Chromium polynicotinate is an alternative form of the element chromium that allows for better absorption in the human body than other forms of chromium. It was developed and patented by the Department of Agriculture in the United States and it can be taken daily as an additional nutritional supplement. Chromium is not easily absorbed by the human body—it is estimated that more than 80 percent of adults have a chromium deficiency. For this reason, it may be necessary to obtain chromium from alternative sources.
This form of chromium binds with vitamin B-3, also known as niacin; the result of which can easily be absorbed in the body. There are various other forms of chromium, including chromium picolinate and chromium aspartate. Chromium polynicotinate can be bought as a supplement and taken on a daily basis. The recommended dosage of chromium polynicotinate is 50 to 200 micrograms (mcg) per day. It is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women consume a slightly higher daily dosage to ensure an adequate amount of chromium is absorbed.
Benefits of chromium include weight loss, increased lean muscle mass and a reduction in blood-glucose levels. Chromium is also believed to enhance the effectiveness of insulin in the body, which may be beneficial to diabetic patients. Chromium may also assist in the metabolism of fats and proteins.
Studies have shown that by combining chromium polynicotinate with their training program, athletes will likely experience a 21-percent increase in fat loss and a 42-percent increase in lean muscle mass. Studies have also shown that this form of chromium may improve the ratio of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) to low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in cholesterol levels.
It has also been suggested that chromium polynicotinate may help to reduce the aging process in individuals. Since chromium has a beneficial influence on insulin, it may help keep insulin levels low and regulated, thereby improving overall health. This supplement should be taken with meals.
It is suggested that the side effects of chromium may include kidney damage and anemia. Chromium picolinate has been known to cause chromosome damage However, the use of chromium polynicotinate is considered to be completely safe when used at the recommended dosage. Chromium may be found in many multivitamin supplements and is usually considered inexpensive as well.