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Chromium picolinate supplement benefits and dosages

What you need to know about the benefits of a chromium supplement, and whether there are any side effects.

Sophie Medlin
Head of Nutritional Research
February 17, 2020
4 min read

Relatively little is known about chromium as a dietary supplement. The research is still recent, but we’ve made great progress in the last couple of decades. In this article, we’ll look at what we know about the benefits and uses of a chromium picolinate supplement, and whether there are any side effects.

What is chromium picolinate?

Chromium picolinate is the most commonly used chromium compound used in supplements. Other compounds, like chromium chloride do exist, but have a lower absorption rate. Since 2001, chromium been designated an essential trace mineral, but as humans can’t generate it in the body, we need to get it from outside sources, like our diet.

When researching chromium, it’s important to draw a distinction between the two main types. Trivalent chromium is the form that appears in food and supplements, whereas hexavalent chromium is completely different—a byproduct from industrial processes, and not something you’ll find in any supplement on the market.

Should I take a chromium picolinate supplement?

The nutrient reference value (NRV) for chromium picolinate is 40mcg per day. The Heights Smart Supplement contains 100mcg (equal to 10 cups of broccoli or a 9lb turkey breast) so 250% of the NRV. That way there’s no danger of not getting enough.

Which foods contain chromium?

While only ever appearing in small quantities, a lot of foods contain some level of chromium. The precise quantities are hard to standardise, as they are affected by variable levels of chromium in the soil (or in animal products, in the livestock’s diet). However, foods generally considered good sources of chromium include:

  • Meat

  • Fruit juices

  • Whole grains

  • Green vegetables

The benefits of a chromium picolinate supplement

Study into the benefits of chromium is still fairly young, so there is a lot of ongoing research. While there is still debate over the exact effects of chromium, there are signs that it might help with:

  • Improving energy utilisation from food

  • Regulating blood sugar levels

  • DNA synthesis

  • Alleviating symptoms of depression

  • Suppressing binge-eating impulses

What are the symptoms of a chromium deficiency?

Chromium picolinate deficiencies are extremely rare in healthy people, so there is little consensus about what the symptoms of a deficiency might be. Several studies in the late 20th century suggested that a chromium deficiency might lead to adverse effects like hyperglycaemia, glucose intolerance, or confusion, but there is not enough evidence to confirm that this is the case.

Are there any chromium picolinate side effects?

There aren’t any known side effects to high chromium intakes from food or supplements. That means that health authorities haven’t designated an upper limit (although the NHS suggests over 10mg—the equivalent of 200 Heights capsules—a day might be excessive), and we can pack a lot of it into the Smart Supplement.

How we use chromium in the Smart Supplement

We've formulated the Heights Smart Supplement with chromium picolinate, the chromium compound with the best absorption, so that your brain gets all the benefits. You can be sure that:

  • Each dose contains 250% of the NRV for chromium.

  • Our chromium picolinate is pure and quality-tested.

  • Everything is manufactured in small batches.

  • It meets many common dietary and lifestyle practices: It's gluten-free, 100% plant-based, allergen-free and contains absolutely zero GMOs, contaminants, fillers or colourants.

Our formula

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Evidence

Here’s a handful of relevant scientific studies on chromium.

  • Davidson, J. R., Abraham, K., Connor, K. M., & McLeod, M. N. (2003). Effectiveness of chromium in atypical depression: a placebo-controlled trial. Biological psychiatry, 53(3), 261-264.

  • McLeod, M. N., & Golden, R. N. (1999). Chromium potentiation of antidepressant pharmacotherapy for dysthymic disorder in 5 patients. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 60(4), 237-240.

We also used these sources when writing this article:

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