Effects of chromium picolinate on body composition

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 1995 Dec;35(4):273-80.


Objective: This study explored the efficacy of chromium picolinate as a fat-reduction aid for obese individuals enrolled in a physical exercise program.

Experimental design: The study employed a double-blind, placebo-controlled protocol and lasted for 16 weeks.

Setting: The physical conditioning programs were conducted on Navy bases (gymnasium, athletic field, etc.) and met a minimum of three times per week for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise.

Participants: Participants were healthy, active-duty Navy personnel (79 men, 16 women) who exceeded the Navy's percent body fat standards of 22% fat for men, 30% for women. Mean age was 30.3 years; racial distribution was 76% white, 16% black, and 8% other. Comparisons between the 95 study completers and the 109 dropouts revealed no significant differences in demographics or baseline percent body fat.

Interventions: Bottles of capsules containing either 400 micrograms chromium picolinate or a placebo were distributed to the designated individuals by their fitness program coordinator. Participants took one capsule per day and kept a log of their daily exercise activities. They also completed a pre-post questionnaire concerning their health and lifestyle habits.

Measures: Primary outcome measures were percent body fat, body weight, and lean body mass. Percent body fat was computed from body circumference measurements and height. Analyses controlled for diet and exercise.

Results: At the end of 16 weeks, the group as a whole had lost a small amount of weight and body fat. However, the chromium group failed to show a significantly greater reduction in either percent body fat or body weight, or a greater increase in lean body mass, than did the placebo group.

Conclusions: It was concluded that chromium picolinate was ineffective in enhancing body fat reduction in this group and could not be recommended as an adjuvant to Navy weight-loss programs in general.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iron Chelating Agents / pharmacology*
  • Iron Chelating Agents / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Military Personnel
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Picolinic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Picolinic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Iron Chelating Agents
  • Picolinic Acids
  • picolinic acid