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Chromium Effects on Weight Reduction, Cravings and Diabetes in GLOBESITY Bootcamp for the Obese

Effects of Chromium on Weight Reduction

Authors: Marcus Free MD, Rouzbeh Motiei-Langroudi MD, Waqar Ahmad PhD, Kelly Daly RDN, and Don Juravin (Don Karl Juravin).

Abstract (Research Summary)

  • Chromium (200 μg) reduces body weight by up to ~2.5 kg, body mass index (BMI) by ~1.1 kg/m2,  fasting glucose by β-11.03 mg/dL, insulin by β-1.33  μIU/mL of 32 diabetic patients for 12 weeks (Farrokhian, 2019).
  • Chromium is an essential nutrient involved in the metabolism of glucose, insulin, and blood lipids (Anderson, 1998a; Vincent, 2003; Anderson, 2008b).
  • Chromium (400 mg daily) significantly increases lean body mass by 3.3%, decreases fat mass by 4.6%, and decreases body fat percentage by 6.4% (Bulbulian, 1996). For an average 260 lbs (118 kg) individual, this would be 8.8lbs (4 kg) increase in lean body mass and 11.9 lbs (5.4 kg ) decrease in fat mass.
  • Chromium exerts positive effects on glucose, insulin, and lipid metabolism, decreases body fat percentage (by 6.4%), and increases lean body mass (Anderson, 1998a; Broadhurst, 2006).
  • Chromium significantly improves HbA1c (8.5% reduced to 6.6%), fasting glucose (decrease by 1.7 mmol/l), and two-hour glucose (decrease by 1.8 mmol/l) after 2 to 4 months supplementation (Anderson, 1997). Chromium also increases insulin receptor sensitivity by increased insulin binding (Anderson, 1986).
  • Chromium decreases cravings by increasing the density of dopamine receptors, increasing the reuptake of serotonin, improving the sensitivity of insulin, serotonin and dopamine in the brain, and improving glycemic control (Brownley 2015, Chen 2007, Docherty 2005, Lett 2005, McLeod 2000).

Overview

Chromium is a low-dose mineral present in many foods (broccoli, potatoes, whole-grain products, beef, and poultry). Chromium Picolinate is the safest form of Chromium found in dietary supplements. It promotes the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats by enhancing the potency of the hormone insulin, which in turn controls the absorption of amino acids. Sufficient Chromium improves the lowering of blood sugar, preventing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Chromium also allows minerals to absorb better by surrounding it with neutral molecules, which allows passing into the cell membrane. 

Chromium Effects on Weight Reduction

Chromium (400 mg daily) increases lean body mass by 3.3%, decreases fat mass by 4.6%, and decreases body fat percentage by 6.4%. For an average 260 lbs (118 kg) individual, this would be an 8.8 lbs (4 kg) increase in lean body mass and 11.9 lbs (5.4 kg) decrease in fat mass.

  • Chromium (≥150 µg daily) supplementation in men decreases weight by 3.1 lbs (1.4 kg), whereas men who did not supplement gained an average 11.7 lbs (5.3 kg) (Nachtigal, 2005).
  • Chromium (400 mg daily) increases lean body mass by 3.3%, decreases fat mass by 4.6%, and decreases body fat percentage by 6.4% (Bulbulian, 1996). For an average 260 lbs (118 kg) individual, this would be an 8.8lbs (4 kg) increase in lean body mass and an 11.9 lbs (5.4 kg) decrease in fat mass.
  • Chromium supplementation decreases weight gain by 78%. Women not supplementing with chromium have an average weight gain of 14.1 lbs (6.4 kg) over 10 years, whereas women supplementing with ≥150 µg/day only gained 3.2 lbs (1.4 kg ) (Nachtigal, 2005).
  • Chromium induces weight loss of 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg) over 10 to 13 weeks (Pittler, 2003). Improvements in this range, if sustained, could lead to a loss, or prevention of gain, of approximately 8.8 lbs (4 kg ) per year (Anderson, 2008a).
  • Even if Chromium only prevents the increase in body weight by 0.5 kg to 1 kg per year, it becomes consequential with time (Anderson, 2008a).
  • Chromium decreases cortisol concentration (Anderson, 1991). This is important for weight control because cortisol increases circulating insulin and increases fat accumulation (Anderson, 1991).
  • Chromium dose-dependently decreases food intake (Anton, 2008).
  • Chromium reduces cravings, food intake, and hunger levels, resulting in weight loss (Anton, 2008).
  • Chromium used long term is significantly associated with weight loss (Broadhurst, 2006).

Chromium Effects on Cravings

Chromium decreases cravings by improving glycemic control, increasing insulin, serotonin, and dopamine sensitivity in the brain and decreasing norepinephrine synthesis. Chromium increases the number of dopamine receptors which is associated with decreased cravings.

