Looking to try/buy Intoleran’s starchway supplement? Or maybe you’re curious about whether or not this particular form of enzyme replacement therapy is right for you, your loved one, or your clients navigating a sucrose and/or starch intolerance…
If you said “yes” to any of the above, you’re in the right place! I’m a CSID-informed gut health dietitian on a mission to make your life (or your family/clients’ lives with sucrase-isomaltase deficiency) easier and more enjoyable.
In this article we’ll unpack the following:
- What exactly is starchway, what does it do, and who is it for?
- Where you can purchase it
- How to take it safely
- Potential side effects and contraindications
- Frequently asked questions
- …and more.
(Please take what you need, and leave the rest!)
Disclaimer: This article was written for educational purposes, not to replace medical/nutritional advice from your doctor(s) and a CSID-informed gut health dietitian nutritionist.
Affiliate disclosure: This article contains affiliate links*. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission on qualifying purchases.
Table of Contents
Starchway* is a digestive enzyme supplement, designed and retailed by supplement company “Intoleran” which specializes in food intolerances.
The key active ingredients in starchway include a proprietary blend of invertase and gluco-amylase (two digestive enzymes which help break down sugar and starch, respectively).
Invertase (aka “sucrase” or “saccharase”) is a type of disaccharide enzyme naturally produced by many strains of yeast, and one of the key enzymes involved in sucrose (table sugar) metabolism. (1)
In other words, invertase may help with the digestion of sugar in many cases, much like a lactase enzyme can help many (but not all) folks with lactose intolerance to drink milk without feeling sick.
Did you know that digestion starts in the mouth? Not just from chewing but also because our saliva contains natural enzymes such as gluco-amylase or “amylase”, which helps break down long chains of starch molecules into smaller units.
The primary goal and purpose of starchway is to aid in the breakdown of sugar (sucrose) and starch in foods.
Who is it for?
Most people are able to digest sugar and starch without the use of supplemental enzymes.
What is a sucrase-isomaltase deficiency? (Quick review)
This very specific type of disaccharide deficiency impedes your body’s natural ability to break down sugar (sucrose) and starch in foods, leading to unwanted IBS-like symptoms within a few hours after eating foods that contain sucrose (sugar) and/or starch:
- Abdominal pain/cramping
- Unintentional weight loss (secondary to malabsorption and dietary restrictions)
In some cases of sucrase-isomaltase deficiency, people can also experience symptoms of constipation and/or heartburn.
The mechanism behind this adverse food intolerance reaction is very similar and comparable to what would happen if somebody with lactose intolerance just drank a glass of regular milk.
The difference here is that we’re dealing with sucrose and maltose (sugar and starch molecules) instead of lactose.
Keep in mind: every case of sucrase-isomaltase deficiency is different.
- If you have this condition, your unique degree of sucrose intolerance and/or starch intolerance will exist somewhere on a spectrum, depending on your genetic make-up and the state of your intestinal brush border.
- The “brush border” is the part of your gut responsible for producing and releasing most of the digestive enzymes which break down sugar, starch, and other food molecules.
How well does starchway work?
The short and sweet answer to this question is that it totally depends on your bio-individuality!
(There’s generally a decent amount of overlap and patterns – but at the end of the day, no two people will have the exact same response to a food/supplement intervention.)
So, while starchway doesn’t work for everyone, I’ve found it usually does make a significant difference for many people with CSID/acquired sucrase-isomaltase deficiency.
In my private practice, I’ve recently been hearing from most of my clients with sucrose/starch intolerance that starchway is actually more helpful than Sucraid® (the “gold standard” enzyme replacement therapy for sucrose specifically).
- Related article: Sweet Relief – When and How to Take Sucraid® (Sacrosidase)
Others have reported that starchway helps them to digest starchy foods more so than it helps with tolerating foods high in sucrose.
- This may have something to do with the fact that sucrose breaks down into glucose + fructose, and some of my clients with acquired sucrase-isomaltase deficiency also have a fructose intolerance! (A conversation for another time…)
TLDR: The best way to know for sure whether starchway is right for you or your loved one is to consult with your treatment team of healthcare providers and, with permission, try it out to see how your body responds to it.
- Recommended resource: CSID Diet Elimination Workbook* (to help you gain clarity on how your body is responding to starchway and foods high in sucrose/starch).
Where to find Intoleran starchway
What I love about starchway is that you don’t need a doctor’s prescription or referral, and it’s way more accessible and affordable compared to its counterpart, Sucraid®.
- NOTE: If you’re among the millions who buys supplements on Amazon or eBay, make sure you’re purchasing starchway directly thorough Intoleran’s official Amazon store* …and NOT through a third-party seller!.
