Sitting on your couch thinking about all the chocolate in your house? Believe me when I say, we’ve all been there. Food cravings are a common issue that can be brought on by all kinds of things: emotional hardship, stress, PMS, boredom and a host of other factors. Resisting those cravings can sometimes feel impossible.
But don’t despair! Just like most processes in your body, cravings are the result of chemical signals. And like any chemical process, they can be managed. Here are 6 supplements that can help get your hunger under control.
5-hydroxytryptophan—5 HTP to its friends—is a natural substance our bodies use to make serotonin. Known as our “happy chemical” for its role in mood and sleep, serotonin also plays a key role in regulating appetite by working with other chemicals to turn off our hunger signal once we’re done eating. How does 5-HTP fit into this picture? Well, since serotonin is produced from 5-HTP, our bodies need a ready supply to ensure our hunger off-switch is working as it should. For this reason, a 5-HTP supplement may be beneficial if you’re looking for help to naturally regulate your food intake.
Alpha Lipoic Acid is a fatty acid and antioxidant that does its work at the other end of the hunger cycle. Where 5-HTP supports our hunger off-switch, ALA interferes with the switch that turns hunger on. It does this by interacting with an enzyme called AMPK. AMPK’s job is to increase hunger signals when our bodies think it’s time to eat. When ALA shows up on the scene, it reduces AMPK activity, meaning it may ease appetite as a result.
And it comes with an added bonus: ALA can accelerate the process of turning blood sugars into energy, helping to keep our bodies from storing that sugar for later use, potentially slowing the creation of fat.
3) Blood Sugar Balance
You may be wondering what blood sugar has to do with food cravings, but it’s actually very important. When blood sugars are low, they can trigger a signal that tells your brain to eat carbs to get those blood sugars back up. The Blood Sugar Balance supplement eases this problem with two helpful compounds: Benfotiamine and ALA, which work together to help your body control blood sugar levels and prevent those sugar-crash cravings.
4) Chromium Picolinate
This small supplement deserves your attention when looking for something to ease cravings. Chromium is an essential mineral that helps your body process carbohydrates and fats. Though more research is needed, chromium picolinate is believed to reduce hunger and cravings by enhancing insulin activity. When you eat, insulin tells your cells to take sugar out of your blood and make use of it one way or another; chromium helps this process by increasing the cell receptors insulin needs to do its work. In this way it appears to play a role in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and thus keep cravings in check.
5) Appetite Support
This lesser-known supplement has some interesting ingredients, one of them being Phaseolus vulgaris, an extract from white kidney beans that helps slow down the digestion of carbs, an effect that may help you feel full longer. Slower digestion also helps stabilize blood sugar levels to prevent them from dropping too fast and giving you the munchies.
For the best results, take this supplement with a meal containing carbs.
6) Borage w/Saffron
Those of you experiencing cravings due to PMS may want to put this supplement on your list. One of its main ingredients is gamma-linoleic acid, or GLA. When you’re short of this natural compound, it can intensify craving for sweets and increase your overall appetite, meaning supplementation may be a good idea. Bonus benefit: It can also help with other PMS symptoms.
Jadelyn is a nutritionist and personal trainer with a bachelor’s degree in dietetics. She loves teaching others about nutrition and exercise, and weight management is just one of her favorite topics.
Do you have questions on how you may benefit from supplements? Reach out to one of our experts, or take Persona’s free nutrition assessment, and learn exactly what you need to take your wellness to the next level.