Chromium picolinate is a chemical compound with the formula Cr(C6H4NO2)3. It is derived from chromium (III) and picolinic acid, which is synthesized in the body. The primary biochemical value of chromium picolinate is to provide chromium in a biologically active form. Chromium is an essential nutrient that’s primarily involved with the regulation of insulin by increasing the sensitivity of insulin receptors. This action typically occurs through amino acids such as aspartate and glutamate.
Chromium picolinate was discovered in 1917 and is a bright red powder at room temperature. It has poor solubility in water and is generally non-reactive, as is common for chromium compounds. High temperatures or acidic environments are required to break chromium picolinate down into chromium and picolinic acid. This occurs rapidly in the stomach, and the alkaline environment of the small intestines allows the free chromium to form Cr(III)-hydroxide-oxide.
The absorption rate of chromium via chromium picolinate is two percent, which is greater than other sources of chromium such as chromium chloride or chromium nicotinate. This property allows chromium picolinate users to obtain higher concentrations of chromium than with other chromium supplements. The superior absorption rate of chromium picolinate is generally due to its greater solubility in fat.
The primary use of chromium picolinate as a health supplement is typically to support the body’s ability to manage healthy blood sugar levels. Additional benefits include healthy cholesterol level management, heart health, and support for the nervous system.
Many studies show that chromium picolinate may help to maintain a healthy cholesterol profile. The high absorption rate of chromium picolinate may play a significant role in this effect.
Chromium picolinate may support heart health by helping blood vessels to relax. It may also support recovery of the heart after an injury.
Early studies indicate that chromium compounds such as chromium picolinate may help older people to maintain normal cognitive function.
Chromium picolinate may help to manage insulin resistance and glucose tolerance. These benefits are due to chromium’s role in insulin signaling.
The most significant signs that you may need chromium picolinate typically involve blood sugar regulation. These signs primarily include high insulin resistance and low glucose tolerance. Chromium picolinate may also help to maintain normal chromium levels in older people since chromium retention tends to decline with age. Nutritional deficiencies of chromium are rare and are generally limited to patients who are fed intravenously for long periods without receiving chromium supplements.
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