- Recommended reading: The Hidden Dangers of Buying Supplements on Amazon & eBay
FAQ: If I live outside the U.S., where can I order starchway?
Outside their United States online retail shop, Intoleran offers the option to order starchway internationally in the following regions:
(To change and customize your storefront region, simply hold your mouse over the flag in the upper right-hand corner on the main page of Intoleran’s main webpage.)
How to take starchway: best practices
When introducing any new supplement, as a clinician, I always recommend starting small with the lowest dose possible (in this case, ONE capsule).
- If one capsule is effective, there’s no need to increase your dose.
- If you don’t notice any difference, it may mean that you need a higher dose of starchway relative to the amount of sucrose and/or starch you’re consuming.
Titrate up, only if needed
With clinical guidance and supervision from your doctor and CSID dietitian, you may try gradually titrating your starchway dose up to 3 capsules per meal (or as recommended by your practitioner).
- Intoleran recommends not to exceed a total of 15 starchway capsules per day.
Take at the start of each meal
When it comes to taking digestive enzymes (like starchway), take the capsule(s) right before your first bite of food for optimal results.
Isolate it from other variables
Lastly, I always recommend isolating a new supplement intervention/protocol by keeping it separate from all other variables.
This means not trying starchway for the first time on the same day as trying another new supplement or new food for the first time.
(If you notice a change in symptoms or experience any kind of side effects / adverse reaction, how will you know what caused it?)
Possible side effects/contraindications
Starchway is generally safe and well-tolerated; there aren’t many reported side effects or contraindications of starchway.
However, adverse side effects can still happen, on a case-by-case basis.
Gas and bloating
As I mentioned earlier, some of my clients with acquired sucrase-isomaltase deficiency (developed in adulthood) have anecdotally reported some gas/bloating following starchway and Sucraid.
There aren’t any clinical studies (yet) explaining why this happens in some people, but I suspect it may occur as a result of an underlying fructose intolerance. (After all, sucrose breaks down into glucose + fructose!)
Food allergy / food sensitivity reactions
Starchway is generally very hypo-allergenic, gluten free/celiac-safe, vegan and even certified low FODMAP.
However, believe it or not, some people with underlying leaky gut and food sensitivities who are highly sensitive/allergic to corn may potentially react to the dextrose in starchway. (Dextrose is derived from corn! Corn sensitivity is something I see flying under the radar pretty often among clients in my private practice.)
Symptoms of an allergic reaction are pretty instant and may include hives, throat swelling, vomiting, and anaphylaxis.
Food sensitivity reactions
Sensitivities, on the other hand, are a diverse and complex spectrum of reactions which can be delayed and dose-dependent, and these symptoms go far beyond just gut issues.
Food sensitivities will usually show up as a side effect from years of leaky gut and/or a prolonged overactive stress response from trauma/severe bouts of stress, left unchecked.
- Recommended reading: Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance vs. Food Sensitivity – How are They Different?
Blood sugar imbalances
Since starch breaks down into glucose, taking starchway may anecdotally lead to more spikes in blood glucose levels.
This is because glucose will quickly and easily pass through your gut, into your bloodstream – raising blood sugar.
The spike in blood sugar causes your cells to release a surge of insulin (a hormone which brings down blood sugar by delivering the energy source into your cells) – leading to a subsequent drop in blood sugar (which feels like an energy crash) an hour or two later.
Pay attention and look out for this. Incorporating fats, proteins, and fiber into each meal may help to keep blood sugar levels under control.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)
Is starchway CSID-friendly?
Yes! Starchway was designed specifically for people with CSID, and it’s generally effective and well tolerated by most.
Exceptions are rare, but starchway may possibly cause an adverse reaction if you have a severe fructose intolerance and/or corn allergy/sensitivity.
Starchway vs. Sucraid® – which is better?
It totally depends!
Generally, if you’re given the option between starchway and Sucraid®, I’ve heard starchway is easier to access and more helpful to start with, because it helps break down both sucrose and starch (versus just sucrose). But in many cases, people also need a little extra help from Sucraid®.
Starchway is also exponentially more affordable and accessible compared to Sucraid® (which can cost upwards of $1,500 per month if not covered by insurance and must be prescribed by your doctor and which isn’t available in many parts of the world outside the U.S. and a few other countries).
- If you do the math, a package of 150 capsules of starchway would cover 10 days for $73.50 (plus shipping) if you’re taking the max dose of 15 capsules of starchway per day. This would add up to less than $300 per month, max, for starchway.
