You May Also Be Interested In:
Chromium is an element that occurs widely in nature. It is thought to be required by animals in very minute amounts, where it serves in a factor that regulates glucose metabolism and blood glucose levels. Also, it seems to affect insulin sensitivity. The chromium needs are so low that researchers have not been able to quantify a specific requirement.
The chromium content of natural feeds is very low and most of it is not available to animals. Also, most inorganic forms of chromium, such as chromium oxide and chromium chloride, are inert and not biologically available to pigs. However, a complexed form of the element, chromium picolinate, is considerably more biologically available to animals.
Chromium picolinate has been available in health food stores for many years. Chromium is currently used by some athletes in weight training because it is perceived to enhance the building of body muscle. Because of this, researchers attempted to find out if chromium picolinate would increase muscling in pigs.
The first research was conducted at Louisiana State University by Dr. Lee Southern. In his first experiments, loin eye area was dramatically increased and backfat was substantially decreased when chromium picolinate was fed to growing finishing pigs. These responses were achieved with extremely small amounts of chromium picolinate in the feed, only 200 parts per billion (ppb) .