Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors are medications taken at the beginning of a meal to help keep glucose levels at an optimal level in people with type 2 diabetes, according to WebMD. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors work by slowing the digestion of starches that happens during and directly after a meal.
Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors do not slow the digestion of simple sugars, often found in candy and juice, only that of complex carbohydrates, WebMD explains. Complex carbohydrates include foods such as potatoes, grains, beans and vegetables. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors are sometimes used in conjunction with insulin injections or other diabetes medication. People with digestive issues may not be able to use alpha-glucosidase inhibitors.