11 Supplements that Fight Intense Sugar Cravings
Sugar addictions and cravings can make it challenging to adopt a healthy eating lifestyle.
Eliminating unnecessary excess sugar from the diet and curbing cravings may seem like a monumentally challenging task, but it is achievable. Several supplements may help reduce sugar cravings.
Listed below are a few of the supplements that may help reduce or prevent sugar cravings.
L-TRYPTOPHAN: L-tryptophan is an amino acid that might help overcome sugar cravings. When a person consumes sugar-laden products, serotonin, one of the “happy hormones” (also a neurotransmitter), is released. By consuming sugar, a person feels happy because of the increased production of serotonin, which helps regulate mood.
L-tryptophan is needed to make serotonin; it helps produce this neurotransmitter. By having adequate amounts of this amino acid in the body, a person could maintain serotonin levels without consuming sugar-laden products.
When serotonin level falls, cravings for sugar could increase. Therefore, supplementing with L-tryptophan may help maintain adequate serotonin levels and reduce sugar cravings.
L-tryptophan is in protein-rich foods such as fish, turkey, chicken, and red meat. Non-meat sources include broccoli, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, peas, watercress, and mushrooms.
It is available in supplement form and should not be taken in combination with prescribed anti-depressants. L-tryptophan is also used for relaxation and sleep, so be mindful of when you take it, as it may cause drowsiness.
LIPASE: Lipase is an enzyme that aids in the digestion of fat. It can assist the body in breaking down fat and using it as an energy source. It is one of the components of pancreatic juice in the pancreas, which may help reduce or stop sugar cravings.
This digestive enzyme is usually combined with other digestive enzymes in supplement form. Experts recommend taking digestive enzyme supplements at least two hours before eating unless instructed otherwise.
VITAMIN B1 – THIAMINE: Thiamine (vitamin B1) is essential for carbohydrate metabolism. It helps the body consume carbohydrates more efficiently. A diet that is heavy in added sugars has been shown to deplete the body of b-vitamins, including b1.
Usually, vitamin B1 is water-soluble, but some supplements and derivatives are also fat-soluble. A fat-soluble B1-vitamin is Benfotiamine (found in legumes and grains).
Benfotiamine may fight sugar cravings because studies show it is absorbed in the body at a higher rate. This higher absorption is due to their feature of being soluble in fat.
If you’re having a deficiency of vitamin B1, you may have the urge to consume more sugar and carbohydrates than usual. Benfotiamine may not only replenish the deficiency but may also reduce cravings for something sweet.
Fat-soluble thiamine may be an alternate solution for people who cannot properly absorb vitamin B1.
COENZYME Q10: Coenzyme Q10, medically known as ubiquinone, is a vital coenzyme present in the mitochondria which aid the generation of energy from glucose in human cells.
In the mitochondria, Coenzyme Q10 promotes cell activity and viability. As a supplement, it may improve carbohydrate utilization and combat intense sugar cravings because of its potential to regulate blood sugar. However, they may also reduce the effectiveness of anticoagulant (blood thinners) medications.
L-GLUTAMINE: L-glutamine is an amino acid found in both animal and plant proteins. It assists in regulating blood sugar and insulin, which ultimately helps in controlling sugar cravings.
It may promote muscle growth and fat loss. Studies revealed that people with adequate amounts of L-glutamine in their bodies may be less vulnerable to intestinal permeability or “leaky gut.”
GYMNEMA SYLVESTRE: Gymnema Sylvestre may reduce sugar cravings by altering the sensitivity of taste buds, thus causing sugar to appear less appetizing.
If a person is on medication, they must consult with their physician to avoid any possible interactions. The recommended dosage is taking up to 4 g (grams) orally, one to three times daily.
FISH OIL: Several studies suggested that fish oils may enhance insulin sensitivity and help maintain normal glucose levels in the bloodstream. In turn, this may help reduce sugar cravings.
ACETYL-L-CARNITINE: The acetylated form of L-carnitine is known for its ability to help the body burn fat by transporting the fatty acids to muscle cells, where they get used for energy. This mechanism helps reduce cells’ reliance on sugar for energy and creates a lower demand for sugar, which may help reduce sugar cravings.
It is recommended to consume 500mg up to three times a day on an empty stomach or between meals.
L-CARNOSINE: During the breakdown of carbohydrates, advanced glycation products get produced. As a result, these substances can compromise metabolism and make a person crave sugar. L-carnosine acid may eliminate advanced glycation end-products and reduce sugar cravings, even when a person consumes carbohydrates.
It also possesses antioxidant properties that may help reduce oxidative stress in the body.
CHROMIUM: Chromium helps regulate insulin and blood sugar levels. It may also prevent insulin resistance and lower the risk of heart disease.
A person with severe chromium deficiency may have an intense craving for sweets and sugars. Chromium supplements may help reduce sugar cravings because of the role it plays in glucose and insulin regulation.
