With chromium being only an essential trace mineral needed in small amounts, it’s surprising how much of an important role it plays in the body.
Chromium is one of the minerals responsible for the regulation of insulin activity and blood sugar levels. If our insulin and blood sugar levels are not properly regulated, it could lead to a number of health issues, including symptoms of diabetes.
When it comes to weight loss supplements, the use of chromium is often overlooked. You may find chromium as an ingredient in some fat burners such as Burn Lab Pro, or as a solo supplement available online or in many health food stores.
Though, when it comes to supplementation, chromium is available in a few forms. As this mineral can be tricky to absorb on its own, it usually is combined with certain ingredients to enhance absorption and thus the effectiveness of the supplement.
This article explores the difference between two of the most popular forms of chromium, GTF chromium and chromium picolinate.
Which is better absorbed? Which is better for weight loss? Which is more effective?
Read on to find out all you need to know!
What is Chromium?
Chromium is a mineral, classified as an “essential trace mineral” because we only need very small amounts for human health.
You can find chromium in food products such as meat, grains, nuts, spices, and most notably, brewer’s yeast.
Supplementing with chromium is thought to help keep blood sugar levels normal by improving the way our bodies use insulin.
Insulin is the key hormone involved in the regulation of blood glucose levels and fat storage. A lack of insulin, or inability to respond to insulin, can lead to symptoms of diabetes.
Therefore, chromium is often used for diabetes, high cholesterol, polycystic ovary syndrome, and many other conditions. These days, it’s also a popular ingredient in fat burners!
Let’s dive a bit deeper into the benefits of supplementing with chromium!
What are the Benefits of Taking Chromium Supplements?
The main role of chromium is to regulate insulin in the body; thus, it’s often supplemented to improve insulin action in the body. With this comes a few additional benefits, such as:
Improved Glucose Metabolism
Insulin is the hormone responsible for managing the amount of glucose in our blood. It signals our liver, muscle, and fat cells to take in glucose from the blood and to use it as energy, or to store it as glycogen.
This is how it works in a healthy individual, though, in individuals who have diabetes or issues with insulin sensitivity, insulin doesn’t quite work like it’s supposed to, which causes further issues with blood glucose levels.
There is a significant amount of research highlighting chromium’s role in enhancing insulin activity in those with diabetes.1
As a result of this enhanced insulin activity, there is a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease and other related metabolic conditions, particularly in those who are overweight or obese.
May Support Fat Loss
Some studies have shown that through the action and effects on insulin activity, chromium may also aid weight loss.
It has been shown that chromium may improve body composition, and potentially reduce BMI in those with impaired glucose tolerance.2
In addition to this, chromium may also help reduce food cravings. Regularly uncontrolled food cravings can often lead to overeating and weight gain, making it one of the biggest boundaries to weight loss.
How chromium helps food cravings is not fully understood, though it is thought to have an influence on the mechanisms involved in regulating eating behavior and food cravings.
So, it appears chromium may be a good pick when it comes to weight loss through better controlled insulin activity and managing cravings, but which form of chromium is better?
GTF Chromium Vs Chromium Picolinate
When looking at chromium supplements, there are a few common forms you’ll see:
Chromium nicotinate (polynicitinate) - the elemental form of chromium combined with niacin to help boost absorption
Chromium picolinate - the most popular form found in supplements, combined with picolinic acid to enhance absorption
GTF (glucose tolerance factor) chromium - the biologically active form of chromium found in brewer’s yeast
So, which exactly is the better form of chromium?
GTF chromium (dinicotinic-acid glutathione complex) is the naturally occurring form of chromium. This form is thought to be easily absorbed by the body and safer than many other forms.
You often find GTF chromium being the more popularly researched form of chromium when looking at its effect on insulin activity and weight loss, making this a more promising form for supplementation.
The Best Chromium Supplement
If you want to maximize your fat loss when using chromium, it should be used in conjunction with other fat burning ingredients as opposed to an isolated supplement.
Burn Lab Pro combines GTF chromium with Forslean Forskolin, Capsimax cayenne pepper extract, HMB, and black pepper extract, which all play a role in enhancing training performance, optimizing calorie burn, and preserving lean muscle.
- PJ Havel. A scientific review: the role of chromium in insulin resistance. Diabetes Educ. 2004;Suppl:2-14.
- MI Uusitupa, L Mykkänen, O Siitonen, et al. Chromium supplementation in impaired glucose tolerance of elderly: effects on blood glucose, plasma insulin, C-peptide and lipid levels. Br J Nutr. 1992;68(1):209-216.