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Our bodies need trace amounts of chromium for its key role in processing carbohydrates and fats. This mineral also helps regulate blood sugar by working with insulin to help transport glucose into cells. Natural food sources include whole grains, bran cereals, seafood, green beans, broccoli, prunes, nuts, peanut butter and potatoes.

For people with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, (marked by insulin resistance), and those who gain abdominal fat easily, I recommend daily supplements of 1000 mcg of GTF (glucose tolerance factor) chromium, a form that is well used by the body.

Chromium picolinate is widely promoted to help users lose weight, build muscles, increase metabolic rate, lower cholesterol, and reduce cravings. To my knowledge only one small study has shown that it can affect cravings, and that was among patients with atypical depression. Supplementing with chromium picolinate has not been shown to actually help you lose weight, build muscle, lower your cholesterol, or increase your metabolic rate.

The possibility of DNA damage was suggested by studies of chromium picolinate in cell cultures. There is no evidence of such an effect in any living organism. To follow-up on the cell culture results, researchers at New York University studied the effects of 400 micrograms of chromium picolinate over an eight week period in 10 overweight women and found no sign of DNA damage.

The only adverse effects of chromium picolinate I’ve read about occurred in isolated cases. In one, a woman who took 1,200 to 2,400 mcg daily over four to five months developed kidney failure and impaired liver function. In another, kidney failure occurred five months after taking 600 mcg of chromium picolinate daily for six weeks. And, a healthy 24 year old man reportedly developed reversible, acute renal failure after two weeks on a supplement that contained chromium picolinate as the main ingredient.

In general, daily doses of up to 1,000 mcg of chromium are considered safe, but my bottom line is to skip the picolinate form in favor of GTF chromium or chromium chelate.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Contents

Ask the Diet Doctor: Does Chromium Accelerate Weight Loss?

Q: Will taking chromium supplements help me lose weight?

A: Chromium is inexpensive and it isn’t a stimulant, so it would be a great fat-loss accelerator-if it only worked.

Now, if you are a diabetic with a chromium deficiency, it will improve your glucose tolerance a smidge. For everyone else, chromium supplementation is useless (unless you enjoy donating to already wildly profitable supplement companies).

But let’s take two steps back: What is chromium and how did this fat-loss accelerator myth ever get started? Chromium is a trace mineral that enhances insulin’s action in the body. Insulin is essentially the fat-loss gatekeeper, so anything that makes a smaller amount of insulin more effective is great for fat loss.

In the late 1950s, scientists even dubbed chromium the “glucose tolerance factor” (I think that could be a headline for a fat-loss supplement) due it is ability to improve glucose tolerance in animal studies.

Despite this, more chromium isn’t better in humans if you are already at chromium capacity. The adequate intake level of chromium for adult women is set at 25 micrograms, which means if you eat 1/2 cup broccoli, you’re already halfway to your recommended intake. If you take a multivitamin/mineral supplement each morning, you’ll hit your daily intake levels and then some before you even get to work. As you can see, it doesn’t take much to reach capacity.

RELATED: 7 Nutrients That Help Increase Muscle Tone

Chromium supplements can pack between 200 and 1,000 micrograms of chromium, but all that loading doesn’t seem to help weight loss at all, as these excerpts from some chromium-based weight-loss studies show:

  • A 2007 study looked at the impact of 200 micrograms of chromium on fat loss in women and found that supplementation “did not independently influence body weight or composition or iron status. Thus, claims that supplementation of 200 micrograms of promotes weight loss and body composition changes are not supported.”
  • A 2008 study that combined chromium and CLA (conjugated linoleic acids, another weight-loss supplement farce) reported that taking those two supplements for three months didn’t affect “diet- and exercise-induced changes in weight and body composition.”
  • A 2010 study that lasted 24 weeks concluded: “Supplementation of 1,000 micrograms of chromium picolinate alone, and in combination with nutritional education, did not affect weight loss in this population of overweight adults.”

Chromium is not the fat-loss miracle that TV shows and Internet ads tout it to be. Stick to your diet, increase the intensity of your exercise, and you’ll get better results than any fat-loss pill could deliver.

  • By Dr. Mike Roussell

“Even more important than overall weight loss is sustainably losing fat mass while maintaining lean body mass,”​ according to the authors of this new study​​, published in the journal Nutrients ​last month.

That is because a loss of lean body mass has been linked to declines in neuromuscular function and increased risk of injury, the authors argued.

“There are a few dietary supplements that appear to help preserve lean body mass during weight loss, or to reduce the loss of lean body mass compared to diet alone,” ​the researchers wrote.

Researchers affiliated with Baylor University, Central Michigan University, Nova Southeastern University, and scientific consulting company Substantiation Sciences conducted the study, funded by chromium picolinate supplier Nutrition 21.

