Efficacy of Chromium Supplementation in Athletes; Emphasis on Anabolism

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
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As the biologically active component of glucose tolerance factor (GTF), the essential trace mineral chromium is now being marketed to athletes. GTF potentiates insulin activity and is responsible for normal insulin function. Thus, insulin's effects on carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism are dependent upon the maintenance of adequate chromium stores. Due to excessive chromium loss and marginal chromium intake, athletes may have an increased requirement for chromium. Therefore, in some circumstances the dietary supplementation of a chromium compound may be efficacious. The restoration and maintenance of chromium stores via supplementation would promote optimal insulin efficiency, necessary for high-level athletic performance. However, potential anabolic effects of enhanced insulin function would likely be marginal, and reports of short-term anabolic increases from the supplementation of an organic chromium compound need to be confirmed.

Lefavi and McMillan are with the Health and Human Performance Laboratory, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA 30460. Anderson is with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Human Nutrition Res. Ctr., Bldg. 307, Beltsville, MD 20705. Keith and Wilson are with the Depts. of Nutrition & Foods, and Health & Human Performance, respectively. Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36830. Stone is with the Dept. of Health, Leisure & Exer. Science at Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28607.