Background: Chromium is an essential trace element and nutritional supplement that has garnered interest for use as a weight loss aid.
Objective: This trial assesses the effects of chromium picolinate supplementation, alone and combined with nutritional education, on weight loss in apparently healthy overweight adults.
Design: This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 80 otherwise healthy, overweight adults assessed at baseline for central adiposity measured by computerized tomography. Subjects were randomly assigned to daily ingestion of 1000 microg of chromium picolinate or placebo for 24 weeks. All subjects received passive nutritional education at the 12-week point in both the intervention and control groups. Outcomes include weight, height, blood pressure, percent body fat, serum, and urinary biomarkers.
Results: At baseline, both the chromium and placebo groups had similar mean body mass index (BMI) (chromium = 36 +/- 6.7 kg/m(2) versus placebo = 36.1 +/- 7.6 kg/m(2); p = 0.98). After 12 weeks, no change was seen in BMI in the intervention as compared to placebo (chromium = 0.3 +/- 0.8 kg/m(2) versus placebo = 0.0 +/- 0.4 kg/m(2); p = 0.07). No change was seen in BMI after 24 weeks in the intervention as compared to placebo (chromium = 0.1 +/- 0.2 kg/m(2) versus placebo = 0.0 +/- 0.5 kg/m(2); p = 0.81). Variation in central adiposity did not affect any outcome measures.
Conclusions: Supplementation of 1000 microg of chromium picolinate alone, and in combination with nutritional education, did not affect weight loss in this population of overweight adults. Response to chromium did not vary with central adiposity.