Study results​

They compiled peer-reviewed, published studies exploring how chromium picolinate supplementation may affect changes in body composition and compared it with studies on other popular weight management ingredients: Green tea catechin, soluble fiber complex, Garcinia cambogia​, and Irvingia gabonensis.​

From all the ingredients analyzed, studies on chromium picolinate have resulted in participants losing the least amount of lean body mass (and in some studies, even experiencing an increase of lean body mass) while still significantly reducing fat mass.

The researchers posited that it may be due to how chromium picolinate interacts with the body’s insulin levels.

“Chromium is an essential trace mineral involved in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism and is combined with picolinic acid to enhance absorption,”​ Dr Susan J. Hewlings, one of the authors of the study, told NutraIngredients-USA.

Vanadium may help balance blood glucose levels but its direct fat burning capacity is unconvincing

Vanadium. By Tomihahndorf , via Wikimedia CommonsThe chemical element V, vanadium is a gray metal found in a variety of minerals, fossil deposits, and animals. It is purported to impart favorable health benefits for heart conditions and diabetes, and may assist fat burning by:

  • Helping with blood glucose. Vanadium in small doses may play a role in weight loss by reducing sugar levels in the blood.
  • Reducing sugar absorption. The element, V, deters sugar away from intestinal absorption and toward muscles for use as energy.
  • Increasing satiety. Consuming vanadium may make you feel more full.

Table of Contents

Overview

Vanadium is a trace metal found in some minerals and fossil fuel deposits, and also produced as the byproduct of steel or uranium mining. It is also present in foods such as mushrooms, seafood, soybeans, cereals, corn, and olive oil, just to cite a few. Drinking water also contains small amounts of vanadium depending on its source.

Alternative and complementary medicine has long boasted of vanadium’s usefulness for reducing elevated blood pressure and other cardiovascular complications, as well as promoting normal bone growth.

Contemporary medical practices have additionally been using vanadium to combat type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and associated obesity.1 Subsequently, recent studies have led some to believe that vanadium may be able to help burn fat.

Did you know? Vanadium was discovered by Spanish-Mexican scientist Andrés Manuel del Río in 1801, but it was not until chlorides of the mineral were isolated 30 years later that it was finally given the official name of vanadium. The metal was so named after Vanadis – the Norse goddess of beauty and fertility – for the vibrant medley of colors found in its compounds.2

The goddess Vanadis, aka Freyja. John Bauer ,via Wikimedia Commons

How Vanadium May Help With Fat Burning

Reducing blood glucose levels

Vanadium has been recorded as reducing plasma glucose levels during periods of fasting as well as overall hepatic glucose production (HGP).3 These natural benefits appear to stem from an increased insulin sensitivity, especially prominent in cases of type-2 diabetes. Minimized glucose production combined with decreased available levels may cut back the amount of sugar the body is able to store as fat. On the other hand, increased glycogen synthesis has been identified in skeletal muscle, which suggests that more glucose is being converted to muscle mass and energy rather than being storing as fat cells.4

Facilitating glucose metabolism

Glucose metabolism was enhanced through the use of certain types of vanadium. Free vanadium ions activate glucose uptake and metabolism in adipocytes in order to lower blood glucose levels in states of hyperglycemia.5 Modifying glucose metabolism may, in the long run, prevent the cultivation of unwanted fat cells while also speeding up their demise.

Increasing satiety

Lower glucose levels were also noted as a result of reduced food intake when consuming vanadium in cases of diabetes.6 Vanadium supplementation may help with weight management by diminishing the desire to eat.

Bluebell tunicates carry vanadium in the form of vanabin. By Nhobgood (Own work) ,via Wikimedia Commons

Vanadium Fat Burner Benefits & Uses

Gluconeogenesis pathway. Unused0026 at English Wikipedia , via Wikimedia CommonsThe vast majority of vanadium-related studies center on its role in the insulin-glucose pathway. Using vanadium to handle the symptoms of diabetes has actually been taking place in medical practices for over a century.7 Vanadium compounds take part in a long list of anti-diabetic activity in order to improve control over glucose levels, including8:

  • inhibiting gluconeogenesis,
  • stimulating glucose oxidation and transport,
  • inhibiting hepatic gluconeogenesis,
  • inhibiting intestinal glucose transport,
  • and increasing glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis in skeletal muscle.

Taken together, these effects have positive implications in fat burning. While such results have been identified in type-2 diabetics, the unfortunate kicker is that they have yet to be significantly demonstrated beyond the realm of type-2 diabetes.

So what about Vanadium in those sports nutrition supplements designed to get you shredded, sliced and diced?

It’s hard to justify it in this role, although it is sometimes found in these products. In some of these supplements, it may appear in proprietary blends for blood sugar support, along with complementary nutritional factors like gymnema sylvestre. However, unless blood sugar is your focus, that capsule space may be better spent on fat burners or more direct pre workout nutrients.

How much does vanadium really help with glycemic control? A comprehensive review of vanadium supplementation in cases of type-2 diabetes concluded that while a handful of studies demonstrated vanadium’s estimable potential in managing glucose levels, the majority did not.9 There certainly appears to be a need for continuing research on the topic.

