What is Glucomannan?
In essence, Glucomannan is a sugar obtained from the roots of Amorphophallus konjac and it is a water-soluble polysaccharide with vast applications, both in the food industry and in the health supplement market. In some cases, it is even used as a medicine in order to treat some mild health affections, like constipation. Furthermore, the research has suggested that this component may be useful in treating other affections as well, but the FDA is still yet to approve it as a treatment, due to the lack of undisputed evidence.
Nonetheless, Glucomannan has been accepted in the supplement industry as a good way to reduce the appetite, keep the weight under control and even treat constipation and elevated cholesterol levels. More applications are on the line, but due to the lack of scientific backup, they have not left the category of “potential”.
In the food industry, however, it is used as both a thickener and an emulsifier, which adds up to its versatility.
The benefits vary and while some have been proven as solid, others are still under serious debate. An interesting fact is that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has penalized some companies who were advertising Glucomannan as the remedy in cases where it did not fit at all. These exaggerated claims have been, since then, removed, but other positive effects have been observed during the various studies that have taken place.
- A useful treatment of constipation
Due to the fact that Glucomannan is actually a water-soluble fiber, it has been considered as a potential treatment for constipation and the studies have shown that it is indeed useful in this regard. After the intake, the subjects showed a lot fewer symptoms related to severe constipation and the affection itself diminished after several uses.
- Brings down the cholesterol levels
This effect has been observed particularly in obese individuals, mostly healthy men and women, with no significant medical condition that could impair the objectivity of the results. Their LDL and triglycerides levels dropped during the regular consumption, but the effects were clearly visible after the first Glucomannan intake.
- Weight loss benefits
Even though the results have not been pristine clear in all of the cases, the tendency has been definitely observed as a fact. In some test subjects, Glucomannan has been observed as supporting a better calorie burn, but the same effects missed during the more recent studies, primarily a more detailed one that took place in 2014.
- A good candidate for treating the symptoms of type 2 Diabetes
Glucomannan has been proven to alleviate the lipid levels, along with the blood glucose, helping in reducing the impact of type 2 Diabetes. Aside from this its influence appears to raise the insulin sensitivity.
Regarding the use of this polysaccharide in other purposes, or for treating other affections like high blood pressure or stomach problems, there is still a need for further research, prior to deeming it as effective.
There are few dangerous interactions of Glucomannan since it has been declared safe for human consumption, even when we are talking about children. The only major problem would be the design of the recipient, aka the pills or the tablets it comes in. It has been noticed that the tablet, in particular, can cause choking due to its size, affecting either the throat or the intestines. Which is why it is recommended to always take it with a large glass of water, in order to avoid any complications.
In addition, this water-soluble fiber may be unsafe for pregnant women and those who breastfeed, although there is no clear data in this regard, as well as in the case of those undergoing surgeries, because of its effects on the blood sugar levels.
Glucomannan can be extracted from the roots of both corn and the konjac plant we mentioned in the beginning, but also found in salep, a traditional Turkish spice. Other than this, you can find it in various supplements in the market.
How much Glucomannan should you take?
It should be consumed in doses between 3.6 and 10.6 grams.