Carbohydrates are a required energy source to produce glycogen; the storage form of carbohydrate within the liver and muscles. 

Whilst carbohydrates get a lot of bad press, they play an important role in the body, acting as an energy source, helping to regulate blood glucose, contribute to insulin metabolism, and assist with fermentation. 

Ultimately, the carbohydrates you ingest are broken down by your small intestine into glucose which subsequently passes across the membrane of your small intestine and on to the liver. Here the glucose will be either used immediately by the liver, or further distributed to the rest of the body. 

Where the body does not have an immediate need for glucose, the process of glycogenesis (also known as glycogen synthesis) occurs. This is a multi-step process where glucose is converted to glucose-6-phosphate via hexokinase (or the liver isoform of hexokinase known as glucokinase). Ultimately, glucose that is not immediately required by the body becomes glycogen and is stored in both the liver and your skeletal muscles. 

When your body needs to tap into this stored glycogen, it uses a process called glycogenolysis. This process sees the enzymes phosphorylase kinase and glycogen phosphorylase regulate the breakdown of the branched polysaccharide glycogen into glucose-1-phosphate and glucose, which can then be utilised by the body. 

This is all a technical way of saying that carbohydrates are important! It’s for this reason that many people choose to supplement their diet with additional carbohydrates in the form of a powdered supplement that can be consumed orally in liquid form.

What to look for in a carbohydrate supplement

Shop around online and you’d be forgiven for thinking that the term ‘carbohydrate’ refers to a single homogeneous substance. 

But, the opposite is true.

When purchasing a carbohydrate supplement, it’s vital that you pay close attention to the carbohydrate(s) it contains. 

In the broadest sense, there are two groups of carbohydrates; simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.

These can be defined as: 

  • Simple carbohydrates - these are carbohydrates that have simple chemical structures; one or two sugars bonded together such as monosaccharides or disaccharides. Examples include fructose, lactose, maltose, sucrose, glucose, galactose, and ribose. Thanks to their simple structures, simple carbs can be broken down and absorbed by the body quickly.

  • Complex carbohydrates - as their name suggests, complex carbohydrates feature more complex chemical structures, with three or more sugars bonded together (oligosaccharides or polysaccharides). Examples include dextrin, cellulose, amylose, cellobiose, and rutinulose.

When you’re looking to supplement your diet with carbohydrates (especially if you intend to consume the carbs pre, intra, or post-workout), it’s these latter complex carbohydrates you should be looking for. 

Here at Supplement Needs, our premium Intra Carb+ supplement is based around Cluster Dextrin™ cyclic dextrin carbohydrate. Also known as Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin (HBCD), Cluster Dextrin™ is a complex carbohydrate that takes longer for your body to break down, resulting in sustained energy (even during exercise). Cluster Dextrin™ also has low osmolality, meaning it’s easier for your body to digest. Further, Cluster Dextrin™ has a low glycemic index (GI), meaning it’s less likely to cause spikes in your blood sugar levels. 

Supplement Need Intra Carb+ DOES also contain a simple carbohydrate D-Ribose. Not only is D-Ribose part of your body’s DNA, it also makes up part of your cells’ primary energy source (known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP)). By adding D-Ribose to Intra Carb+ (at 2.5 g per 30.8 g serving), we are able to create a carbohydrate supplement that provides both immediate and long-lasting energy. It’s for this reason that many people consider Intra Carb+ to be the ultimate peri-workout supplement, as it’ll provide energy before, during and after a workout. 


In addition to a quality, complex carbohydrate, you want your chosen carbohydrate supplement to include glycerol. 

As we saw earlier, glycerol is the form in which your body stores glucose for later use. 

Glycerol is added to the very best carbohydrate supplements as it has been shown in a number of studies to make a potential contribution to improved aerobic and anaerobic athletic performance. In the bodybuilding space, Glycerol is typically added to carb supplements to contribute to ‘pumps’ (where muscle size is temporarily increased due to blood flow). 