Research

Animal Research

Research leans toward vanadium being a probable fat burner as indicated by its ability to:

  • Promote weight loss. High concentrations of vanadium in the form of bis-maltolato-oxyvanadium (BMOV) prevented the rise of blood pressure in rats on a starch diet while also causing marked weight loss.10
  • Trigger hypoglycemia. Vanadium was shown to be a productive hypoglycemic agent in cats while also mimicking insulin-like effects in diabetic rats.11
  • Metabolize adipocytes. Vanadyl complexes were observed to normalize hyperglycemia in streptozocin-induced type-1 diabetic rats by activating various metabolic effects in adipocytes.12

Human Research

Clinical studies display conflicting results in regards to vanadium’s usefulness as fat burner. Although glycemic control is demonstrated in type-2 diabetics, significant weight loss is not. One study involving weight training athletes even went so far as to highlight the lack of impact vanadium had.

Vanadium (as VOSO4, 150 mg) may improve glycemic control in type-2 diabetic adults

In this cohort investigation, 11 type-2 diabetic (T2DM) adults were given vanadium in the form of vanadyl sulfate (VOSO4) at 150 mg/day over the course of 6 weeks in order to measure glucose production. On average, fasting plasma glucose (FPG) decreased from 194 ± 16 to 155 ± 15 mg/dL. Reductions in FPG resulted in lowered endogenous glucose production (EGP) by 20%. Cholesterol and other sugar levels, such as that of fructosamine, also decreased.

  • The study concluded that “VOSO4 treatment in T2DM patients improves glycemic control by reducing basal EGP and enhancing skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity.”13

Vanadium (as VOSO4, 150 mg) may increase glucose metabolism and lower glucose production in type-2 diabetics

In this investigation, 16 type-2 diabetic adults were examined after been given either 75 mg, 150 mg, or 300 mg of vanadium per day over the course of a 6-week period. No significant effects were noted at the lowest dose. At both 150 mg and 300 mg of vanadium, glucose metabolism increased while base hepatic glucose production (HGP) and fasting glucose decreased. It is worthwhile to note that the higher doses caused some gastrointestinal distress.

  • The study concluded that “glucose metabolism…improved in 3 of 5 subjects receiving 150 mg VOSO4 and 4 of 8 subjects receiving 300 mg VOSO4.”14

Vanadium (50 mg, twice daily) may reduce fasting plasma glucose in type-2 diabetics

In this placebo-controlled investigation, 8 type-2 diabetics were given vanadium at 50 mg twice a day for 4 weeks. There was a 20% decrease in fasting glucose levels (9.3 ± 1.8 to 7.4 ± 1.4 mmol/L) and a decrease in hepatic glucose output (HGO) during hyperinsulinemia.

  • The study concluded that “VS at the dose used was well tolerated and resulted in modest reductions of fasting plasma glucose and hepatic insulin resistance.”15

Vanadium (0.5 mg) may have no significant effects on weight training athletes

In this double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation, 31 weight training athletes were given vanadium at 0.5 mg per kg of body weight each day over the course of 12 weeks. There was no notable difference gained in physical performance between those taking vanadium and those on the placebo.

  • The study concluded that “there were no treatment effects on haematological indices and biochemistry.”16

Continued clinical research on the use of vanadium as a fat burner might help clarify its position.

Vanadium and chromium unite! Vanadium is often infused with chromium in order to advance seemingly similar effects without conflicting interactions. Most combinatory supplements contain about a 1 milligram portion of vanadium with a splash of 200 micrograms of chromium.

Dosage for Vanadium

Vanadium may be taken in several forms:

  • As a supplemental capsule, ranging from 100 mcg – 1 mg
  • As a form of insulin supplementation in type-2 diabetes, 100 mg
  • Capsules are best taken 20 minutes before a meal, for no longer than a few months

Supplements in Review Says

  • Vanadium, 1 mg

Vanadium may not be among the best fat burners to take as a supplement. Given the low amount of clinical research backing the medical benefit of vanadium in weight loss, along with the potential toxic side effects, vanadium may not be the best option for fat burning supplementation. It is recommended, however, in cases of type-2 diabetes or deficiency of vanadium in the diet based on appropriate medical consultation.

Take no more than 1 mg of vanadium daily. Continued research is needed not just to affirm the value of vanadium as a fat burner, but also to identify the best dosage. Current studies suggest that only 10 – 60 micrograms (equal to 0.06 milligrams) is sufficient for daily consumption, although most nutrition supplements supply 1 mg.17