  • Chromium reduces sugar cravings (Docherty, 2005).
  • Chromium improves glycemic control and decreases insulin levels (Broadhurst, 2006). Improved glycemic control makes it easier for diabetics to control their cravings, as well as maintain or reduce weight (McLeod, 2000).
  • Chromium reduces cravings, food intake, and hunger levels by increasing the sensitivity and reuptake of serotonin and dopamine and decreases norepinephrine synthesis (McLeod, 2000; Anton, 2008; Lett, 2005). These hormonal changes result in decreased cravings in both obese and non-obese individuals (Lett, 2005; McLeod, 2000).
  • Chromium supplementation increases the quantity of dopamine receptors resulting in decreased cravings, especially for sugary foods, and obesity (Brownley, 2015; Chen, 2007).

Chromium Effects on Diabetes

Chromium decreases glucose (by 1.8 mmol/l) and HbA1C (by 2.1%), and improves insulin sensitivity in a dose-dependent manner. Chromium has been documented to reverse severe glucose intolerance and diabetic neuropathy.

  • Chromium (200 μg) reduces body weight by up to ~2.5 kg, body mass index (BMI) by ~1.1 kg/m2,  fasting glucose by β-11.03 mg/dL, insulin by β-1.33  μIU/mL of 32 diabetic patients for 12 weeks (Farrokhian, 2019). It also increases insulin resistance and sensitivity (Farrokhian, 2019).
  • Chromium improves HbA1c (8.5% reduced to 6.6%), fasting glucose (decrease by 1.7mmol/l), and two-hour glucose (decrease by 1.8 mmol/l) after 2 to 4 months supplementation (Anderson, 1997).
  • Chromium (200 μg) increases insulin sensitivity in individuals with type 1 or 2 diabetes and also permits reductions in dosage of insulin and/or oral anti-diabetic drugs after just 10 days (Chen, 1997).
  • Chromium improves glucose, insulin, and HbA1C in a dose dependent manner (Anderson, 2008a, 1998b). The mechanism of action involves increased insulin binding, increased insulin receptor number, and increased insulin receptor phosphorylation (Anderson, 1998b).
  • Chromium improves glycemic control and decreases insulin, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels (Broadhurst, 2006). Improved glycemic control makes it easier for diabetics to control their cravings, as well as maintain or reduce weight.
  • Chromium deficiency is linked to mature onset diabetes, and supplementation leads to significant improvements in glucose tolerance, insulin, and insulin binding (Anderson, 1986). This makes it easier to control blood glucose levels, and therefore reduce the risk of long term complications associated with uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Chromium supplementation at higher levels than recommendations reverses severe neuropathy and glucose intolerance (Jeejeebhoy, 1977; Anderson, 2008b; Anderson, 1998b). Chromium increases insulin binding to cells, insulin receptor number, and activates insulin receptor kinase leading to increased insulin sensitivity (Anderson, 2008b).

Benefits, Side Effects, Drug Interactions

Benefits

  • The beneficial effects of Chromium in individuals with diabetes are observed at levels higher than the upper limit of the Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intake, and no side effects have been recorded (Anderson, 2008b; Anderson, 1997).
  • Chromium is a good pharmacological alternative for reducing depression and anxiety (McLeod, 2000).

Safety

Chromium is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) according to FDA.

Side effects

  • Irregular heartbeats: Chromium may cause heart palpitations.
  • Sleep disturbances: Chromium may affect sleep quantity and quality.
  • Headaches: Chromium may rarely cause migraine or tension headaches.
  • Mood changes: Chromium may cause or worsen depression or anxiety.
  • Allergic reactions: Chromium may cause allergic reactions in individuals with chromate or leather contact allergies.

Drug interactions

  • Antidiabetic drugs: As both Chromium and antidiabetic drugs (especially insulin) decrease blood glucose levels, it is important to monitor glucose levels and speak to a physician about decreasing the antidiabetic drugs if required.
  • Antacids: These drugs may influence Chromium absorption or Chromium may amplify the effects of them.
  • Corticosteroids: These drugs may influence Chromium absorption or Chromium may amplify the effects of them.
  • Beta-blockers: These drugs may influence Chromium absorption or Chromium may amplify their effects.
  • NSAID (Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) painkillers: These drugs may influence Chromium absorption or Chromium may amplify their effects. 

Caution

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Chromium is likely safe during pregnancy (in doses below 30 micrograms per day) and breastfeeding (in doses below 45 micrograms per day).
  • Diabetes: As Chromium lowers blood glucose levels, it is important to monitor glucose levels to avoid hypoglycemic episodes.
  • Kidney or liver disease: Chromium may increase the risk of damage to the kidneys or liver. Individuals with kidney or liver disease should not take Chromium without a physician notice.
  • Depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia: Chromium might affect brain chemistry and make these conditions worse. Patients with these conditions should consult a physician before use.

