Although only a small amount of a mineral may be necessary for good health, it may play a large role in our physical well-being. This is true of chromium, a trace mineral involved in proper insulin function and glucose utilization. Improper insulin function can result in problems with weight management, cholesterol control, blood sugar levels and carbohydrate metabolism.

Chromium picolinate, sold under the Chromax® brand, already has been marketed as a dietary nutritional supplement in capsules and tablets. Now Nutrition 21 Inc., Purchase, N.Y., has under gone a self-affirmed GRAS process, allowing the mineral to be used as an ingredient in foods such as beverages and nutrition bars.

Looking Good

Chromium occurs in small amounts in many foods. Foods containing chromium include grains; meat, fish, poultry and eggs; dairy products; fruits and juices; and vegetables. Coffee, tea, red wine, chocolate and brewers' yeasts are other sources. The Estimated Safe and Daily Dietary Intake (ESADDI) of chromium is 50-200mcg for normal, healthy people. USDA researchers have shown that most people do not get as much as 50 mcg per day from their daily diets. Nutrition 21 has gathered studies that show 200-1,000 mcg per day can benefit people with specific health concerns—such as body fat, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Research shows that chromium enhances the effects of insulin to help glucose move from the bloodstream to the cells, rather than stimulating the body to make more insulin. Chromium is useful in alleviating insulin resistance and also benefits individuals with diabetes, who are trying to control their blood sugar. Recent studies support the claim that chromium picolinate lowers total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels while raising HDL levels. People interested in weight management and fitness have available many studies showing chromium can reduce fat mass, increase lean body mass and lower body weight.

According to the company, chromium picolinate has good bioavailability, is absorbed into the cells quite well, and is more stable than other forms of chromium supplements. The three-picolinate molecules, to which the chromium is bound, act as chelators, which help the chromium to be absorbed into the cells.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study by Kaats, et. al., supports chromium picolinate’s ability to significantly impact body composition.
Food technologists will find that Chromax chromium picolinate is soluble in water at the low levels required for supplementation. The recommended amount of chromium is 200-600mcg per day. Most dietary supplement tablets contain 200mcg, and one or two are taken each day. The mineral has little taste so it does not need a masking agent, and it is resistant to the normal heat levels of baking or beverage processing. It is stable over a wide pH range.

The brand name Chromax may be mentioned on the food product label and chromium picolinate is the term mentioned in the ingredient statement.

“Chromium picolinate has a high awareness among supplement users. It is the number one dietary nutritional supplement recognized by pharmacists for weight loss,” says Bill Levi, business director, ingredients division, Nutrition 21 Inc. The company has been selling chromium picolinate in a weight loss bar on the QVC TV network for the last seven years. Its Lite Bites Fat-Fighting System bars are chewy, with a granola texture, and are available in several chocolate- and yogurt-covered flavors. They are eaten prior to meals to give a feeling of satiety so people will not eat too much, which can aid in weight loss.

For more information:
Bill Levi at 914-701-4500
Nutrition 21 Inc. Write in 204