Show 17 footnotes

  1. Nahas R, Moher M. Complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Can Fam Physician. 2009 Jun;55(6):591-6. ↩
  2. Sefstrom NG. Ueber das Vanadin, ein neues Metall, gefunden im Stangeneisen von Eckersholm, einer Eisenhütte, die ihr Erz von Taberg in Småland bezieht. Annalen der physik. 1831;97(1):43-9. ↩
  3. Halberstam M, et al. Oral vanadyl sulfate improves insulin sensitivity in NIDDM but not in obese nondiabetic subjects. Diabetes. 1996 May;45(5):659-66. ↩
  4. Wei D, et al. Effect of vanadate on gene expression of the insulin signaling pathway in skeletal muscle of streptozotocininduced diabetic rats. J Biol Inorg Chem. 2007;12(8):1265-73. ↩
  5. Goldwaser I, et al. L-Glutamic acid gamma-monohydroxamate. A potentiator of vanadium-evoked glucose metabolism in vitro and in vivo. J Biol Chem. 1999;274:26617-24. ↩
  6. Malabu UH, et al. Effects of chronic vanadate administration in the STZ-induced diabetic rat. Diabetes. 1994;43:9-15. ↩
  7. Thompson KH, Orvig C. Vanadium in diabetes: 100 years from Phase 0 to Phase I. J Inorg Biochem. 2006 Dec;100(12):1925-35. ↩
  8. Korbecki J, et al. Biochemical and medical importance of vanadium compounds. Acta Biochim Pol. 2012; 59(2):195-200. ↩
  9. Smith DM, et al. A systematic review of vanadium oral supplements for glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitis. QJM. 2008;101(5):351-8. ↩
  10. Preuss HG, et al. Comparative effects of chromium, vanadium and gymnema sylvestre on sugar-induced blood pressure elevations in SHR. J Am Coll Nutr. 1998 Apr;17(2):116-23. ↩
  11. Crans DC. Chemistry and insulin-like properties of vanadium(IV) and vanadium(V) compounds. J Inorg Biochem. 2000 May 30;80(1-2):123-31. ↩
  12. Sakurai H. Treatment of diabetes in experimental animals by metallocomplexes. Yakugaku Zasshi. 2008 Mar;128(3):317-22 ↩
  13. K Cusi, et al. Vanadyl Sulfate Improves Hepatic and Muscle Insulin Sensitivity in Type 2 Diabetes. JCEM. 2009 Jan 14;86(3):1. ↩
  14. Goldfine AB, et al. Metabolic effects of vanadyl sulfate in humans with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus: in vivo and in vitro studies. Metabolism. 2000;49:400-10. ↩
  15. Boden G, et al. Effects of vanadyl sulfate on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in patients with non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Metabolism.1996;45:1130-5. ↩
  16. Fawcett JP, et al. Oral vanadyl sulphate does not affect blood cells, viscosity or biochemistry in humans. Pharmacol Toxicol. 1997 Apr;80(4):202-6. ↩
  17. Harland BF, Harden-Williams BA. Is vanadium of human nutritional importance yet? J Am Diet Assoc. 1994 Aug;94(8):891-4. ↩

The benefits and risks of chromium

Chromium picolinate is a popular supplement often marketed to those wanting to build muscle or lose weight. Some bodybuilders and athletes take it to enhance performance and increase energy.

Early studies suggested that supplemental chromium may contribute to weight loss and help increase muscle mass. These studies were not conclusive, but more recent studies have shown improved muscle growth or a decrease in fat mass.

In addition, the amount of weight lost was not considered sufficient to make supplements worthwhile. Some of those taking the supplement also experienced side effects, including watery stool, vertigo, headaches, and hives.

Past research was unable to confirm that supplemental chromium could benefit people with impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes, but more recent studies indicate that it may help in managing diabetes, reducing levels of blood lipids, enhancing weight loss, and improving body composition.

In one study, 96 patients with type 2 diabetes took either 400 micrograms (mcg) a day of chromium picolinate, 200 mcg a day, or a placebo.

Those who took 400 mcg daily saw improvements in endothelial function, lipid profile, and biomarkers of oxidative stress, suggesting that chromium picolinate could benefit patients with type 2 diabetes.

Findings published in 2017 in Nature, suggest that chromium picolinate, combined with statin medications, might help reduce the symptoms of atherosclerosis in mice. If so, chromium supplements could help improve heart health, especially in those with diabetes.

A further study has supported this. Researchers gave 19 people who were overweight but otherwise healthy a drink containing amino acids and chromium picolinate at breakfast. Those who consumed the drink had smaller blood sugar spikes, compared with those who did not.

Drug interactions

Share on PinterestChromium supplements are often sold to support exercise, weight loss, and bodybuilding.

Supplements are like medications. They can interact with other substances, and too much can be harmful.

Chromium picolinate interferes with the absorption of thyroid medications. Thyroid medication should be taken at least 3 to 4 hours before or after any chromium supplement.

Supplemental chromium can interact with antacids, corticosteroids, H2 blockers, proton pump inhibitors, beta-blockers, insulin, nicotinic acid, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and prostaglandin inhibitors.

People who are using any of these drugs, and those with diabetes should speak to their doctor before taking chromium supplements, as these could affect the action of their regular medications.

Chromium supplements should not be taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, and they should not be given to children.

