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How Do I Use Chromium Picolinate for Weight Loss?

By Angela Crout-Mitchell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Using chromium picolinate for weight loss involves taking the correct amount of the supplement, eating a well balanced diet designed to accentuate the supplement's effects, and including daily exercise in the routine. In order to be effective, the mineral chromium is combined with the acid picolinate in capsule form to help the body metabolize sugars and fat more effectively. This supplement has also been used to manage high blood pressure and cholesterol problems, as well as as an appetite suppressant. Most healthcare professionals inform their patients that chromium supplements are more effective for weight loss when used with proper diet and exercise. As with any type of dietary supplement, patients should consult a medical professional before taking this supplement.

The first step in correctly using chromium picolinate for weight loss is determining the correct dosage. Most health experts suggest taking 400 mg of either the tablet or capsule form before meals, especially when exercising immediately after eating. For people who prefer to only take chromium, there is a liquid supplement available designed to be taken with a liquid beverage just before exercise. Orange juice is suggested as a good liquid to take this supplement with, because studies have shown the body is better able to absorb the chromium when taken with food or juice high in vitamin C.

Losing weight almost always requires the person to eat a well balanced, nutritious diet. The standard recommendations suggest creating a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, and natural grains. It's also best to limiting dairy and consume only lean meats. When using a chromium picolinate supplement, health experts also suggest eating plums, green beans, peanut butter, potatoes, and broccoli, because these are all natural sources of chromium.

Effectively using chromium picolinate for weight loss also involves getting an adequate amount of exercise to encourage greater effectiveness of the product. As with any other type of exercise program, users should exercise for about an hour three to five times a week and incorporate a variety of movements into the routine. Stretches, resistance exercises, and cardiovascular activities to raise the heart rate and improve circulation are all part of a healthy exercise program. Both nutritional experts and fitness trainers suggest taking chromium picolinate immediately before participating in exercise for the best results to stimulate the metabolism of sugars and fats.

What is Chromium? 

According to the National Institutes of Health, chromium is an element used as a dietary supplement that aids in metabolism and insulin activity. It can also help you maintain a healthy blood sugar and cholesterol level. 

Because it aids in metabolism, it assists in breaking down fats and carbohydrates in your body at a faster rate. Chromium may be an antioxidant and aid in removing the body of toxins, but scientists have not concluded its antioxidant properties. 

What is Picolinate? 

According to the National Library of Medicine, picolinate is “a pyridine monocarboxylate resulting from the removal of a proton from the carboxyl group of picolinic acid.” When combined with chromium, it is sold as a weight-loss supplement because they work together to increase metabolism in the body and break down fats and carbohydrates at a rapid rate. 

What Foods Contain Chromium Picolinate?

Many foods contain chromium, including meat, produce, nuts, alcoholic beverages, and carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, cereals, and oatmeals. According to Healthline, the following foods are especially rich in chromium: 

  • Grape juice
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Orange juice 
  • Beef
  • Tomato juice
  • Apples
  • Green beans

Each food’s level of chromium picolinate depends on the manufacturing process used to produce the food, so food is not always a dependable source of chromium picolinate. 

For this reason, many individuals chose to take chromium picolinate as a dietary supplement instead to reap its metabolic benefits. 

Where Can I Buy Chromium Picolinate Supplements? 

Consumers can find many chromium picolinate supplement options at vitamin and supplement stores such as GNC, The Vitamin Shoppe, and Supplement Warehouse.

You can also find chromium picolinate supplements at large national retailers or drug stores like Walgreens, Walmart, or CVS. Of course, you also have many options for chromium picolinate supplements through Amazon as well.

Does Chromium Picolinate Have Any Side Effects? 

Side effects of chromium picolinate are rare, but according to Drugs.com, you may experience the following side effects after taking chromium picolinate: 

  • Trouble focusing or concentrating
  • A racing mind
  • Issues with balance and dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Stomachache 
  • Itchiness
  • Lethargy 
  • Lack of hunger
  • Jaundice 

The symptoms above are rare but serious. You should seek medical attention if you experience any side effects after taking chromium picolinate. 

