Vitamins in Sport: Does Chromium Picolinate Build Muscle?
Taking vitamins in sport to supplement your muscles and support every system in your body as you train, test, and push it to physical and mental extremes is important. If you are an athlete, or simply love to train like a Navy Seal then you know this. One of the minerals that is often supplemented in many sports related vitamins is Chromium, most often in the form of chromium picolinate. As with many of the natural ingredients in the best dietary supplements this one has also run a gamut of tests to see what the benefits are for chromium and also any risks associated with it.
The Role of Chromium for Vitamins in Sport
Just like many of the vitamin and mineral ingredients included in the best dietary supplements, chromium is naturally found in the foods you consume on a daily basis like meat, fish, poultry and whole grains. The problem however is that often when these foods are processed, the chromium is stripped away. In fact, an early study revealed that sugar in its raw form contained chromium. When that sugar is refined into the form that is present in much of the American diet, that chromium was removed in the process. It’s interesting to note that in its raw, natural state the food had the necessary minerals to be properly used by the body.
Since many foods are processed, vitamins in sport and daily life are taken to replace what has been removed.
While chromium deficiency is rare, people who are more active and involved in strength and endurance training are more likely to have lower amounts than needed. And while studies are unclear about what exactly the role of chromium is in your body, it does seem to have a positive effect on insulin regulation. At least one study revealed that low levels of chromium resulted in low insulin performance and that chromium is a cofactor with insulin.
If you are taking vitamins in sport and for endurance activities you’ll appreciate its importance in the metabolism of fats, carbs, and protein. Also, you should be aware that marginal intake of chromium combined with physiological stress, physical trauma and extreme exercise could result in chromium deficiency.
Vitamins in Sport and How to Ensure Proper Absorption of Chromium
You’ll notice that most forms of dietary chromium are combined with another element so that they can be readily absorbed by the body. Most often you will see it in the form of chromium picolinate. Foods that contain ascorbic acid promote chromium absorption such as:
- Red and Green Bell Peppers
- Tomato Juice
However, be sure to prepare these foods with as little heat as possible to prevent the loss of Vitamin C, which is water soluble.
Alternately, foods that contain phytates bind to the chromium and can inhibit the mineral from transport across the intestinal tract and inhibit absorption. These foods are healthy and contain other things your body needs so they are not “bad” or something you should avoid. You just need to be aware that consuming them may limit the trace minerals absorbed by your body:
Some medicines may also interfere with the absorption of chromium into your system when you take vitamins in sport:
- Medicines that alter stomach acidity such as antacids, corticosteroids, and proton pump inhibitors
- Beta-blockers which are normally used to treat conditions such as abnormal heart rhythm, high blood pressure, tremors and migraines
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed for thing such as arthritis, tendinitis, and bursitis and can be found in OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and prioxicam.
- Prostaglandin inhibitors
Vitamins in Sport for Lean Muscle Mass and Fat Reduction
A lot has been written and advertised about chromium picolinate and its benefits for gaining lean muscle mass, weight loss and fat reduction. There were a few studies that suggested there was a connection; however, there were also several studies that stated the results were not as fabulous as one would hope.
So what should you believe when you’re taking vitamins for sport?
Well, you’re an athlete, or you’re involved in training, exercise and an active lifestyle so you know that there is no cure in a bottle. Achieving longevity and a quality of life that includes keeping your body and mind fit for performance comes from dedication, consistent effort, eating the right foods, and taking the best dietary supplements, right?
The best answer will come from what you experience because everyone’s body and what you put into it is a little bit different. However, one thing to be aware of for athletes, is that better results seem to come to those that take chromium picolinate in combination with other supplements such as L-Carnitine.
Getting the proper vitamins in sport is all about getting the right combination of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals and delivering them in the right combination at the right time. This balance will result in optimal performance. For most, the best dietary supplements will help achieve that balance.
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