Cinnamon & Chromium for Weight Loss

Many people who struggle with weight loss may be insulin resistant. One in four Americans may have, or may develop, insulin resistance as a result of a genetic predisposition, according to Sheri Barke, a registered dietitian with College of the Canyons in California. Insulin resistant cells do not efficiently utilize insulin, leaving glucose in the blood, resulting in weight gain and diabetes type 2. Cinnamon and chromium may help to increase insulin sensitivity and assist in weight loss.

Insulin Resistance and Weight Gain

When you eat, insulin is secreted from your pancreas into your blood to facilitate the uptake of blood glucose into your cells. Cells that become resistant to this process cannot utilize the glucose and leave excess amounts of it in your blood. Insulin then takes the excess blood glucose and stores it as fat. At the same time, the excess serum glucose triggers your pancreas to secrete more insulin, which in turn increases your hunger. This vicious circle may lead to weight gain.

Hyperinsulinemia

In a state of insulin resistance, your cells do not react properly to insulin, leaving high levels of glucose in your bloodstream. Whenever there is glucose circulating in your blood, your pancreas is alerted to send out more insulin. Even though there is plenty of insulin available to complete the task, more insulin is secreted. This is called hyperinsulinemia, which has debilitating consequences on your pancreas. Over time, your pancreas wears out and puts you at risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and other health problems.

Chromium and Weight Loss

Chromium comes in two forms, hexavalent, for industrial use, and trivalent, which your body needs for assisting insulin in getting glucose into your cells. Insulin binds to the glucose molecule, readying it to enter the cell membrane. Chromium unlocks the cell membrane’s door to allow the insulin and glucose to pass. A 2003 research article in “Nutrition Research Reviews” noted that by improving serum chromium levels, blood glucose levels improved, as did insulin sensitivity and lean body mass 2. Because lower insulin levels are required and lean body mass improves, weight loss may result.

Cinnamon and Weight Loss

Cinnamon carries an active ingredient called MHCP that is a polyphenol. MHCP is able to imitate insulin and trigger your cells to accept glucose. It also works hand-in-hand with insulin. A December 2003 study in “Diabetes Care” took 60 people with diabetes and gave half cinnamon over 40 days, and the other half a placebo 3. The results showed that taking 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduced serum glucose. Reducing blood glucose may reduce the effects of insulin resistance and lead to weight loss.

DR CHRISTY FERGUSON – One of the only experts in the UK with qualifications as a psychologist and a nutritional therapist

SUNIL KOCHHAR – Healthcare agony uncle for dearpharmacist.info

The best supplements for women, from sleep to stress

1/ Best supplement for muscle repair: branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)

If you want to train harder and tone up quicker, pop branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).

They aid muscle repair and raise blood flow to improve your performance. Take after training and before you refuel.

The Body Coach Fruity BCAA Myprotein myprotein.com £6.00

2/ Best supplement for your metabolism and thyroid function

Without sufficient selenium, your body can’t utilise metabolism-controlling hormones from your thyroid.

While there is no ‘metabolism booster’ supplement that’s going to drastically change yours – ultimately, metabolism is something that’s pretty fixed according to your age, although people with more muscle than fat tend to have a faster metabolism – you can take this to help your thyroid to function at its best.

Take a maximum of 75mcg daily so as not to disrupt your hormone balance.

Ultra Selenium ultra vitabiotics.com £7.95

3/ Best supplement for muscle tightness: tart cherry

Popping some (tart) cherry after a hardcore workout helps reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness. Bonus: it also contains melatonin, which means you’ll sleep more soundly than ever.

Take one to two capsules a day, with or without food.

CherryActive® Capsules 60’s cherryactive® active-edge.co.uk £19.99

4/ Best supplement for energy: Co-enzyme Q10

The ultimate energy booster, the best supplements for energy protect your cells’ mitochondria against free radicals, giving you more energy to keep you gym-ready.

Fat-soluble ubiquinol (Q10’s active form) is the most absorbable – take 100g with a meal of fats like avocado, nuts or oily fish.

Healthspan Co-enzyme Q10 100mg 60 Capsules Healthspan feelunique.com £16.95

5/ Best supplement for protein: Spirulina

At around 60% protein, this super powder is a mean, green, appetite-killing machine. Choose organic as some brands contain heavy metals. Not cool.

Start with two to four tablets per day for one week at or after meals. Then move on to six tablets, three times daily.

Synergy Natural Spirulina Powder (200g) planetorganic.com £19.99

6/ Best supplement for toning up: green tea extract

The polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in green tea makes it a scientifically-proven metabolic booster. The results are likely to be pretty marginal and it’s no sub for exercise, but FYI.

Take one tablet daily (that’s around 135mg of EGCG).

Green Tea Extract Plus Myprotein myprotein.com £12.99

7/ Best supplement for bloating: Agnus Castus

If you’re bloated and angry pre-period, this is the mega herb to turn to when it comes to the best supplements.

It relieves the severity of PMS symptoms such as irritability, bloating and headaches by more than 50% within three cycles. Aim for about 200mg a day of the sweet stuff.

