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Can Certain Supplements Help the Metabolism of Carbohydrates?

By Brian Willett

Although low-carbohydrate diets can be effective -- a study from the July 2008 edition of "The New England Journal of Medicine" found low-carb diets promoted more weight loss than low-fat diets -- you can still lose weight while eating carbohydrates. You may find that it's easier to do so when you use a supplement that helps you metabolize carbohydrates; such supplements can promote the burning of carbohydrates for energy rather than storage as fat. Consult a doctor prior to using any supplements.

Vitamin B-7

Vitamin B-7, also known as biotin, provides a number of nutritional benefits, including helping your body metabolize carbohydrates. In addition, vitamin B-7 is involved in the production of hormones and the metabolism of protein. It's important to consume vitamin B-7 every day, as taking in too little of this vitamin can cause facial rashes, depression, thinning hair and tingling in your limbs.


Chromium is an essential mineral that is found in whole grains and brewers' yeast. This mineral increases the effectiveness of insulin, a hormone that metabolizes not only carbohydrates, but fat and protein as well. Because of its involvement with insulin, chromium may help to counteract some of the effects of type 2 diabetes, a condition in which your body can't use insulin effectively.


Thiamine, also known as vitamin B-1, helps the metabolism of carbohydrates and also aids in breaking down all foods, as it helps produce digestive acids. You need to consume thaimine every day, because your body can't store very much. Failure to consume adequate levels of thiamine can lead to heart, muscle, nerve and digestive system issues.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola rosea is an herbal extract that is purported to have benefits for reducing stress. However, research indicates it can also aid in carbohydrate metabolism. A study published in the July 2008 edition of "European Journal of Pharmacology" found that rhodiola rosea supplementation promoted increased insulin sensitivity, meaning that your body can process the energy from carbohydrates more effectively. Additionally, the study found that the ingredient stimulated the activity of AMP-activated protein kinase, an enzyme that promotes the transport of glucose -- energy from carbohydrates -- into muscle cells, rather than fat tissue.

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