11 Supplements that Fight Intense Sugar Cravings
Did you know that sugar is considered more addictive than cocaine? According to research studies, this is true. Due to sugar addictions and cravings, it can be very difficult 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 have been shown to help reduce sugar cravings.
Listed below are a few of the supplements that may help reduce and/or prevent sugar cravings.
L-TRYPTOPHAN: L-tryptophan is an amino acid that might be helpful in overcoming 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.
In turn, L-tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin; it helps produce this neurotransmitter. By having adequate amounts of this amino acid in the body, a person could maintain serotonin levels without having to consume sugar-laden products. When the serotonin level falls, the person craves sugar. Therefore, supplementing with L-tryptophan could help maintain adequate serotonin levels, and reduce sugar cravings.
L-tryptophan is in protein-rich foods such as fish, turkey, chicken, and red meat. 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 the time 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. Digestive enzyme supplements should be taken at least two hours before eating.
FAT SOLUBLE VITAMIN B1 – THIAMINE: Thiamine (vitamin B1) is essential for carbohydrate metabolism and enables the body to consume carbohydrates more efficiently. Usually, this vitamin is water-soluble, but some supplements and derivatives are also fat-soluble. These fat-soluble B-vitamins are Allithiamine (found in garlic) and Benfotiamine (found in legumes and grains).
Allithiamine and Benfotiamine are preferred for fighting cravings because they are quickly absorbed in the body. This rapid 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. Consuming allithiamine and benfotiamine may not only replenish the deficiency but may also reduce cravings for something sweet.
Fat-soluble thiamine may be a viable solution for people who cannot properly absorb vitamin B1. The fat molecules help the cells absorb the thiamine. Vitamin B1 is absorbed via special protein transporters that cross the cell membranes while bound to it. There are conditions in which these intermediate protein transport substances are absent, causing deficiency of vitamin B1. Fat-soluble derivatives of vitamin B1 absorb into the cells because they do not require transporters.
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. It is commonly recommended as a supplement to improve carbohydrate utilization and combat intense sugar cravings.
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 potential fat loss. Studies revealed that people who have adequate amounts of L-glutamine in their bodies are less vulnerable to intestinal permeability or ‘leaky gut.’
GYMNEMA SYLVESTRE: Gymnema Sylvestre reduces 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: Fish oils, when of high quality, can 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 can be used for energy. This mechanism helps in reducing cell 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 in between meals.
L-CARNOSINE: During the breakdown of carbohydrates, advanced glycation products are produced. These substances make a person crave sugar and can compromise metabolism. L-carnosine acid could effectively 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 along with ischemic heart diseases. A person with severe chromium deficiency may have an intense craving for sweets and sugars. Chromium supplements may help with reducing sugar cravings because of the role it plays in glucose and insulin regulation.
ZINC: Chronically low blood sugar could lead to sugar cravings. Additionally, very low blood sugar levels may also 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 intake of zinc 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 exercise healthy 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 altogether.
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!