Agnus Castus Support naturalhealthpractice.com £19.97

8/ Best supplement for thrush: Fructooligosaccharide

Prone to thrush? Then FOS prebiotic dietary fibre in the form of the best supplements should be on the menu.

While probiotics deliver healthy bacteria straight to the gut, prebiotics encourage the right bugs to flourish. Take one to three capsules daily with food.

LAMBERTS FOS – Bowel Health – 500g bodykind.com £16.95

9/ Best supplements for UTIs: Cranberry

Straight up: if you have a UTI, then it has been caused by bacteria – and the only way to get rid is going to be antibiotics.

But there is some evidence (though shaky) to suggest that cranberry can stop said bacteria adhering to the bladder walls.

Worth a shot?

Take two 277mg doses, daily.

Cranberry healthspan.co.uk £12.45

10/ Best supplement for clear skin: L-Tyrosine

Struggling with a sluggish thyroid? Think low mood, dry skin and weight issues.

First: see your doc. Second: get yourself some L-tyrosine, the synthetic form of thyroxine, produced by your thyroid. Take a 200mg tablet between meals, once a day.

100% L-Tyrosine Amino Acid Myprotein myprotein.com £18.49

11/ Best supplement for PMS: Starflower oil

Starflower contains more of the active PMS-reducing evening primrose oil. It can also help ease breast tenderness.

Pair it with omega-3 to balance out its high level of omega-6 fats.

Starflower Oil/Borage Oil 1000mg 540 ✔UK Made Capsules High GLA Supplement ✔Letterbox Friendly Supplemented amazon.co.uk £36.99

12/ Best supplemen for heart health: Omega-3

So you’re well aware of Omegas by now, but chances are you’re getting too much of the 6 and 9 type. Time to restore the balance.

Vegan Omega Myprotein myprotein.com £14.53

13/ Best supplement for digestion: Digestive enzymes

Stress depletes your body’s natural enzymes, meaning undigested foods start fermenting in your gut (gross). The result? Stress bloat.

Choose a formula with both types of digestive enzyme, betaine hydrochloride and pepsin. Down one capsule three times, daily.

Wild Nutrition Digestive Enzyme Complex 90 Capsules Wild Nutrition amazon.co.uk £16.50

14/ Best supplement for IBS: Probiotics

Good health starts in the gut, so they say. Five billion bacteria per dose are good for general digestion, but you need 20 billion if you’re trying to tackle a bad case of IBS. Aim High.

POP IT: One to two capsules, daily. Contains eight strains of lactobacilli cultures. Down the hatch!

Bio-Kult Capsules – 30 protexin boots.com £9.50

15/ Best supplement for brainpower: Vitamin B complex

Ain’t nothing B-list about these B vitamins. They aid in converting food into ATP. Plus, in the long-run, it has protective effects against degenerative brain conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Good stuff.

Take one capsule, daily, with food.

Boots Re:Balance High Strength Vitamin B Complex – 60 Tablets boots boots.com £8.00

16/ Best for bone health: Vitamin D3

Vitamin D is top of the deficient list; bummer since it protects both bone and heart disease. D3 is the most easily absorbable form when it comes to the best supplements.

D3 coupled with coconut oil? Best way to do it. Aim for at least 1000 IU daily (this one’s got 2500 IU) to fight against heart disease.

Vitabiotics Ultra D3 tablets – 96 tablets ultra boots.com £5.50

17/ Best supplement for tiredness: Iron

Most women of reproductive age lack iron, particularly if your diet is low in red meat. It’s vital for the efficient transport of oxygen, hence feeling knackered without enough of it.

Take one 20mg capsule, daily. Pair with a pop of vitamin C for best absorption.

Boots IRON 14 mg 60 tablets boots pharmaceuticals boots.com £3.20

18/ Best supplement for your mood: 5-HTP

Proven to raise serotonin levels to put you in a chipper mood and, unlike St John’s Wort, 5-HTP can be taken with the Pill. Handy.

Take one to two 50mg caps at the end of each day with a carby snack.

Holland & Barrett 5-HTP 50mg 120 Capsules hollandandbarrett.com £19.99

19/ Best supplement for sleep: Magnesium

Imbalances of this mineral are linked to PMS symptoms, but it’s also incredibly calming and helps you sleep better. One the best supplements for insomniacs.

Take about 270mg a day – so no more than two tabs. Anything north of 400mg can give you the runs. Not pretty.

Ultra Magnesium ultra vitabiotics.com £5.75

20/ Best supplement for stress: Siberian Ginseng

This is an adaptogen, people. Translation: it helps to amp up your general resistance to stress and daily life. Big client presentation? Pop one.

Take one 150mg tablet, daily. The Siberian element is crucial: whatever you do, avoid the Korean and Panax ginseng varieties.

Ultra Ginkgo & Ginseng ultra vitabiotics.com £9.95

21/ Best hair supplement: Methylsulfonylmethane

Or MSM, for short, is a sulphuric compound that helps your body manufacture collagen and keratin to give you shampoo-advert-quality locks.