The following symptoms are more common side effects of chromium picolinate, but are less serious: 

  • Insomnia 
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Crankiness and mood swings 

If you experience hives, rashes, trouble breathing, or swelling after taking chromium picolinate, you are most likely having an allergic reaction. Seek medical attention immediately and stop your use of the supplement. 

Overall, chromium picolinate is a safe supplement and you will likely not experience any side effects. Still, it is good to be aware of the potential risks of anything you put in your body before taking a new supplement. 

Should I Take Chromium Picolinate If I Have Diabetes?

Chromium picolinate is an excellent supplement choice if you have diabetes. The National Library of Medicine points out that chromium picolinate can minimize insulin resistance and prevent individuals with type two diabetes from getting heart disease and heart attacks. 

Your body does not absorb chromium in food very well, so taking chromium picolinate supplements is a more effective way of reaping its benefits, particularly for older individuals with diabetes. These findings are backed up by scientific studies. 

Is It Possible to Have a Chromium Deficiency? 

Chromium deficiencies are rare. Most people take chromium picolinate supplements for health and weight loss rather than to supplement chromium in their diet. Since chromium can aid in preventing overeating and help your body break down fat and carbohydrates faster, it can be useful for weight loss. 

While rare, it is possible to have a chromium deficiency. Signs include increased blood sugar, high cholesterol, and higher risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Some populations are more prone to chromium deficiency according to Mount Sinai. Those populations include: 

  • Elderly people
  • Athletes
  • People who eat a high-sugar diet
  • Pregnant women

Talk to your doctor if you suspect you have a chromium deficiency. They will most likely recommend you take a chromium picolinate supplement.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon1005567 — On Sep 26, 2021

The article has a fairly serious mistake that should be corrected.

It says, “Most health experts suggest taking 400 mg of either the tablet or capsule form before meals.”

It should have said, “400 mcg.”

You’re recommending a dose 1,000 times higher than it should be!

By anon1000524 — On Oct 11, 2018

My functional medicine doctor has had me add a breakfast with protein and healthy fats to help stabilize my blood sugar from the morning. Then I add 100mcg organic chromium yeast mid morning and a healthy lunch with sufficient protein and fats. In the afternoon, I add a second 100mcg tablet of organic chromium yeast. I have been following this protocol for the past 6 months, I am healthier, I have lost 30lbs and I have more energy. My skin actually has cleared up and I look and feel healthy.

By anon1000119 — On May 31, 2018

Setting up a dose without medical supervision sounds troublesome in the first place. If you have unstable blood sugar, chromium can definitely help, as it helps move sugar from the bloodstream and into the cells, where it is used for energy.

Secondly, choosing an organic chromium yeast gives you the same type of bioavailable chromium that you get through nature. Unrefined and unprocessed sugar gives you a good amount of natural chromium. However, when we process and refine sugar, the chromium is damaged and lost. So, from a natural perspective, adding some chromium yeast will help you balance your blood sugar levels and give your body the tools to actually get the sugar to where it is used for energy.

By ZipLine — On Apr 10, 2013

I don't think anyone should be taking this supplement for weight loss. I saw an article by a doctor recently about how chromium supplements lead to DNA mutations.

I don't think there are enough studies done on this supplement to consider it safe.

By stoneMason — On Apr 09, 2013

@literally45-- I'm sure that the chromium helped as well. How much are you taking? Are you making sure to split your total daily dose throughout the day?

I think everyone should get a blood test done to check current chromium levels in the body before starting on the supplements. This should determine the amount of chromium supplements that will be taken.

Chromium is important for the body and if it's deficient, it makes weight loss more difficult. But taking too much of chromium will cause side effects and may lead to more problems in the long term.

I had my chromium checked before I started taking supplements. I'm also paying attention to my diet and exercise. I have lost twenty-five pounds so far. I think this is because I'm taking chromium under close doctor supervision. We shouldn't expect fast weight loss from any supplement, but if things are being done right, a steady and permanent weight loss is possible with chromium picolinate.

By literally45 — On Apr 08, 2013

I started taking chromium weight loss supplements two months ago, I have lost about twelve pounds. I don't know if it's the chromium or if it's just diet and exercise though. I would have probably lost this amount dieting and exercising even if I didn't take the chromium.

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