ZINC: Chronic blood sugar imbalances could lead to sugar cravings. Additionally, blood sugar irregularities may indicate a zinc deficiency.
Improving zinc levels may help stabilize blood sugar, therefore potentially reducing sugar cravings. Consume zinc in controlled quantities to prevent toxicity.
Foods rich in zinc include yogurt, beans, and almonds.
The suggested daily zinc intake is 8 mg (milligrams) for women and 11 mg (milligrams) for men and pregnant women. However, note that zinc toxicity can occur at daily intakes over 40mg, so be sure to supplement in moderation.
As discussed, many different supplements may help reduce sugar cravings. Using them allows you to take advantage of their many health benefits in addition to potentially reducing or eliminating sugar cravings.
If any of these supplements pique your interest, you are advised to research them in further detail with a doctor or medical professional.
A doctor may advise against taking them if pregnant or nursing. Curbing sugar cravings is just one small piece of the weight loss puzzle.
Remember: Eat less sugar since you’re sweet enough already!
If you found this article helpful, please consider sharing it. We’d greatly appreciate it!Other References
Open Heart. 2016; 3(2): e000469; Added sugars drive nutrient and energy deficit in obesity: a new paradigm
James J DiNicolantonio and Amy Berger; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4975866/
Richard DM, Dawes MA, Mathias CW, Acheson A, Hill-Kapturczak N, Dougherty DM; L-Tryptophan: Basic Metabolic Functions, Behavioral Research and Therapeutic Indications. Int J Tryptophan Res. 2009;2:45‐60. doi:10.4137/ijtr.s2129; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908021/
Jenkins TA, Nguyen JC, Polglaze KE, Bertrand PP. Influence of Tryptophan and Serotonin on Mood and Cognition with a Possible Role of the Gut-Brain Axis. Nutrients. 2016;8(1):56. Published 2016 Jan 20; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4728667/
Thiamine – Vitamin B1 – Science Direct; https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/thiamine
Thiamine Biochemistry – Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, 2017; http://thiamine.dnr.cornell.edu/Thiamine_biochemistry.html
The Internation Journal of Clinical Practice; Thiamine deficiency in diabetes mellitus and the impact of thiamine replacement on glucose metabolism and vascular disease
G. L. J. Page, D. Laight, M. H. Cummings; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1742-1241.2011.02680.x
Benfotiamine Health Benefits and Side Effects; By Ratan-NM, M. Pharm.Reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Logan, MD, MPH
Benfotiamine – Science Direct; https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/benfotiamine
How Lipase Helps You Digest Fat; Thera Health 2019; https://therahealth.com.au/how-lipase-helps-you-digest-fats/#:~:text=Lipase%20has%20the%20crucial%20function,to%20provide%20energy%20(1).
How Fat Cells Work; BY CRAIG FREUDENRICH, PH.D.;https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/cellular-microscopic/fat-cell3.htm
Digesting Fatty Foods with Lipase; Lipase Function; https://enzyscience.com/blogs/news/fatty-food-digestion
Why CoQ10 Is Crucial to Mitochondria And Overall Health Benefits; February 7, 2018; https://www.mitoq.com/blog/blog/coq10-crucial-mitochondria-function-overall-health
Coenzyme Q10 – Oregan State University; https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/coenzyme-Q10
CoQ10: Miracle Supplement or Waste of Money?; By Dennis Thompson JrMedically Reviewed by Michael Cutler, DO, PhD; Reviewed: October 16, 2017
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition volume 56, pages 1137–1142 (2002); Coenzyme Q10 improves blood pressure and glycaemic control: a controlled trial in subjects with type 2 diabetes
JM Hodgson, GF Watts, DA Playford, V Burke & KD Croft; https://www.nature.com/articles/1601464
Supplements to Stop Sugar Cravings; By Paula Martinac Updated December 02, 2018 – Healthy Eating SFGate
12 Dietary Supplements That Can Massively Control Your Most Intense Carbohydrate Cravings. – BenGreenFieldFitness
12 Supplements That Stop Sugar Cravings; By Gloria Mari; https://flabfix.com/supplements-that-stop-sugar-cravings/
10 supplements that may curb your carb cravings and help you lose weight; Genesis Medical Scheme
15 Natural Supplements to Stop Sugar Cravings; Posted by Dr. Ian Stern Admin on July 18, 2019
Coenzyme Q 10: A little Known Supplement That Yields Big Results; DiabetesLibrary.org; https://diabeteslibrary.org/coenzyme-q10-and-diabetes/
CoQ10: The State of the Science in Diabetes; Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation; https://diabetesaction.org/article-coq10
CoQ10: A Supplement Whose Time May Have Come; By Amy Campbell, MS, RD, LDN, CDE | April 6, 2009
Nutrition & Metabolism volume 17, Article number: 80 (2020) ; A comprehensive insight into the effect of glutamine supplementation on metabolic variables in diabetes mellitus: a systematic review; Hamed Jafari-Vayghan, Parisa Varshosaz; https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12986-020-00503-6
Molecular Cell; Volume 56, Issue 3, 6 November 2014, Pages 414-424; Glutamine Oxidation Maintains the TCA Cycle and Cell Survival during Impaired Mitochondrial Pyruvate Transport
Le A, Lane AN, Hamaker M, et al. Glucose-independent glutamine metabolism via TCA cycling for proliferation and survival in B cells. Cell Metab. 2012;15(1):110‐121.
