Low dietary intake of chromium among adults in the United States and in many countries around the world has placed renewed attention on this essential micronutrient in supplement formulations. That said, not all forms of chromium are equal. Science is conclusive that chromium from yeast is better absorbed and more effective than other forms, but many marketers are not clarifying the difference. For example, some formulas use marketing and labeling verbiage discussing the Glucose Tolerance Factor or GTF in their chromium, which is known to increase its bioavailability. However, in most cases the formulas contain non-food forms of chromium, such as chromium picolinate, which does not contain GTF.
GTF is produced from a living organism (yeast), which has been shown to be better absorbed and may be more efficient for activation of membrane phosphotyrosine in mammals.1,2 This improved glucose regulation is what is known to support healthy levels of body fat and optimal weight and body composition, one of the key benefits from GTF chromium supplementation.
As supplement manufacturers add chromium to their products, many are not distinguishing between the forms, which can be misleading to consumers. Numerous chromium picolinate products, for example, are touted to help users lose weight, build muscles, boost metabolic rate and lower cholesterol and food cravings. But no studies have made this connection with non-food forms and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has concluded that the relationship between chromium picolinate and insulin resistance is uncertain.
This is why we point to Vitamin World as exemplary and Best-in-Class this month-- because it offers two chromium products and correctly distinguishes between the two forms. It’s GTF chromium formula describes chromium as a “key component of the glucose tolerance factor (GTF) that works to support your body’s use of sugar. Chromium also plays a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The chromium in this product is bound to specially grown yeast. Vitamin World’s Chromium is highly absorbable and provides 100% pure GTF chromium factors.” The product contains 200 mcg of chromium, as GTF chromium yeast.
Vitamin World’s Chromium Picolinate product correctly does not mention GTF. It describes this chromium as a trace mineral and essential nutrient needed daily and that it is a yeast-free formula. This product contain 200 mcg of chromium as Chromium Picolinate.
The science on form is very clear. Long-term human and clinical studies have found that chromium absorption is more sustained and reaches higher levels with chromium yeast as compared to synthesized ‘organic’ forms. Because the mechanism of chromium absorption is through active transport, only so much of the non-bound salt or ‘organic’ forms can be absorbed at a single point in the gut. Food-bound chromium, on the other hand, is absorbed as it is digested throughout the GI tract.3
Many studies have attempted to investigate the effect of non-food, chelated ‘organically bound’ chromium, such as picolinate and nicotinate forms. Research on these non-food forms over the past 30+ years has yielded more questions than answers. For example, studies on chromium picolinate, which is not found in food sources of chromium, generally show limited improvements in absorption. Cytotoxic, genotoxic and mutagenic effects of chromium picolinate have also raised concerns about its safety in supplement products. This toxicity has not been found in food-form minerals.
Beyond the bioavailability and efficacy, there are other factors that make GTF yeast-bound chromium preferable. The yeast is grown in a controlled environment using a specific strain for optimized quality and consistency. Yeast is an unparalleled micronutrient delivery system that is standardized to narrow limits and is subject to less variation than even food-based sources of micronutrients, which may be subject to climate factors, species and variety difference, and processing methods.
Also because the absorption is better with chromium from yeast, less ingredient is needed to exert the same effect as other forms of chromium. Because smaller amounts are needed, GTF chromium allows manufacturers to make a higher quality product with better dosage precision and less variation in potency.
To learn more about important opportunities to develop relevant products with Cypress Ingredients’ GTF Excell Chromium Yeast 250, we have gathered a range of resources to cover your business needs, from current clinical research to formulation insights and strategies.
Inside our Blood Sugar Management Spotlight:
- Understanding GTF Chromium: benefits of food-bound chromium from yeast
- Formulator's Corner, by Jim Roufs, MS, RD: Blood Sugar Management
- Turnkey Formulations: Blood Sugar Management
- Research Review, by Mark Whitacre, PhD: GTF Excell High-Chromium Yeast
- Product Highlights: Best in Class GTF Chromium From Vitamin World... it's about the yeast
- White Paper: Food-Bound Chromium and the Scientific Support for GTF Excell High-Chromium Yeast