Still, many people with sucrase-isomaltase deficiency find that Sucraid® is still necessary to help them digest sucrose in fruit and other food sources of sucrose.
Is starchway covered by insurance?
Unlike Sucraid®, which can often be covered by your insurance plan, starchway is not covered by insurance at this time.
You may be able to pay for starchway using a flexible savings account (FSA) or health savings account (FSA) debit card if this is an option. (It’s worth looking into!)
What does starchway cost per month?
Starchway by Intoleran is exponentially more affordable than Sucraid® if paying out-of-pocket.
Out-of-pocket, starchway is ~$30 per 50 capsules or ~$73.50 per 150 capsules, so a maximum therapeutic monthly supply of starchway is less than $300 per month (versus $1500 per 30-day supply of Sucarid®).
How long will it take before I know if this is working?
If a digestive enzyme is helping, usually you’ll know right away after your first meal.
With starchway specifically, if one capsule isn’t helping, consider titrating up the dose (as needed, up to 3 per meal) before determining whether or not it’s working.
As a rule of thumb, smaller portions of starch and/or sugar generally mean less starchway is needed – and vice versa. 😉
Is starchway vegan?
Yes! Starchway is 100% dairy-free, lactose-free and vegan.
Is starchyway lactose-free?
Yes. But if you’re dealing with lactose intolerance, you would need to follow a lactose-free diet or take lactase enzymes (which are not found in starchway).
Is starchway low FODMAP?
Yes, starchway is certified low FODMAP by Monash University – so it’s safe to take if you have any kind of intolerance to FODMAPs. (This is something I see more so in cases of acquired sucrase-isomaltase deficiency, secondary to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth / “SIBO”).
However, as I mentioned earlier, sucrose breaks down into glucose + fructose, so some people seem to experience gas and bloating anecdotally after taking starchway and/or Sucraid®.
Is starchway gluten free?
Yes! Starchway is gluten free and celiac-friendly.
How long do I need to take starchway supplements?
If you have CSID, which is genetic, and starchway is effective for helping you to digest starch and/or sugar, you’ll need to take it lifelong (ongoing).
However, if you’ve got an acquired form of sucrase-isomaltase deficiency, and you’re able to eventually heal your gut and restore normal function in your interstitial brush border, you may not need starchway forever.
- Disclaimer: While this is technically possible, it’s not an easy or quick endeavor by any means – and not for the faint of heart!
If you’re looking to learn more (for the sake of you, a loved one, or your clients), make sure to lean into the following resources:
- What is a Sucrose Intolerance and How Do You Know If You Have It?
- How to Get Started Navigating the Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency Diet
- Low Sucrose & Low Maltose Foods List PDF (Free Download)
- How to Deal with Food Intolerance in Children
- 7 Reasons Oatmeal and Oat Milk Can Cause Diarrhea
- CSID Diet: 7-Day Meal Plan + 21 Low Sucrose Low Maltose Recipes (PDF)
- CSID Cookbook: Low-Sucrose, Low-Starch Recipes for Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency*
- CSID Diet Elimination Workbook*
- CSID Mixology: Crafting the Perfect Sucrose-Free Cocktails*
Recap and final thoughts
Sucrase-isomaltase deficiency is no picnic, but it’s easier to navigate with help from digestive enzymes like starchway*.
While this proprietary enzymatic blend isn’t for everyone, starchway helps millions of people with sucrose and/or starch intolerance to enjoy more foods with less discomfort on a daily basis.
Make sure to consult your treatment team before trying anything new, and always start small with just one capsule per meal to see if it helps.
The max dose of starchway is 3 capsules per meal or 15 capsules per day, according to Intoleran.
(You can then titrate up, and make sure you aren’t introducing starchway as a new protocol at the same time as any other diet/supplement changes!)
Starchway is gluten free, vegan, low FODMAP, and relatively affordable and accessible. The side effects of this digestive enzyme are generally far and few, but pay attention to any signs of gas/bloating, allergy symptoms, or food sensitivity reactions.
Let’s stay in touch
If you’d like to stay in touch and learn more about what I have to share on the topic of sucrase-isomaltase deficiency, let’s stay in touch!
- Download the free Low Sucrose Foods List PDF (here) and sign up for my email list to stay in-the-know on all things CSID, sucrose intolerance, starch intolerance and more.
Sharing is caring!
Thank you for taking the time to read my article! I hope you found it helpful in some way.
I’d love for more people to have access to the tips, insights, and clinical nuggets I share in this article.
If you found it helpful, please feel free to pin and/or share this article with others in your community who would like to learn more about starchway! 🙂
XX – Jenna