Glucomannan is sugar that is extracted from the root of the Konjac plant. The sugar has been used by the Japanese since the ancient times as a thickening or gelling agent.
The sugar is popular in Japan, and it is commonly known by its nickname “the broom of the intestines.” The nickname is derived from the various health benefits that are derived from Glucomannan. The product has been recently introduced in the United States and the European countries as a food additive and a dietary supplement.
Glucomannan has been used in East Asia as a traditional medicine for the management of various conditions, including coughs, asthma, hernias, and breast pain. The product has also been used in the management of dermatological conditions such as acne.
Recent scientific studies have demonstrated that supplementing an individual with Glucomannan from Konjac can lower the levels of plasma cholesterol. The intake of the product has been shown to enhance the breakdown of carbohydrates. Other effects of Glucomannan on the digestive tract include improving bowel movements as well as promoting a healthy colon.
Glucomannan is popular for many individuals due to its ability to promote weight loss. Major chains such as Walmart are selling the Konjac fiber as a supplement. One of the most common brand-name supplement with Glucomannan as the active ingredient is known as Lipozene.
The product is also available as a supplement in drink mixes as well as food products such as pasta and flour. Shirataki noodles have Glucomannan as the main ingredient.
The product also has an exceptional ability to absorb water. As a result, Glucomannan is viscous in nature. It is claimed that when you empty a capsule of Glucomannan into a glass of water, a gel is formed immediately.
Besides weight loss, Glucomannan has other several health benefits. In this article, we are going to discuss the various health benefits, side effects, and top products that contain Glucomannan as the main ingredient.
Health Benefits Of Glucomannan
1. Glucomannan Helps Relieve Constipation
Constipation is a common disorder of the digestive tract. The disease is caused by various factors such as low intake of fiber, lack of adequate exercise activities, and dehydration. Studies have revealed that the product can benefit individuals diagnosed with constipation. When Glucomannan is consumed, it works as a prebiotic in the body.
The prebiotic activity is helpful in promoting bowel movements. The product is also considered a natural laxative. Its bulk-forming ability leads to the formation of large and bulky stool that can be passed smoothly through the colon. Its intake also encourages the formation of stool that can be passed with less straining.
Some double-blind trials have demonstrated that Glucomannan is an adequate remedy for the management of constipation. The product promotes bowel movements within 12 to 24 hours of its intake. According to studies, three to four grams of the product are sufficient for the management of the gut disorder.
A study was conducted in the year 2008 with the objective of finding out if Konjac helps promote bowel movements. According to the results of the survey, a dose of Konjac Glucomannan supplement encourages bowel movements by up to 30 percent.
2. Glucomannan Promotes Weight Loss
The root of the Konjac plant has been found to have a low content of calories and a high fiber content. Based on various research on weight loss, a combination of low calories and high fiber content promotes weight loss. However, individuals who are taking Glucomannan supplements with the goal of losing weight are encouraged to take a healthy diet supplemented with regular exercises.
Konjac Glucomannan is known to promote weight loss through various ways. The first involves improving the feeling of satiety by occupying much space in the stomach. The product is also known to delay the emptying of the stomach, leading to satiety. Glucomannan is also capable of reducing the absorption of fats and proteins.
Glucomannan also feeds the good bacteria in the intestines, encouraging their growth. The bacteria in the intestines convert the product into short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate. The fatty acid protects the body against the effects of fat in some animals.
3. Natural Prebiotic
Prebiotics are foods that promote a healthy digestive tract and overall well-being. Glucomannan is a common prebiotic food among others such as garlic and jicama. When ingested, Glucomannan passes through the upper gastrointestinal tract and it enters the intestines undigested.
The digestive system is not able to breakdown Glucomannan. Once it reaches the colon, Glucomannan gets broken down to give rise to prebiotics through fermentation by the gut microflora.
The powder prepared from Konjac root feeds the good bacteria that occupy the intestines. A study that was published in 2008 showed that the use of Glucomannan supplements increases the concentration of probiotics in the fecal matter. The concentration of specific probiotics such as Bifidobacterium and lactobacilli were also increased.
The intake of probiotics is associated with various benefits, such as improved digestion, better hormonal balance, and better health of the digestive tract. Probiotics are known to improve healthier cholesterol level as well as lower stress response by the body.
4. Konjac Glucomannan Supplements Benefit Diabetic Patients
More than 20 scientific studies have been conducted to find out the benefit of Glucomannan to diabetic patients. The ability of the product to delay emptying of the stomach has been shown to help diabetic patients. The slow emptying of the stomach promotes gradual sugar release to the blood, leading to a reduced concentration of blood sugar.
A study that was published in Diabetes Care demonstrated the various health benefits of Konjac Glucomannan to patients diagnosed with diabetes. The study involved diabetic individuals who were put on biscuits enriched with Konjac fiber.
The study concluded that the addition of Konjac fiber to the conventional management remedies of diabetes might promote blood sugar control. Other effects include improvement of blood lipid profile as well as systolic blood pressure.
In another study, 72 individuals who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were put on Konjac food for 65 days. The study concluded that Konjac food is helpful in the prevention and treatment of hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia refers to high blood sugar levels which are a major factor in diabetic patients.
