Effects of chromium supplementation on glycogen synthesis after high-intensity exercise

Document Type

Journal Article


Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science / Centre of Excellence in Alzheimer’s Disease Research




Volek, J. S., Silvestre, R., Kirwan, J. P., Sharman, M. J., Judelson, D. A., Spiering, B. A., ... & Kraemer, W. J. (2006). Effects of chromium supplementation on glycogen synthesis after high-intensity exercise. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 38(12), 2102. Available here


Purpose: Chromium enhances insulin signaling and insulin-mediated glucose uptake in cultured cells. We investigated the effect of chromium on glycogen synthesis and insulin signaling in humans. Methods: Sixteen overweight men (BMI = 31.1 +/- 3.0 kg.m) were randomly assigned to supplement with 600 microg.d chromium as picolinate (Cr; N = 8) or a placebo (Pl; N = 8). After 4 wk of supplementation, subjects performed a supramaximal bout of cycling exercise to deplete muscle glycogen, which was followed by high-glycemic carbohydrate feedings for the next 24 h. Muscle biopsies were obtained at rest, immediately after exercise, and 2 and 24 h after exercise. Results: Elevations in glucose and insulin during recovery were not different, but the lactate response was significantly higher in Cr. There was a significant depletion in glycogen immediately after exercise, an increase at 2 h, and a further increase above rest at 24 h (P < 0.05). The rate of glycogen synthesis during the 2 h after exercise was not different between groups (Cr: 25.8 +/- 8.0 and Pl: 17.1 +/- 4.7 mmol.kg.h). Glycogen synthase activity was significantly increased immediately after exercise in both groups. Muscle phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) activity decreased immediately after exercise and increased at 2 h (P < 0.05), with a trend for a lower PI 3-kinase response in Cr (P = 0.08). Conclusions: Chromium supplementation did not augment glycogen synthesis during recovery from high-intensity exercise and high-carbohydrate feeding, although there was a trend for lower PI 3-kinase activity.





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