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Amylase Inhibitors

What are amylase inhibitors? Why do we need them?

Amylase inhibitors are substances that prevent certain starches from being absorbed by the body. Developed decades ago, amylase inhibitors are extracted from plants that belong to the legume family, such as kidney beans, then reformulated and sold as dietary supplements.

The main use for amylase inhibitors is weight loss. Recent studies have shown that highly concentrated versions of amylase inhibitors may block the absorption of certain starches, which could lead to lower carbohydrate consumption and, theoretically, cause a person to lose weight. Other studies have shown that purified amylase inhibitor extracts, taken with a starchy meal, can lower blood sugar levels in both healthy people and people diagnosed with diabetes. This has led some researchers to believe that amylase inhibitors may be helpful in controlling blood sugar levels.

How much amylase inhibitor should I take?

The amount of amylase inhibitor to be consumed depends on the potency of the substance. Recommended doses are between 1,500 milligrams and 6,000 milligrams, depending on the substance's purity and potency.

What forms of amylase inhibitors are available?

Amylase inhibitors are derived from certain members of the legume family, such as white kidney beans. Amylase inhibitors can also be extracted from wheat. They are usually sold as capsules and/or extracts, and are available at most health food stores.

What can happen if I take too many amylase inhibitors? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

High amounts of amylase inhibitors may cause diarrhea in some people, based on the effects undigested starch may have in the colon. In addition, because amylase inhibitors can have an effect on blood sugar levels, they should not be taken by diabetics who are currently taking medications to lower their blood sugar without first consulting a licensed health care provider. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking amylase inhibitors or any other herbal remedies or dietary supplements.


  • Allen JE. Lightening the carbo load. Los Angeles Times, June 16, 2003.
  • Boivin M, Zinsmeister AR, Go VL, et al. Effect of a purified amylase inhibitor on carbohydrate metabolism after a mixed meal in healthy humans. Mayo Clin Proc 1987;62:249-55.
  • Bray GA, Greenway FL. Current and potential drugs for treatment of obesity. Endocr Rev 1999;20:805-79.
  • Choudhury A, Maeda K, Murayama R, et al. Character of a wheat amylase inhibitor preparation and effects on fasting human pancreaticobiliary secretions and hormones. Gastroenterology 1996;111:1313-20.
  • Thom E. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a new weight-reducing agent of natural origin. J Int Med Res 2000;28:229-33.
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