What is it and where it is found?
Glucomannan is an exceptional type of soluble fiber which is reputed to be able to absorb two hundred times its own weight in water.
It is employed as a dietary supplement to assist in weight loss by way of increasing stomach contents without additional calorific value.
Put simply, the glucomannan fibers swell in the stomach, making people feel ‘full’, and so they eat less.
It occurs naturally in a number of plants, but the primary form of glucomannan for weight loss purposes is obtained from the Konjac plant native to parts of Asia.
Konjac was traditionally used as a herbal remedy, and also to make healthy foods such as noodles and tofu.
Glucomannan as a Super fiber
Glucomannan is known in some circles as a ‘super fiber’, due to its extraordinary ability to absorb many times its own weight in water, and because of its ‘fat grabbing’ properties.
Being a soluble fiber it is able to bind with any number of other substances during the course of the digestive process, by which action it can slow digestion.
This means that it may be effective in relieving mild to moderate constipation, in addition to reducing the absorption of carbohydrates and fat.
As a result of this, it is often deployed in medicines designed to lower levels of blood cholesterol (harmful LDL cholesterol), as well as lowering blood sugar, because it reduces the absorption of both substances from dietary sources.
This is in addition to the role of glucomannan in promoting weight loss.
Clinical trials of glucomannan showed that the fiber was able to effectively and significantly lower levels of LDL cholesterol (often called ‘bad’ cholesterol) in overweight children.
The same studies showed a corresponding reduction in blood sugar levels.
Used for weight loss
A separate study confirmed glucomannan ability to assist in weight loss, showing that dieters who took glucomannan regularly as part of their nutritional program experienced significantly greater weight loss than those who did not.
They also showed more corresponding reduction in levels of body fat, as well as an increased tolerance to sugar.
Yet another investigation into the significant weight loss benefits of it found that obese patients who were given glucomannan supplements with each meal lost an average of almost 6 lbs more than those who were not given the supplement, over an eight week period.
The glucomannan group also had reduced levels of LDL cholesterol.
Other great implications and uses
Glucomannan has also been variously marketed as a treatment for constipation, and also acne.
It certainly is able to treat constipation, as high doses of glucomannan are known to have a mild laxative effect and can cause diarrhoea in healthy individuals.
The acne treatment is based around glucomannan’s potential to lower and regulate levels of blood sugar, which may normalize hormonal action as a side-effect and this reduce acne.
Being a soluble fiber, it may also help to prevent, slow, or even reverse the growth of several typed of cancer, including cancer of the colon.
Supplementing the diet with good sources of fiber has been shown in some studies to help reduce the risk of developing colon cancer by as much as forty percent.
The recommended dosage of glucomannan is around 1g to be taken three times a day with meals, though this amount may vary depending in individuals and circumstances.
It is not recommended to load up on glucomannan in the hope of seeing more rapid weight loss because first, this can cause diarrhoea, flatulence and other unpleasant side-effects and secondly as a soluble fiber, can bind to other substances in addition to carbohydrate and fat, including vitamins and minerals.
So taking too much may lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
For this reason, it is also advisable to take a multivitamin alongside it, to reduce the possible consequences of the fiber preventing vitamin and mineral absorption.
The glucomannan and multivitamins should be taken at different times of the day, several hours apart.
In fact, this goes for any other supplement or medication, since there is a risk that it may be absorbed by it if taken at the same time.
Maintain a healthy digestive system
Glucomannan as a source of dietary soluble fiber is recommended as being beneficial for most people, as fiber has inherently good cleansing properties and helps to maintain a healthy digestive system.
As a weight loss supplement, glucomannan is 100% natural and effective, and available over the counter at most health food stores.
You should ideally consult your doctor before beginning and new course of supplementation, and especially if you experience any negative side-effects as a result of taking any supplement or medication.