References

  1. Farrokhian A, Mahmoodian M, Bahmani F, Amirani E, Shafabakhsh R, Asemi Z. The Influences of Chromium Supplementation on Metabolic Status in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Coronary Heart Disease. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2020;194(2):313-320. doi:10.1007/s12011-019-01783-7
  2. Anderson, R., Bryden, N., Polansky, M., et al. (1991). Effects of carbohydrate loading and underwater exercise on circulating cortisol, insulin and urinary losses of chromium and zinc. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology [online], 63 (2), pp. 146-50. Available from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00235185 [Accessed 28.04.2016]. 
  3. Anderson, R., Cheng, N., Bryden, N., et al. (1997). Elevated intakes of supplemental chromium improve glucose and insulin variables in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes [online], 46 (11), pp. 1786-91. Available from: http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/46/11/1786.short [Accessed 02.06.2016]. 
  4. Anderson, R. (1986). Chromium metabolism and its role in disease process in man. Clinical Physiology and Biochemistry [online], 4 (1), pp. 31-41. Available from: http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/3514054 [Accessed 01.06.2016]. 
  5. Anderson, R. (1998a). Effects of chromium on body composition and weight loss. Nutrition Reviews [online], 56 (9), pp. 266-70. Available from: http://nutritionreviews.oxfordjournals.org/content/56/9/266.abstract [Accessed 28.04.2016]. 
  6. Anderson, R. (1998b). Chromium, glucose intolerance and diabetes. Journal of the American College of Nutrition [online], 17 (6), pp. 548-55. Available from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.1998.10718802 [Accessed 02.06.2016]. 
  7. Anderson, R. (2008a). Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity. Proceedings from the Nutrition Society [online], 67 (01), pp. 48-53. Available from: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=1681080&fileId=s0029665108006010 [Accessed 28.04.2016]. 
  8. Anderson, R. (2008b). Chromium in the prevention and control of diabetes. Diabetes and Metabolism [online], 26 (1), pp. 22. Available from: http://www.em-consulte.com/en/article/79857 [Accessed 02.06.2016]. 
  9. Anton, S., Morrison, C., Cefalu, W., et al. (2008). Effects of Chromium Picolinate on Food Intake and Satiety. Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics [online], 10 (5), pp. 405-12. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2753428/ [Accessed 28.04.2016]. 
  10. Broadhurst, C., Domenico, P. (2006). Clinical Studies on Chromium Picolinate Supplementation in Diabetes Mellitus—A Review. Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics [online], 8 (6), pp. 677-87. Available from: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/dia.2006.8.677?src=recsys [Accessed 28.04.2016]. 
  11. Brownley, K., Peat, C., La Via, M., et al. (2015). Pharmacological approaches to the management of binge eating disorder. Drugs [online], 75 (1), pp.9-32. Available from: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40265-014-0327-0 [Accessed 02.06.2016].
  12. Bulbulian, R., Pringle, D., Liddy, M. (1996) Chromium picolinate supplementation in male and female swimmers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise [online], 28 (5), pp. S111. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232130324_Chromium_Picolinate_Supplementation_in_Male_and_Female_Swimmers_664 [Accessed 02.06.2016].
  13. Chen, S., Sun, Y., Chen, X. (1997). Effect of jiangtangkang on blood glucose, sensitivity of insulin and blood viscosity in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus [in Chinese]. Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi, 17, pp. 666–8. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10322847 [Accessed 02.06.2016]. 
  14. Chen, T., Blum, K., Kaats, G., et al. (2007). Chromium Picolinate (CrP) a putative anti-obesity nutrient induces changes in body composition as a function of Taq1 dopamine D2 receptor polymorphisms in a randomized double-blind placebo controlled study. Gene Therapy and Molecular Biology [online], 11, pp.161-70. Available from: http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q=cache:0VgRKYqVPMoJ:scholar.google.com/+Chromium+picolinate+and+cravings&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5 [Accessed 02.06.2016].
  15. Docherty, J., Sack, D., Roffman, M., et al. (2005). A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Exploratory Trial of Chromium Picolinate in Atypical Depression: Effect on Carbohydrate Craving. Journal of Psychiatric Practice [online], 11 (5), pp. 302-14. Available from: http://journals.lww.com/practicalpsychiatry/Abstract/2005/09000/A_Double_Blind,_Placebo_Controlled,_Exploratory.4.aspx [Accessed 28.04.2016]. 
  16. Jeejeebhoy, K., Chu, R., Marliss, E., et al. (1977). Chromium deficiency, glucose intolerance, and neuropathy reversed by chromium supplementation, in a patient receiving long-term parenteral nutrition. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [online], 30 (4), pp. 531-8. Available from: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/30/4/531?ijkey=d305c5b83cb9627e50935278fd2911f25f344fce&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha [Accessed 02.06.2016]. 
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Footnote

This research was sponsored by GLOBESITY FOUNDATION (nonprofit organization) and managed by Don Juravin. GLOBESITY Bootcamp for the obese is part of GLOBESITY FOUNDATION which helps obese with 70 to 400 lbs excess fat to adopt a healthy lifestyle and thereby achieve a healthy weight.

Tags: Chromium, healthy gut bacteria, GLOBESITY FOUNDATION, weight loss, weight reduction, healthy weight, diabetes, food craving, cravings

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3972307