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Although alpha-glucosidase appears to be safe for people in good health, there are potential concerns involving people with diabetes as well as those with a rare condition named galactosemia.
Alpha-glucosidase breaks down complex carbohydrates into easily absorbed sugars. This may raise blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Drugs that block alpha-glucosidase (alpha-glucosidase inhibitors) have proven benefit for people with diabetes. One study found that use of alpha-glucosidase supplements reduced the effectiveness of the diabetes drug acarbose, an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor drug. 1 For this reason, people with diabetes who are using alpha-glucosidase inhibitors should avoid alpha-glucosidase supplements. In addition, it is theoretically possible that alphaglucosidase might increase blood sugar levels in people with diabetes who are not taking alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, but this has not been thoroughly evaluated. (See more on Diabetes Treatments)
People with the genetic condition galactosemia should also avoid alphagalactosidase as it could worsen symptoms of the disease.
Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
Interactions You Should Know About
- Lettieri JT, Dain B. Effects of beano on the tolerability and pharmacodynamics of acarbose. Clin Ther. 20(3):497-504.