Chromium GTF: Benefits, Uses, and Properties Explained

Chromium is an essential mineral that helps to regulate insulin. Chromium is a chemical element that commonly exists in the oxidation states: Cr6+, Cr3+, and Cr2+. In terms of a mineral for human consumption, Cr3+ (Trivalent Chromium) is the only oxidation state that has been shown to have beneficial effects. In fact, Cr6+ (Hexavalent Chromium) is a known carcinogen1.

Trivalent Chromium is given in supplemental form as Chromium Chloride, Chromium Picolinate, Chromium Polynicotinate (otherwise known as niacin-bound Chromium), or Chromium GTF. Chromium Polynicotinate and Chromium Picolinate only differ in the spacing by the position of the nitrogen in the functional groups, and thus result in different molecular geometries for each structure, giving slightly different effects in the body.

Figure 1: Chromium (III) Picolinate (Left) and Chromium (III) Polynicotinate (Right)


Chromium supplementation has been found to further reduce fat and spare muscle when following an exercise and diet regimen compared to placebo2. Chromium is also useful for improving brain function, lowering cholesterol, improving immune system function, and improving diabetes symptoms.




Chromium GTF:

In the human body, Chromium is used to synthesize a complex known as Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF): The biologically active form of trivalent Chromium. GTF physiologically enhances insulin activity by binding to insulin, binding to the cell and is able to potentiate its action by three-fold3, and when exogenous GTF is administered alongside insulin, GTF and insulin act synergistically4.


Figure 2: Method of GTF – Insulin Binding Activity


The molecular structure of GTF is not yet completely known, but has been proposed to be a complex of chromium, nicotinic acid (vitamin B3), and a few amino acids such as glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid5.

Figure 3: A proposed structure for GTF


Though all trivalent Chromium sources lead to synthesis of GTF, not all chromium sources are created equal. Dietary Chromium GTF – where trivalent chromium is bound in a matrix of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (Brewer’s Yeast) Nutritional Yeast is the most effective at reducing insulin resistance and performs best compared to other Chromium sources6. This is because consumption of GTF does not get degraded when ingested, resulting in more available GTF in the body. Chromium GTF is also necessary for the elderly and insulin-requiring diabetics, because they have difficulties converting Chromium to GTF on their own7.

When choosing a supplement for chromium GTF, it is important that the ingredients show chromium bound to Brewer’s Yeast/ Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, as labels are able to state they contain chromium GTF due to its biological activity of forming GTF after ingestion, but these products do not contain the chemical structure of GTF, which is necessary for optimal effects of Chromium.










DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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