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How does chromium contribute to weight loss?

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Quick Answer

Studies have not sufficiently substantiated the claims that chromium contributes to weight loss, according to the National Institutes of Health. A review of 24 studies of participants who took 200 to 1,100 micrograms of chromium picolinate a day showed that the mineral had no significant effect on weight loss.

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Full Answer

Other studies have found slight effects on weight loss, but the clinical relevance of such findings is arguable, reports the National Institutes of Health. The fact that these studies were small and that researchers failed to control and account for the food intake of the participants properly makes their conclusions far from definitive. Marketers often tout chromium supplements for their ability to reduce fat and increase lean muscle mass, likely because research has demonstrated that the mineral plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, but further research must take place to prove weight-loss claims scientifically.

The federal government's dietary guidelines for Americans also recommend that people obtain most of their nutrients from foods and not supplements, says the National Institutes of Health. Natural sources of chromium include fruits, vegetables, grains and low-fat dairy products. Lean meats, poultry, beans, fish and eggs also provide the mineral naturally. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences' recommended daily intake of chromium ranges from 0.2 to 45 micrograms a day, depending on age, gender and whether pregnant or lactating.

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