5. Glucomannan Lowers Cholesterol Levels In The Body
A study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition to show the effects of Glucomannan intake on the levels of cholesterol in the body. The study revealed that the use of Glucomannan helps reduce the levels of lower-lipoprotein cholesterol in the body as well as total body weight and fasting blood glucose. It was also found that the product does not affect the concentration of high-density lipoprotein and blood pressure.
According to the study, the level of total cholesterol in the body was reduced by 19.3 mg/dL. The product lowered the level if low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 16mg/dL. Triglycerides were also decreased by 11.1 mg/dL. The fasting blood sugar levels were reduced by 7.4 mg/dL. The ability of Glucomannan to lower the amount of these substances in the body is attributed to its capacity to absorb water in the digestive tract. As a result, the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed and stored in the body declines.
Side Effects Associated With The Use Of Glucomannan
Preliminary studies have shown that Glucomannan is a safe remedy to use since it lacks chemicals and additives. However, few side effects have been reported by individuals who use the product in the management of various conditions.
It is thought that the intake of Glucomannan can result in the blockage of the throat and intestines. Individuals who are at a greater risk of experiencing this side effect include those who have structural abnormalities of the esophagus or the gut.
The product is also associated with the reduction in the requirement of hypoglycemic agents. As a result, Glucomannan may lose its glycemic control in diabetic patients. It is advisable to use the product with caution in diabetic patients.
A case report was released of a 31-year old man who had been put on Konjac Glucomannan supplements and later developed cholestatic hepatitis that was short-lived. Before the onset of the symptoms, the patient was taking one to two capsules daily for a 45-day period. The product was considered the most likely causative factor based on the temporal relationship. The hepatotoxic effect is thought to arise due to the presence of serotonin.
An occurrence of occupational asthma was also reported among workers who were employed in factories that manufactured the Konjac flour. According to the survey that was documented in 1952, Konjac asthma develops from the inhalation of its powder.
Minor side effects such as flatulence, diarrhea, and bloating may be observed when the product is used medicinally. Adverse effects associated with the use of Lipozene include discomfort of the digestive tract and constipation.
The intake of the product in patients who are diagnosed with a narrowed esophagus is discouraged. The product is also contraindicated in patients with difficulties swallowing. The product should always be taken with water to prevent the ability to choke. Experts also recommend that the product should be taken 15-30 minutes before taking a meal.
The combination of Konjac Glucomannan with other antidiabetic medications can cause the blood sugar to drop too low. It is important to speak to a doctor or pharmacist before one decides on whether to take the product together with antidiabetic drugs.
Top Products Containing Glucomannan
Below is a quick look at the various forms in which Glucomannan products are formulated in the manufacturing industries:
- Glucomannan Powder: the product is good for mixing smoothies and other foods. The product's powder adds a nice thick consistency to the food product.
- Glucomannan in Foodstuffs: the Japanese Shirataki noodles contain the Konjac Glucomannan product as the main active ingredient. Other food products with the active ingredient include candies and chewable gums.
- Glucomannan Powder Products: these are the most convenient forms of the product to use for its health benefits. They are also tasty, improving the compliance of the user. However, blockage of the esophagus and the intestines is mostly associated with the intake of Glucomannan tablets.
1. Glucomannan Capsules from Konjac Root
Glucomannan Capsules from Konjac Root are associated with various health benefits, such as promoting weight loss and reduction in calories intake due to the feeling of satiety. It is also a water-soluble dietary fiber that can help in improving constipation. The product has an overall rating of five stars out of five on Amazon. It is sold at $14.99.
2. Garcinia Cambogia
Garcinia Cambogia is manufactured by Quality Encapsulations. It is described as a pure Cambogia extract with HCA. It also comes with extra strength, and it is a natural appetite suppressor. They are packaged in a bottle that comprises 180 capsules. The product is free of additives such as fillers, binders, and other artificial ingredients that are associated with allergic reactions.
The product is claimed to be the most reputable in the market. Garcinia Cambogia blocks fat cells in the body. It also blocks the formation of new fat cells in the body. The supplement also prevents the conversion of carbohydrates into unhealthy fat in the body. Other health benefits that are derived from the product include suppression of appetite and reduced cravings for foods.
Individuals who are interested in losing weight benefit from the intake of the product. It has an overall rating of 4.0 out of a possible five stars on Amazon. It is sold a $19.99.
3. Nature's Way Glucomannan Root
As the name suggests, it is manufactured by Nature's Way. It is a dietary source of fiber and an excellent adjunct to any weight loss supplement. The main ingredient in this product is the Konjac Glucomannan extract.
It has also been formulated with other ingredients, including magnesium stearate and a plant-derived capsule also known as modified cellulose. Nature's Way Glucomannan Root is manufactured in the United States. The product has an overall rating of 3.8 stars out of a possible five stars on Amazon. Its selling price is $9.89.
Glucomannan Review Summary
The potential of Glucomannan to promote weight loss has made it popular among many individuals. However, it is advisable to follow a healthy lifestyle to benefit maximally from its weight loss effects. A healthy diet containing whole food should be strictly adhered to, including regular exercises.