Glucomannan

November 12, 2012

Glucomannan

Glucomannan is a type of dietary fiber that is commonly extracted from the root of the konjac, or Amorphophallus konjac plant. It is used as a thickener or gelling agent in foods, and possesses immense medicinal value as well.

Uses

Glucomannan is available in form of powders, capsules and tablets. The supplement works by absorbing water from stomach and small intestine, thereby forming a bulky fiber that slows down the absorption of sugars and cholesterol in the gut. The bulky fiber also helps treat constipation. Most experts recommend 3 to 5g of glucomannan per day. The supplement should be divided into two or three separate parts, and should be taken before meals.

  • Glucomannan helps lower LDL, or bad cholesterol levels in the body, and help improve HDL, or good cholesterol levels. A double-blind study involving 63 people found that individuals taking 3.9 g of the dietary fiber per day for a period of one month have significantly lower levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Individuals taking 3 g of the supplement per day also demonstrate increased levels of HDL cholesterol.
  • Like other fiber-based supplements, glucomannan also helps relieve constipation.
  • The supplement may also help treat Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance syndrome by regulating blood sugar levels in your body.
  • Obese and overweight individuals taking glucomannan supplements may lose weight as the dietary fiber makes them feel full, and prevents them from consuming more food. A study with 60 obese children found that those who consumed 1 g of the supplement per day lost more weight compared to the placebo group. Another study revealed that women taking 1 g of the supplement, three times a day for eight weeks lost 5 ½ pounds compared to the control group that lost 1 ½ pounds.

Side Effects

While glucomannan supplements are generally considered safe, they may interfere with certain anti-diabetes medications. It may also prevent blood sugar control during and after a surgery. Hence, it is important to discontinue the use of these supplements at least 2 weeks before the procedure. The effect of these supplements during pregnancy and breast feeding is unknown. However, it is best to avoid them during that period to prevent harm to your baby.

You can purchase glucomannan supplements at your local drug or natural food store without a prescription. However, you should talk to a doctor before using the supplement to avoid possible complications and drug interactions.

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