There are two schools of thought when it comes to the benefits of chromium picolinate for losing weight.
There are those who believe that it plays a role in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, and therefore can be supplemented as a weight loss aid.
Then there are others who talk about the dangers of chromium picolinate, claiming it could be cancer-causing as it influences the amount of free radicals (toxic chemicals) in the bloodstream.
It's difficult to determine as there are very few significant studies available on this nutrient, and those that exist are relatively inconclusive.
Let's look at the potential benefits...
Chromium works with insulin to transport glucose to the body's cells to produce energy. As such it may improve glucose metabolism, which could help regulate weight.
As it may be helpful in assisting insulin, it may benefit those with Type II Diabetes, as decreased chromium levels are a characteristic of the disease.
Some other purported benefits include: appetite suppression, muscle building and heart disease prevention.
What about the potential drawbacks?
Although research is limited, there are some studies that point to its cancer causing ability. In a study on hamsters, it was shown to alter genetic material in cells, which raises concerns about cancer risk.
There have also been cases of kidney failure and muscle breakdown, but these dangers of chromium picolinate were associated with very large dosages. Excessive dosages of most supplements, even vitamins, can be harmful to your health.
Whether or not it is an effective weight loss supplement has yet to be conclusively determined, as have the other health benefits and potential dangers.
However, a large percentage of diet supplements on the market do contain chromium picolinate along with other nutrients, and many people have experienced success with these products without any significant side effects.
Hopefully, more large studies will be performed on this supplement, so we can know with more certainty whether the health benefits are valid, and whether the claims that chromium picolinate may cause cancer are justified.
If you are considering supplementation, make sure you consult your physician first and always adhere to recommended dosages to avoid any potential adverse reactions.