Nutrition 21 explores chromium for cognitive health

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Chromium picolinate Nutrition

Nutrition 21 is publicizing new clinical data indicating a
positive effect of chromium picolinate on cognitive function,
the results of which look set to expand the functional profile of
the ingredient.

The New York State-based developer and marketer of chromium and omega-3 fish oil-based dietary supplements presented results of a clinical study showing that daily supplementation with 1,000mcg chromium as chromium picolinate improved cognitive function in older adults experiencing early memory decline. The results of the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study were presented to the medical community at a neurological meeting. Chromium picolinate has been used in supplements for weight management and diabetes because it increases glucose metabolism, but the new findings add clout to applications for cognitive health. "Ultimately, we may find that chromium supplementation offers benefit to patients, given the prevalence of metabolic disorders and associated cognitive decline in the aging population,"​ said Robert Krikorian, lead investigator and associate professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine's department of psychiatry. Chromium is an essential trace mineral that occurs naturally in small amounts in some foods, including brewer's yeast, lean meat, cheese, pork kidney and whole grain bread and cereals. It is poorly absorbed by the human body but is known to play an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat and protein. The study used Nutrition 21's proprietary chromium picolinate supplement - Core4life advanced memory formula - which contains a combination of chromium picolinate, phosphatidylserine (PS) and the omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). As part of Nutrition 21's study, 21 adults aged 65 years and older with early memory decline were given the supplements over a 12-week period. They were asked to learn a list of words presented over several learning trials and, after a delay, were asked to remember the words. Those receiving the chromium picolinate supplement showed a trend for reduced interference from irrelevant words (p = 0.12). In another task for assessing fine motor control and speed, the subjects receiving chromium picolinate exhibited enhanced motor speed relative to those receiving placebo (p = 0.16). At the end of the study, chromium to creatinine ratios were significantly elevated in the chromium picolinate group (p = .008), which points to increased levels of chromium in the blood. "Impaired glucose metabolism and insulin resistance have been linked to age-related cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer's disease,"​ said Krikorian. "These findings suggest that improving glucose metabolism with chromium picolinate supplementation may enhance cognition."

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