Glucomannan – Does it Work?
Glucomannan is a dietary fibre that is water-soluble. As one of Lipozene ingredients, It is derived from the konjac root of the Amorphophallus konjac plant. Glucomannan is often used as a food additive to increase thickness or as an emulsifier. Due to its various properties, siveral products, which contain glucomannan, are sold on the market as dietary or nutritional supplements. These products have been marketed to those with health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, constipation, and even acne.
Because of the high soluble fibre content of konjac glucomannan, it has been used in the treatment of chronic constipation. Patient’s who used glucomannan supplements experienced easier bowel movements and few side effects, partly owing to decreased time from food ingestion to bowel movement. In obese patients with high cholesterol, glucomannan showed significant changes in blood cholesterol levels. Decreases in low-density lipoproteins, triglycerides, and systolic blood pressure were noted among subjects taking the product.
For sufferers of Type 2 diabetes, when taken with their regular medications, glucomannan showed improvements in lipid levels and blood sugar levels. As mentioned, cholesterol and lipid levels in the body were impacted by glucomannan supplements. This effect was not lost on marketing teams; products directed at weight loss were created with modest results. Those taking the supplements reported noticeable weight loss, no side effects, and feeling more satiated.
This decrease in cholesterol in the body is caused by the high soluble fibre content of glucomannan. Soluble fibre in the digestive tract absorbs lipids, binding them. This leaves less fat to be absorbed, and literally eliminates them from the body. In diabetes patients, soluble fibres keep blood sugar levels stable by slowing the movement of food out of the stomach. Sugars are released at a slower, steady rate which, in turn, decreases lipid levels from increasing too high, allowing them to prevent insulin from uptaking sugar into the cells.
Health Canada released a health advisory in 2010 stating that products containing glucomannan could potentially cause harm if it is not taken with at least 250mL of water. The risks include choking or blockage of the intestine, esophagus, or throat. Health Canada advises that products that contain glucomannan be labelled clearly with safety information. As well, the FDA does not approve glucomannan products for any of the above health benefits, nor are there any clinical data to support the claims made.
As a popular ingredient in Asia, it has been added to several foods from noodles to tofu. Glucomannan is low in carbohydrates and has a low glycemic index making it suitable for those with diabetes. It can be found in several supplements along with products like daily vitamins and herbs. Some of the more common forms are as capsules or powder. One of the better known brands that offer glucomannan capsules is Nature’s way. They offer capsules that are to be taken before meals to decrease appetite and promote weight loss which is offered at the cost of about $14 for 100 capsules. The powder form can also be purchased at the price of around $20 for 500 grams which can be taken with water or used as a thickener in meals.