Glutamine for blood sugar stability, calming and gut healing; October 30, 2015 By Trudy Scott
Potential Benefits of Glutamine Supplementation for Type 2 Diabetes; Jul 18, 2014
Nutrients. 2020 Apr; 12(4): 1046; Consuming Gymnema sylvestre Reduces the Desire for High-Sugar Sweet Foods
Sophie Turner, Charles Diako, Rozanne Kruger; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230589/
Fish Oil Pills Might Cut Diabetes Risk
Higher blood levels of a beneficial hormone seen in those who took the omega-3 supplements
By Mary Elizabeth Dallas; HealthDay Reporter; May 22 2013
Far From Fin-ished: Fish Oil May Help Fight Type 2 Diabetes, But Link Unclear; Omega-3 fatty acids increase levels of a hormone that is responsible for metabolic processes that can prevent type 2 diabetes, according to a new Harvard study.; Fact Checked; By Jeffrey Kopman; Reviewed: May 22, 2013
Everyday Health; https://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/far-from-finished-fish-oil-may-help-fight-type-two-diabetes-but-link-unclear-3125.aspx
Lipids Health Dis. 2017; 16: 131.
Fish oil supplementation and insulin sensitivity: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Huanqing Gao, Tingting Geng, Tao Huang, and Qinghua Zhao; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5496233/
Scientific Reports volume 4, Article number: 6697 (2014); Higher omega-3 index is associated with increased insulin sensitivity and more favourable metabolic profile in middle-aged overweight men; Benjamin B. Albert, José G. B. Derraik, Christine M. Brennan, Janene B. Biggs, Greg C. Smith, Manohar L. Garg, David Cameron-Smith, Paul L. Hofman & Wayne S. Cutfield; https://www.nature.com/articles/srep06697
Fish Oil’s Role in Insulin Resistance; October 29, 2020; Designs For Health; https://blog.designsforhealth.com/node/1314
Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids; Volume 159, August 2020, 102154
DHA-enriched fish oil reduces insulin resistance in overweight and obese adults; K.A.AbbottabT.L.BurrowsbcS.AcharyadeR.N.ThotaabfM.L.Gargabf
Lipids Health Dis. 2017; 16: 131.; Fish oil supplementation and insulin sensitivity: a systematic review and meta-analysis; Huanqing Gao, Tingting Geng
L-Carnitine and Fat Loss; The O’Brien Clinic; https://www.obrienclinic.com/about/
Pepper ED, Farrell MJ, Nord G, Finkel SE. Antiglycation effects of carnosine and other compounds on the long-term survival of Escherichia coli. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010;76(24):7925‐7930;
Life Extension Magazine® – Issue: Jun 2012; Carnosine: A Proven Longevity Factor; Carnosine is concentrated in the brain, heart, and muscles. Studies have shown that carnosine slows the aging of human cells and protects against age-inducing processes such as glycation and mitochondrial dysfunction. Carnosine levels in the body plummet as humans age, making supplementation a key component of an age-delaying program; By Susan Evans.; https://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2012/6/carnosine-proven-longevity-factor
Volume 2016 |Article ID 2939087; Use of Carnosine for Oxidative Stress Reduction in Different Pathologies
V. D. Prokopieva, E. G. Yarygina, N. A. Bokhan, and S. A. Ivanova; https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2016/2939087/
Carnosine: Multipurpose Anti-Aging Nutrient; Anti-Aging Nutrient Review and Update Part 5; Ward Dean, MD; http://www.c4oh.org/monographs/vrp_carnosine.pdf
Carnosine – anti-aging from the Inside to Out; December 28, 2017; Author: Alfred Walton; https://silo.tips/download/carnosine-anti-ageing-from-the-inside-to-out
Chromium – Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/chromium
Chromium Helps Support Blood Sugar Balance – Emerson Ecologies; https://edu.emersonecologics.com/2018/03/20/chromium-helps-support-blood-sugar-balance/
Diabetes and Chromium; 15th January 2019; By Editor; https://www.diabetes.co.uk/Diabetes-and-Chromium.html
J Coll Physicians Surg Pak. 2019 Mar;29(3):253-257.; Zinc Deficiency is Associated with Poor Glycemic Control; Muhammad Farooq; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30823953/