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Chromium Polynicotinate Favorably Influences Genes That Promote Muscle Development, Fat Burning

In a promising new study, researchers at Ohio State University Medical Center have shown that ChromeMate® brand chromium polynicotinate GTF affects fat metabolism and muscle activity at the genetic level.

ChromeMate, produced by InterHealth Nutraceuticals, is an oxygen-coordinated niacin-bound form of supplemental chromium that has previously been shown to promote healthy glucose metabolism and lipid profiles, as well as lean body mass. It has been affirmed GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) for use in functional beverages.

In this new study, researchers looked at the effect that chromium polynicotinate might have on risk factors involved in Metabolic Syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that can include abdominal obesity, inefficient insulin action, high triglyceride and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Metabolic Syndrome can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.

The results of the new study showed that chromium polynicotinate positively influenced the expression of numerous genes involved in fat metabolism and muscle development. The study, recently published in Physiology Genomics, was conducted with Leprdb mice, which are born obese and diabetic and are a useful model for studying Metabolic Syndrome. The Leprdb mice typically suffer from abnormally high blood glucose and lipid profiles beginning at 30 days of life. Researchers investigated the effects of chromium polynicotinate versus placebo on the subcutaneous fat tissue (the fat tissue that lies under the second layer of the skin) of the animals by means of Gene Microarray Analysis, using more than 45,000 sets of mouse genome.

Chromium polynicotinate up-regulated (activated) the expression of four muscle-specific genes within the subcutaneous fat. These genes provide the signal for pre-adipocytes (fat precursor cells) to produce muscle instead of fat cells. These findings corroborate earlier studies showing that ChromeMate enhances the production of lean body mass.

ChromeMate down-regulated (de-activated) genes that encode (possess genetic information) for CIDEA and UCP1, which are key components in brown fat tissue thermogenesis, or the burning of fat for heat production. CIDEA is considered a “candidate” gene for obesity; mice that do not possess this gene are resistant to diet-induced obesity and diabetes. Chromium polynicotinate also down-regulated TTP, a gene that provides antioxidant support to all tissues for survival, in the subcutaneous fat. Therefore, ChromeMate stops antioxidant support to the subcutaneous fat tissues and ultimately kills the fat cells.

“We were very pleased with these findings,” said Debasis Bagchi, Ph.D., F.A.C.N., Senior Vice President of Research and Development for InterHealth. “The down-regulation of CIDEA and UCP1 is particularly heartening, because of their specific role related to obesity and because brown fat is the most difficult type of fat for people to lose. These results tell us that supplementation may in fact help individuals who are predisposed to having a problem losing brown fat tissue,” Dr. Bagchi added.

Dr. Bagchi also pointed out that ChromeMate influenced only a small select percentage of the genes screened, signifying that the supplement’s effect was limited to genes that it could positively impact and did not affect genes that could alter normal body functions or be considered indicators of toxicity in the body.

Prior to conducting the gene expression tests, researchers investigated the effects of chromium polynicotinate supplementation versus placebo on blood lipid and glucose profiles in the Leprdb mice. The findings corroborated previous studies showing that chromium polynicotinate improved blood lipids and increased the clearance of glucose from the bloodstream. ChromeMate significantly lowered total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and increased the level of HDL cholesterol. In addition, blood glucose cleared more rapidly in response to an oral glucose tolerance test.


Rink D, Roy S, Khanna S, Rink T, Bagchi D, Sen, CK. Transcriptome of the subcutaneous adipose tissue in response to oral supplementation of type 2 Leprdb obese diabetic mice with niacin-bound chromium. Physiol Genomics. 2006 Nov 27;27: 370-379.

Key concepts: chromium picolinate, glycemic control, diabetes,