Chromium picolinate is a chemical compound available as a supplement for preventing or treating chromium deficiency.
Several studies show that chromium picolinate supplements can help with weight loss as well as muscle gain.
A 1989 study by Dr. Kenneth Cooper involved football players who were split into two groups, one group took chromium supplements for the duration of 6 weeks, and the other group didn’t take chromium. The group taking chromium supplements lost 7.5 pounds of fat and gained 5.7 pounds of muscle. The group not taking chromium picolinate lost 2.2 pounds of fat and gained 4 pounds of muscle.
Another study of ten men on a weightlifting program were also divided into two groups, one group getting chromium supplements and the other not. After 40 days, the group taking chromium had an increase in muscle of 3.5 pounds. The group getting a placebo had an increase in muscle of only 2 ounces.
In another study, researchers gave either chromium supplements (200 mcg or 400 mcg daily) or a placebo to 122 sedentary individuals. After 10 weeks, the 400 mcg group experienced weight loss of 4.6 pounds, while the 200 mcg group experienced weight loss of 3.4 pounds. The placebo group experienced weight loss of 0.8 pounds.
In another study, researchers studied 30 overweight women and 10 overweight men. They were first put on a low-fat, low-calorie diet for 8 weeks. They were then put on the same diet with 400 mcg chromium added. At the conclusion of the study, they had an average weight loss of about 15 pounds, with almost 12 pounds from fat.
In another study, researchers put people on a a highly restrictive, 800 calories a day, diet for eight weeks. They were divided into 4 groups, 1 of which received chromium. They all experienced weight loss, but only the group getting chromium didn’t lose any muscle mass.
However, not all studies have found chromium supplements to be beneficial for weight loss or muscle gain.
In a study of 17 sedentary women, age range 54-71 years, it was found that high-dose chromium picolinate supplements didn’t increase maximal strength above that of resistance training alone. The study results determined that whole body composition and skeletal muscle size weren’t significantly changed due to resistive training and weren’t influenced by chromium picolinate supplements.
Another study involving 83 women concluded that chromium picolinate supplementation of 200 mcg does not promote weight loss and body composition changes.