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First some facts about chromium. It is a substance vitally important for anyone seeking a leaner, more
muscular body. Chromium makes the metabolism of carbohydrates, fatty acids, cholesterol and protein more
efficient by increasing the effectiveness of insulin. Chromium picolinate (picolinate, not other types)
has been shown in numerous studies to cause fat loss muscle gain. In one study the experimental group
lost 16 pounds, compared to the three pounds lost by the placebo group. One of the reasons chromium works
so well is that the vast majority of the population consumes too little chromium. In another study, even
diets devised by professional dietitians were still low in chromium. Athletes particular require extra
large amounts because exercise increases chromium needs.
But not all chromiums are the same. Any good creatine product should contain chromium picolinate. Chromium citrate is a combination of the essential trace element chromium, plus citrate (a Krebbs Cycle intermediate). The citrate is added as a chelating agent. Chelation [key-lay-tion] agents allow ions to pass through cellular membranes far more easily by neutralizing their positive or negative forces. The best known chelator is the picolinic acid, which provides for far greater chromium absorption than the citrate form.
You must understand that minerals are difficult to absorb, so manufacturers try to increase absorption rate by chelating or bonding the mineral with amino acids. During the chelation process minerals become bonded to amino acids when a hydrogen molecule within the amino acid structure is replaced by the mineral. The mineral then becomes bound to the amino acid or protein. Studies have shown that when a mineral becomes attached to an amino acid during digestion, the amino acid effortlessly carries the mineral across the intestinal wall an into the bloodstream. Without the benefit of chelation the absorption rates of some minerals can be extremely low.
Chromium is mostly excreted in the urine. Actual mineral requirements for chromium can be estimated by determining the amount of chromium in the urine. Unfortunately, the absorption rate of chromium is very low. Studies have shown that, of a daily dose of 200 mcg to 290 mcg, only 1 mcg to 9mcg is actually being absorbed. Foods rich in chromium include mushrooms, honey, grapes, raisins, corn oil, clams, whole-grain cereals and brewer's yeast. Even if some (or all) of these chromium-rich foods are included in your diet, we still suggest you supplement with extra chromium picolinate.