"I was trying to lose this stubborn weight for years. I also had sugar cravings that were impossible to stop. It wasn't until I took the right supplements that things changed."
Recently I heard these exact words, said by a naturopath. I've heard different versions of this said several times before. Usually we think that only drugs can create such a dramatic result. But the truth is, the right supplements can be equally as powerful, and have zero side effects.
So what supplements can help end sugar cravings?
The best thing to do is to first diagnose: what are the underlying things you have going on? This step isn't necessary, you can just try a supplement and see what it does, but first identifying the underlying functional imbalances can help you know clearly what supplements are going to make the most difference to you.
Sugar cravings, like anything, can have several nutritional causes, here's a few:
Low Iron - leads to fatigue and sugar cravings. 1) Eat iron rich foods. 2) Take an iron supplement. Also you may want to try going gluten free for a while, since gluten blocks iron absorption in many people.
Low B12 - leads to fatigue, and even mental impairment. 1) Eat B12 rich foods or take a B12 supplement. A B12 shot is also an option.
Low Magnesium (Mg) - indicated by tension, anxiety, irritability, and/or low energy. Take Mg (the glycinate form is recommended), or eat Mg rich foods. It is said that we are ALL very low in Mg. Mg is one of the most important minerals in the body.
And it's worth mentioning that for the above, animal sources are considered by many to be much more absorbable, in a more bioavailable form. (Please buy pastured animal foods to avoid contributing to horrible CAFO's - conventional animal feed operations).
Also worth mentioning too that most medications (all medications?) create nutritional deficiencies. If you're taking any kind of medications, use Google to find out what deficiency it is known to result in, and supplement that.
Metabolism can be thought of as a metabolic-train or pathway. If the train isn't fueled right with the needed vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc...or if the train is gummed up by toxins, heavy metals, parasites, etc...then you may feel sluggish, and crave sugar or other stimulants. You need to eat cleaner and more nourishing, and very likely take supplements.
Taking the right supplements can help your metabolism to run properly, giving you an experience of energy, weight loss, and a raised mood. And not just manic energy like you might get from coffee or sugar, but calm energy.
EFA's - studies have recently shown that essential oils can significantly reduce sugar cravings. This means omega 3 oils in flax seeds/oil, hemp seeds/oil, chia seeds, walnuts, but the best source is likely fish/fish oil since it doesn't require converting by your body into its more usable form. Add some to your smoothie!
Chromium, B Vitamins
Glutamine - can immediately reduce sugar cravings. Glutamine (L-Glutamine) also helps repair leaky gut, which attends most health conditions.
Tryptophan or 5-htp - helps build serotonin, to uplift mood, thereby reducing cravings.
GABA - if you're eating to calm anxiety, GABA may help you profoundly. Don't do too much.
PLPA - phenylalanine - I know one person who broke her chocolate bar addiction effortlessly, just by taking some PLPA. Yes, it can be that simple.
Tyrosine - for apathy or lethargy. Energizes and gives focus.
The last 5 above are all amino acids, which is protein breaks down into. This is sometimes called "Amino Acid Therapy". Amino acids, just like protein, are precursors to neuro-transmitters in the brain. We aren't always getting enough protein, or our digestive system isn't always working properly or making the necessary conversions properly. So amino acid therapy can be a very helpful way to stabilize mood while we then get to work healing our gut/digestion, kicking our sugar habit, and removing things like gluten or dairy from our diet.
In addition to the above, you want to stabilize your blood sugar. And the best way to do that, is to eat protein and fat with every meal. Especially with breakfast. Eggs or a protein shake are two solid options. (I also really like the Whole Food Shake - link below).
There are other supplements that can help. If you have weak digestion, then you may not be absorbing protein well, and you will want to take digestive enzymes, bitters, or HCL tablets.
Another thing that's very common is candida overgrowth. Candida is a naturally occurring yeast/fungus in our digestive tract, but it can become overgrown due to chronic stress, over-eating of simple sugars, overdoing antibiotics, and chronic stress. I have also written a blog on healing candida. Candida can be a major cause of sugar and carb cravings.
And of course, chronic stress can also play a huge role in creating sugar cravings. It may be best to work to reduce the stress, or handle it better, I recommend meditation, while also dealing with the problem upstream, than just trying to handle it by taking more supplements. Although both approaches together is probably optimal.
13 Tips to Get Off Sugar That Are Not a Diet
6 Steps to Eating Healthier
The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution (book), by Trudy Scott
The Whole Food Shake
Battle with Candida, and Win