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by Ara DerMarderosian, PhD

Chromium, a trace mineral, potentiates the action of insulin. Sources include carrots, potatoes, broccoli, whole grains, and molasses. Picolinate is a by-product of tryptophan that is paired with chromium in supplements because it is said to help the body absorb chromium more efficiently.


Chromium picolinate is said to promote weight loss, build muscle, reduce body fat, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and enhance insulin function. Although chromium deficiency impairs insulin function, there is no evidence that supplementation helps patients with diabetes, nor is there evidence that it benefits body composition or lipid levels.

Adverse effects

Some evidence suggests that chromium picolinate damages chromosomes and may cause cancer. Some forms of chromium may contribute to GI irritation and ulcers. Chromium supplements interfere with iron absorption.

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