It’s one of the best supplements because it also helps strengthen body cartilage – ideal for your runner-folk. Try 1g to 5g daily.

100% Methyl Sulfonyl Methane Myprotein myprotein.com £9.99

22/ Best skin supplement: Zinc

Problematic skin? Turkish researchers found that the severity of acne is linked to zinc deficiency, while trials in the journal Dermatology found zinc supplements reduced the number of acne breakouts.

The upper safe dose is 25mg a day. Do not take more without nutritionist supervision.

Zinc with Vitamin C zinc healthspan.co.uk £10.45

23/ Best supplement for anti-ageing: hyaluronic acid

Naturally found in the skin, this molecule attracts and holds water helping plump up fine lines and wrinkles that appear as the years tick by.

All you need is one daily 225mg capsule taken with your meal.

Terranova HYALURONIC ACID & SILICA COMPLEX (50) planetorganic.com £21.50

Now that you know all about the best supplements, find out what you should know about lip fillers.

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Chromium picolinate

Generic Name: chromium picolinate (KROME ee um pi KOE li nate)
Brand Name: Cr-GTF, CRM, Chromium GTF

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on May 2, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

  • Overview
  • Side Effects
  • Professional
  • Interactions
  • Reviews
  • More

What is chromium picolinate?

Chromium is a mineral found in certain foods. The body needs only trace amounts of chromium, and deficiency of this mineral in humans is rare.

Chromium picolinate works together with insulin produced by the pancreas to metabolize carbohydrates.

Chromium picolinate has been used in alternative medicine to treat chromium deficiency, as an aid to controlling blood sugar in people with diabetes or prediabetes, to lower cholesterol, and as a weight-loss supplement.

Not all uses for chromium picolinate have been approved by the FDA. Chromium picolinate should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.

Chromium picolinate is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Chromium picolinate may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

Before using chromium picolinate, talk to your healthcare provider. You may not be able to use chromium picolinate if you have certain medical conditions.

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease;

  • diabetes (especially if you use insulin);

  • an allergy to leather products;

  • mental illness;

  • a thyroid disorder; or

  • if you use steroid medicine (fluticasone, beclomethasone, prednisone, and others).

It is not known whether chromium picolinate will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are pregnant.

Chromium picolinate may pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without medical advice.

How should I take chromium picolinate?

When considering the use of herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.

If you choose to use chromium picolinate, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.

Check your blood sugar carefully if you are diabetic.

The recommended dietary allowance of chromium picolinate increases with age. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. You may also consult the National Academy of Sciences “Dietary Reference Intake” or the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Dietary Reference Intake” (formerly “Recommended Daily Allowances” or RDA) listings for more information.

Chromium picolinate may be only part of a treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very carefully.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, blood in your urine or stools, or coughing up blood.

What should I avoid while taking chromium picolinate?

Avoid a diet that is high in sugar. It may interfere with the effectiveness of chromium picolinate.

Ask your doctor before using an antacid, and use only the type your doctor recommends. Some antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb chromium picolinate.

Chromium picolinate side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using chromium picolinate and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • thinking problems, trouble concentrating;

  • problems with balance or coordination; or

  • liver problems–nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Common side effects may include:

  • headache;

  • sleep problems (insomnia); or

  • mood changes, feeling irritable.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect chromium picolinate?

Other drugs may interact with chromium picolinate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

  • Consult with a licensed healthcare professional before using any herbal/health supplement. Whether you are treated by a medical doctor or a practitioner trained in the use of natural medicines/supplements, make sure all your healthcare providers know about all of your medical conditions and treatments.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.02.

Medical Disclaimer

More about chromium picolinate

  • Side Effects
  • Drug Interactions
  • En Español
  • 18 Reviews
  • Drug class: minerals and electrolytes

Consumer resources

  • Chromium supplement Oral, Parenteral (Advanced Reading)

Other brands: Cr-GTF, CRM

Professional resources

  • Chromium (Advanced Reading)

Related treatment guides

  • Diabetes, Type 2
  • Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation and Deficiency

#1. Improves Cholesterol

Daily supplementation with Chromium has been shown to significantly (statistically speaking) reduce total cholesterol, LDL levels, and apolipoprotein B when compared to placebo.

This is important because we know that dysregulated Cholesterol may result in an increased incidence of cardiovascular accidents such as heart attacks.

So how does Chromium help improve cholesterol markers?

Most likely through 2 pathways (at least):

The first is likely mediated through its effects on insulin signaling.

Insulin resistance is a known cause of dyslipidemia and one of the diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome.

The idea is that as you increase insulin sensitivity you will likely solve a number of problems ranging from hypertension to cholesterol levels.

In this way, chromium is probably helpful.

The second way is through its effects on lipid and carbohydrate metabolism.

It may be that chromium supplementation helps your body metabolize these fats which may result in decreased circulating levels of cholesterol.

