Today’s article will further help you, the KAGED MUSCLE insider, sift through the noise and make an informed, evidence based decision on supplements.
Chromium Picolinate (CP) is a popular supplement for carbohydrate or glucose management. It works alongside insulin to help partition carbohydrates into the muscles and away from fat stores. Despite its common use, is this the best form available? This article breaks down the science of the common Chromium Picolinate compared with the patented version, ChromeMate.
The Science of ChromeMate 101
ChromeMate is a unique, patented niacin-bound chromium complex that significantly increases the bioavailability, biological activity and efficacy of chromium. The research into ChromeMate shows it may help control blood sugar levels, lipid modification and help you maintain a healthy bodyweight.
One study into ChromeMate showed it is a whopping 18 times more bioactive than other forms of chromium on the market! (1).
In animal models, where the absorption and retention rate were tested, they found it to be 600% greater than chromium chloride and 300% greater than the common CP (2).
ChromeMate on Blood Sugar Control
As mentioned, Chromium is a key supplement for helping with carbohydrate management. For any bodybuilder this is key, by aiding insulin you will partition more nutrients into the muscle and less away from fat.
Studies have shown a high-carb diet can reduce insulin function or sensitivity. This is called insulin resistance. Being insulin resistant means you are more likely to gain weight and be at increased risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
When your carbohydrate or blood glucose control is poor you will store more fat. This occurs via a process known as Denovolipogenisis and has been proven in scientific research.
Any supplement, diet or training regime that can help improve carbohydrate management is absolutely key for health, fat loss and muscle growth.
ChromeMate tested this at Georgetown University and Creighton University and found that 3mg of ChromeMate, which provided 300mg of Chromium, significantly lowered fasting blood glucose levels. It also improved HbA1c levels which is a long term marker of carbohydrate tolerance and a good indicator of metabolic health (5).
ChromeMate for Fat Loss
Based on the mechanisms mentioned above, ChromeMate may be a beneficial fat loss supplement.
In one randomized control study, 43 obese women were provided with 4mg (400mcg of chromium), combined with an exercise program. After 8 weeks, the exercise group alone lost no weight, which demonstrates no alteration in diet or energy balance. However, the ChromeMate supplement group witnessed a 2.4lb weight loss, which may have been more if the diet had been stricter or more controlled. Insulin levels in response to a glucose tolerance test (a high carb meal) were also improved (6).
Interestingly, they compared a CP supplement at the same time, but that did not result in weight loss which was the case in the ChromeMate supplement.
A similar study compared 6mg ChromeMate over a 2 month period. They found, when compared to placebo, that it caused similar weight loss (2.5lb) and minimized any muscle mass loss, which is key for the bodybuilder (7).
As you can see, ChromeMate seems to be a higher quality, more bioavailable supplement. Other studies have shown ChromeMate is more beneficial than normal CP for markers of health such as blood sugar control, cholesterol, lipid profile and oxidative stress (7, 8, 9).
In the studies cited above, ChromeMate seems to be an effective supplement for blood glucose and carbohydrate management. It may also aid in weight loss to a greater extent than CP. It would be interesting to see its effects on the bodybuilder, especially during a bulk phase where carbohydrate and calorie intake is very high. From a scientific perspective, any supplement that can help with carb management would be key in this scenario for minimizing fat gain and maximizing nutrient partitioning into muscle.
For these reasons, Clean Burn uses ChromeMate over standard CP. As you can see, Clean Burn may be beneficial for both dieting and even in bulking / muscle growth phases.
Cooper JA, Anderson BF, Buckley PD, Blackwell LF. Structure and biological activity of nitrogen and oxygen coordinated nicotinic acid complexes of chromium. Inorg Chim Acta. 1984;91:1-9.
Olin KL, Stearns DM, Armstrong WH, Keen CL. Comparative retention/absorption of 51chromium (51Cr) from 51Cr chloride, 51Cr nicotinate and 51Cr picolinate in a rat model. Trace Elem Electrol. 1994;11:182-186.
Bagchi M, Jensen N, Preuss HG, Bagchi D. Efficacy and toxicological assessment of a novel, niacin-bound chromium in ameliorating metabolic disorders, 10th International Congress of Toxicology-Finland 197:abs. 354, July 2004.
Preuss HG, Wallerstedt D, Talpur N, et al. Effects of niacin-bound chromium and grape seed proanthocyanidin extract on the lipid profile of hypercholesterolemic subjects: A pilot study. J Med. 2000;31:227-246.
Lefavi RG, Wilson D, Keith RE, Anderson RA, Blessing DL. Lipid-lowering effect of a dietary chromium (III)-nicotnic acid complex in male athletes. Nutr Res. 1993;13:239-249.
Grant KE, Chandler RM, Castle AL, Ivy JL. Chromium and exercise training: effect on obese women. Med
Crawford C, Scheckenback R, Preuss HG. Effects of niacin-bound chromium supplementation on body composition in overweight African-American women. Diab Obes Metabol. 1999;1:331-337.
Jain SK, Rains JL, Croad JL. High glucose and ketosis (acetoacetate) increases, and chromium niacinate decreases, IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 secretion and oxidative stress in U937 monocytes. Antiox Redox Signal. 2007;9:1581-1590.
Jain SK, Rains JL, Croad JL. Effect of chromium niacinate and chromium picolinate supplementation on lipid peroxidation, TNF-α, IL-6, CRP, glycated hemoglobin, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels in blood of streptozotocin-treated diabetic rats. Free Rad Biol Med. 2007;43:1124-1131.