Chromium Picolinate: Health Benefits, How to Take & Side Effects

Updated in December 2023

Chromium picolinate is a nutritional supplement that is indicated to complement the treatment of diabetes or insulin resistance. It contains Picolinate acid and chromium, which help to regulate glucose and insulin levels in the blood. 

This supplement can also be used to reduce appetite and overeating, leading to weight loss. It should be used as directed by a doctor or registered dietitian to achieve this purpose, and incorporated into an active lifestyle with a healthy, balanced diet. 

Chromium picolinate can be purchased in capsule form at pharmacies or natural health stores. It should only be used under the monitoring of a doctor or registered dietitian, who will indicate the appropriate dosing and form of this supplement. 

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Health benefits

Chromium picolinate is indicated for cases of chromium deficiency. However, some studies have shown that this supplement may have many health benefits, and may be used for: 

  • Regulating blood sugar levels
  • Complementing the treatment of diabetes or insulin resistance
  • Regulating LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Preventing heart disease
  • Reducing appetite and eating compulsions 
  • Improving the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates and fats
  • Increasing muscle mass 

Although it may offer health benefits, more studies are needed to support them, Therefore, this supplement should only be used as directed by a doctor or registered dietitian. 

It is also important to highlight the the use of chromium picolinate should not substitute the treatment prescribed by your doctor. 

Can chromium picolinate promote weight loss?

Chromium picolinate may promote weight loss, as it can reduce appetite and eating compulsions, leading to a decreased overall calorie intake.  

However, the results of some scientific studies done in obese or overweight patients [1,2] show that weight loss is not conclusive, as the amount of weight loss was insignificant. 

It is important to highlight the chromium picolinate use should be monitored by a doctor or registered dietitian, and does not replace regular exercise and a healthy diet when trying to achieve weight loss. Learn more about a weight loss diet you should maintain when taking this supplement. 

How to take

Chromium picolinate should be taken orally with a cup of water, preferably before one of your main meals. 

The recommended dose is 1 capsule per day. The duration of use should be ordered by a health care professional. 

Some scientific studies show that the duration of use depends on the health goal, and can vary between 4 weeks and 6 months. The dose can also vary, from 25 to 1000 mcg per day. 

Nonetheless, the recommended daily dose should remain between 50 to 300 mch per day. Athletes, people who are overweight or obese, or people with high cholesterol or triglyceride levels may be suggested a dose of 100 to 700 mcg per day for about 6 weeks, depending on your doctor's prescription. 

Possible side effects

The most common side effects that may occur during chromium picolinate use include headache, insomnia, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, liver problems and anemia. This supplement is mostly well tolerated, with side effects occurring infrequently.

Diabetics should speak with their doctor before using this supplement, as it may be necessary to adjust the doses of any hypoglycemic medications. In these cases, it may also be necessary to control blood glucose levels during use to avoid drops in blood sugar.

Contraindications for use

Chromium picolinate should not be used by children under 12 years of age, nor by people who have kidney failure, severe liver disease, thyroid problems. It should not be taken by those who are being treated with corticosteroids, such as fluticasone, prednisone, prednisolone or beclomethasone.

In addition, this supplement should not be used by people who are allergic to picolinic acid, chromium, or any other component in the supplement's formula.

The use of chromium picolinate is also not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, as it is not known whether it can harm the fetus or baby. In these cases, this supplement should only be used if recommended by your doctor.