecules that have their electrical charges arranged in such a way as to attract the positively charged mineral and temporarily tuck the mineral into a larger complex. Thus, with the mineral ion’s positive charge shielded by the large chelator molecule, the complex appears to be neutral or negatively charged and will not be held by the membrane as it passes through.

Picolinic acid is the body’s prime natural chelator. There is an important reason for the body to construct this molecule. It is the most efficient chelator for minerals such as chromium, zinc, manganese, copper, iron, and perhaps molybdenum.

Picolinic acid is produced from the amino acid tryptophan in the liver and kidneys, and is transported to the pancreas. During digestion, Picolinic acid is secreted from the pancreas into the intestine.

Mineral uptake by tissues is far greater when then mineral is a Picolinate, rather than the other forms. Since our bodies utilize picolinic acid to absorb and transport certain minerals, and our cells recognize mineral picolinates and readily use them, it makes sense to design mineral supplements based on this knowledge.


Role of Chromium in human nutrition

Chromium functions as the Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF). It stimulates insulin activity thus helping in the metabolism of sugar. Chromium is essential for optimal insulin activity in all known insulin-dependent systems.

Chromium depletion results in biologically ineffective insulin and compromised glucose metabolism. Under these conditions, the body must rely primarily on lipid metabolism to meet its energy requirements, resulting in the production of excessive amounts of acetyl-CoA and ketone bodies.

Some of the accumulated acetyl-CoA is diverted to increased cholesterol biosynthesis, resulting in hypercholesterolemia. Diabetes mellitus is characterized in large part by glycosuria, hypercholesterolemia, and often ketoacidosis. The accelerated atherosclerotic process seen in diabetics is associated with hypercholesterolemia.

Insufficient dietary chromium has been linked to both maturity-onset diabetes and to cardiovascular diseases

Chromium also helps to control fat levels and cholesterol levels in the blood.
Deficiency symptoms.
  • Reduced glucose tolerance / impaired glucose metabolism.
  • Weakened immune system.
  • Increased susceptibility for infections. 
  • Inflammatory joint disease.
  • Nerve degeneration.

Chromium Picolinate as a nutritional supplement.

Chromium picolinate is a nutritional supplement that works to increase the efficiency of insulin to optimal levels.

Improved carbohydrate and fat metabolism is a major function of chromium picolinate, which can help with proper weight management.

Another reported benefit of chromium picolinate is that it is useful in the management of blood pressure and cholesterol. It also aids in promoting healthy growth hormone functions.


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