Chromium Amino Acid Chelate vs Chromium Picolinate: What’s The Difference?

Chromium is considered a trace mineral that is essential and as been linked with better sensitivity to insulin and improved metabolism for lipids, carbs, and proteins.

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With the rise in health issues and illnesses, it is no longer surprising that people will look for ways to improve their overall health. However, due to the rise in the number of health supplements available in the market today, it is no longer surprising that individuals can find it difficult or challenging to find the right supplement for them and for their specific daily needs. One such supplement is known as Chromium Picolinate. But what is the difference between Chromium Picolinate and Chromium Amino Chelate? In this article, we look at Chromium Amino Acid Chelate vs Chromium Picolinate and the supplement’s possible health benefits. Read on to find out more!

Chromium Amino Acid Chelate vs Chromium Picolinate: A General Overview

In the field of nutrition, chromium amino acid chelate (AAC) is the type of chromium that is biologically active found in different food items and utilized by the human body. On the other hand, Chromium picolinate (which shall be referred to simply as chromium from this point forward),  is chromium’s supplemental form. Similar to other minerals, absorption of chromium can be difficult for the human body. 

However, once chromium is bound to a compound that is organic such as picolinate, it can be more easily absorbed by the human body, 

Chromium: Some Quick Facts

Chromium is considered a trace mineral that is essential and as been linked with better sensitivity to insulin and improved metabolism for lipids, carbs, and proteins. Chromium is an element that is metallic and individuals only need to use its limited quantities. At present, the information on how much chromium is needed by the human body is quite limited.

In addition, a number of studies have also presented results that are conflicting.  Results coming from recent studies point towards supplements containing chromium picolinate as having some benefits for health for some individuals. Ultimately, healthcare professionals still advise people to focus on a healthy diet rather than relying on supplementation to get their chromium needs.

What food items contain chromium and what happens during chromium deficiency?

Some food items that are considered the best sources of chromium include brewer’s yeast, liver, and broccoli. Listed below are the chromium numbers for some of these food items:

  • 5 ounces of Red Wine- Contains 1 to 13 mcg of chromium
  • 1 cup of Green Bean- contains 2 mcg of chromium
  • 1 cup of mashed potatoes- contains 3 mcg
  • 1 whole English wheat muffin- contains 4 mcg of chromium
  • 3 ounces of turkey breast contains 2 mcg of chromium
  • 1 cup grape juice contains 8 mcg of chromium
  • 1 cup of broccoli contains 22 mcg of chromium

On the other hand, dairy products do not have high levels of chromium in them. The exact benefits of chromium to the body are still uncertain and humans encountering chromium deficiency are reportedly quite seldom and rare. There is a great chance that chromium deficiency can bring about certain health issues. Some of these medical-related problems include:

  • Tolerance to glucose that is impaired  which can result in blood sugar levels that are uncontrolled  especially for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes 
  • Control that is less efficient in terms of cholesterol control which can lead to heart disease and atherosclerosis.

It must be noted though, that the adverse effects and benefits of chromium are currently still being verified and no solid data is available as of this time. As such, further studies are needed to confirm the benefits and risks chromium can actually bring. 

Some of the Possible Benefits and Risks of supplementing with Chromium

Chromium is a highly popular form of supplementation that is geared towards people who may want to lose weight and those who want to boost the growth and development of their muscles. Other individuals such as athletes and sports buffs may want to take in the said supplement to boost their energy and improve overall performance.

Some of the early studies conducted regarding chromium supplements observed that it may help individuals lose weight and improve their overall muscle mass. The said studies are inconclusive though but some of the more recent data showed promising results such as fat mass that was decreased and muscle growth that is improved.

It was also noted that the actual weight lost during the duration of the studies was not enough to justify the regular use of the aforementioned health supplement. Chromium supplementation was also observed to result in some patients to experience certain side effects such as hives, headaches, vertigo, and watery stool.

While research conducted in the past showed no conclusive benefit for chromium, studies conducted much recently noted that chromium can indeed provide some of the earlier identified health benefits. These include improved body composition, enhanced weight loss, blood lipid levels that are reduced, and even improve glucose tolerance. One study conducted on 96 test subjects suffering from type 2 diabetes were given 400 mcg of chromium picolinate per day or just a placebo.

Patients who took the 400 mcg dose on a daily basis showed that they experienced significant improvements in their biomarkers for oxidative stress, lipid profile, and endothelial function. This means that those who took in high levels of chromium can have a better chance of managing their type 2 diabetes compared to those who only took a placebo.

A more recent study conducted in 2017 showed that when paired with other statins, supplementing with chromium picolinate can help alleviate the symptoms of the condition known as atherosclerosis. This was observed in mice, however, but still, the results seem promising that the same benefits may be observed in humans especially for those with diabetes.

A different study seemed to support the said finding. The said study observed 19 individuals who had excess weight and had been given drinks containing chromium and amino acid supplements. It also showed that the patients who took in the beverage had reduced spikes in their blood sugar versus those who were not given the drink.

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