#2. Reduces Insulin Resistance

One of the most well-known benefits of using Chromium has to do with its involvement in insulin signaling.

Insulin is a very important hormone that helps regulate blood sugar in your body and cells.

Insulin dysregulation (also known as insulin resistance) is implicated in the pathogenesis of type II diabetes, hypertension, weight gain, and high cholesterol (6).

I’ve also previously stated other studies have shown that patients with type II diabetes have 20-40% lower chromium blood levels when compared to healthy people.

It has been theorized that Chromium may be involved in the development of type II diabetes in some individuals.

It’s also possible that type II diabetes may result in physiologic changes which result in chromium deficiency.

Either way, it’s been a topic that has been researched in depth recently.

People want to know if taking Chromium will help reduce their risk of developing type II diabetes and if it will help those lower their blood sugar if they already have type II diabetes (or even pre-diabetes).

So does it work?

The answer is yes, but the amount that it helps varies from person to person.

A review of 15 trials using chromium picolinate shows that this mineral does indeed help reduce glucose levels (7).

These studies show that taking Chromium may help lower the Hgb A1c by as much as 0.95% (or almost 1%).

This may not seem like a high number but if you consider that Diabetes the difference between pre-diabetes (5.7%) and diabetes (6.5%) this supplement alone may be enough to normalize glucose levels in some individuals.

The bottom line for patients is that chromium supplementation may be worthwhile as an extra therapy to existing medications or as a natural approach to try and reverse pre-diabetes or an early rise in blood sugar.

#3. May Help with Weight Loss

The studies have been mixed as to whether or not chromium actually helps weight loss.

As a result, we need to break it down a little bit further.

Does chromium actually help you lose weight?

The answer is maybe, and it really depends on why you are overweight, to begin with.

From a theoretical standpoint, it makes sense that chromium would help with weight loss because it’s involved in the breakdown of macromolecules with as protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Aside from its effects on macromolecule metabolism chromium has also been shown to help reduce appetite or cause appetite suppression.

So from this standpoint, it makes sense that by improving the amount of fat that your body burns and by reducing the amount of food that you consume, it should lead to weight loss.

It makes sense but it doesn’t work for everyone.

Part of this reason may have to do with the underlying cause of obesity which isn’t always just a problem of eating too much and exercising too little.

For instance, it is well known that insulin resistance leads to increased fat deposition through the effects of insulin on fat tissue.

So if you have fat which is the result of insulin resistance then chromium is probably going to be more effective for weight loss in YOUR body.

And this makes sense.

Along the same vein, if you have trouble controlling your appetite with intense carbohydrate cravings then chromium may be more effective for you.

But it will likely have less of an effect if you are already eating healthy.

So let’s take a look at some studies:

One study showed that taking Chromium Picolinate daily for 24 weeks did result in about 1kg of body weight (8) when compared to placebo in study participants.

1 kg of body weight is about 2.2 pounds (when converted) so the weight loss seen wasn’t tremendous (especially compared to other therapies).

The good news is that this therapy (chromium) is quite safe and can be added to existing weight loss therapies.

Other studies have shown that chromium supplementation (9) does not result in noticeable weight loss when compared to placebo.

This study went on for 12 weeks in which participants took 1000mcg of Chromium daily.

At the conclusion of this particular study, there were no meaningful changes to BMI or central adiposity compared to placebo.

The discrepancy between the studies may have to do with several factors so it doesn’t necessarily mean you should rule out Chromium as not being effective for you personally.

First is that Chromium is likely more effective for individuals with known insulin resistance, in addition, chromium is likely a better weight loss tool for those who struggle with overeating.

Lastly, it’s also worth pointing out that weight may not be the right “endpoint” to study when using chromium because using Chromium may result in increased muscle mass and increased fat loss which may not result in a change in weight but would definitely result in increased fat loss.

Other supplements work this way such as fish oil (supplements and therapies that increase muscle mass while causing fat loss tend to be weight “neutral” but are still helpful).

Based on these results it’s probably not a great “weight loss” tool but it can certainly be added to a weight loss regimen provided you suspect or know that you are deficient.

#4. Reduces Depression

Chromium supplementation has also been shown to be helpful in the treatment of atypical depression.

Patients with this disorder often present with “atypical” symptoms such as intense carbohydrate cravings and alterations in appetite.

It has also been suggested that there is a link between depression and insulin resistance which may be mediated through diet.

Therefore supplemental chromium would be a great potential therapy for patients with this disorder as it may impact both insulin regulation and appetite regulation.

Studies confirm this to be the case and show that chromium supplementation (10) (600 ug per day) can reduce cravings associated with depression and also improve and reduce the symptoms of depression.

#5. Regulates Appetite & Food Cravings

Another very important benefit to using chromium is that it may have an impact on total food consumption and especially carbohydrate cravings.

Compared to placebo certain patients were able to adequately control their appetites and cravings for certain foods when taking chromium picolinate daily as indicated below (11):

Chromium picolinate weight loss

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