As you’d expect, here at Supplement Needs our Intra Carb+ supplement contains 2.5 g of HydroPrime® per 30.8 g serving. This is a trademarked form of Glycerol powder that is manufactured by NNB, one of the world’s leading producers of scientifically-formulated ingredients. 


Given that the enzymes phosphorylase kinase and glycogen phosphorylase are responsible for mediating the breakdown of glycerol into usable glucose, it makes sense to buy a carbohydrate supplement that includes minerals that will support those enzymes. 

That’s why Supplement Needs Intra Carb+ contains Dipotassium Phosphate (at 500 mg, of which 225 mg is potassium and 89 g is phosphorous). 

Those important enzymes, phosphorylase kinase and glycogen phosphorylase, are stimulated by potassium, thus any carb supplement ‘worth its salt’ should contain an efficacious dose of potassium to assist with glycerol metabolism.

Note - phosphorylase kinase and glycogen phosphorylase also require magnesium in addition to potassium. If you want to cover all your bases, then consider stacking Supplement Needs Electrolyte+ alongside Intra Carb+. Our Electrolyte+ contains 510 mg potassium and 500 mg Magnesium Taurate. 

How to buy the best carbohydrate supplement

Aside from considering the points above, there are a number of other features and characteristics that make carb supplements stand out from the rest. 

Good Manufacturing Practices

You wouldn’t put any old sort of food in your body, so why should it be any different for carbohydrate supplements?!

Ensure that your chosen carb supplement has been manufactured in line with GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). This means that the supplement has been manufactured in line with best practices and is of consistent high quality, is appropriate for its intended use, and meets the product specification. 

Naturally, Supplement Needs Intra Carb+ is manufactured to GMP standards and ISO 22000:2018 - an international standard that allows manufacturers to identify, monitor, reduce and prevent food safety hazards at any stage of the food chain. 


As you’ll have read earlier, carbohydrates aren’t some homogeneous substance. There are multiple different types of carbohydrates - some of which will align with your health and fitness goals better than others. 

This is simply another way of saying that you should buy a carbohydrate supplement that’s been developed by an expert. 

And, you can’t get much more expert than Supplement Needs’ product formulator, Dr. Dean St Mart PhD. 

Dr. Dean has a double first class honours degree in chemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry as well as a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry and fluorescence spectroscopy. 

Remember, you’re not just buying a supplement, but the expertise and research that has gone into that supplement. So, buy from a brand that has true expertise and knowledge behind it. 

Transparent dosing

Many supplement brands are reluctant to disclose the exact composition of their products; not so with Supplement Needs. 

If you want to accurately manage your diet and supplement intake, you need hard numbers. And, that’s exactly what we provide with our policy of transparent dosing. We provide a complete breakdown of ingredients, including the individual dosing of each ingredient. 

Plus, we go even further than most brands. How? Well, where an ingredient is a compound, we provide you with the exact measure of each element within that compound. 

For example, Supplement Needs Intra Carb+ contains 500 mg of Dipotassium Phosphate. Many supplement brands would leave it at that. But, thanks to our transparency policy we go a step further and provide you with the exact measure of the compound’s constituent parts (in this case, 225 mg of potassium and 89 mg of phosphorus). 

If you’re serious about your supplements, you need to be serious about their composition. 

Non-generic ingredients

Related closely to the above point is the importance of the provenance of a carb supplement’s ingredients. 

Where did they come from? Who made them? 

Many cheap supplement brands choose to use generic ingredients. Why? Because they want to make their profit margins as big as possible. 

But, with generic ingredients, you can never be entirely sure that they’ll match up to any  claims made about them.

That’s why here at Supplement Needs we use trademarked research-backed ingredients wherever possible. Take our Intra Carb+ for example. This contains Cluster Dextrin™, which has been developed by Mitsubishi Corporation Life Sciences (MCLS). Likewise, Intra Carb+ contains HydroPrime®, which has been developed by NNB, a major producer of science-backed ingredients.