Extracted from the roots of the elephant yam or konjac, glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber that is now available in supplements, drink mixes, and other products. Glucomannan has a long history of use in traditional medicines and herbal mixtures. It is also used in many traditional foods, including noodles, tofu, and konjac jelly. It is also supposed to provide a number of health benefits, mainly due to its amazing ability to absorb water. Known as one of the most viscous fibers, it works great to absorb liquid. In fact, a glucomannan capsule can turn a small glass of water into a gel. It is due to this main feature that many experts are of the view that glucomannan helps support weight loss.
The indigenous people have also used konjac for breast pain, asthma, burns, hernias, and skin orders. Even scientific studies are now available to support some of the claims associated with the use of glucomannan. For instance, some studies have shown that supplementing with it can help improve carbohydrate metabolism, lower plasma cholesterol, encourage bowel movements, and promote weight loss. Below are some more health benefits of glucomannan.
The fiber in konjac root is low in calories but is very high in viscosity. That is the reason why it is supposed to promote a healthy body weight. Many studies show that supplementing with konjac glucomannan helps control weight gain, but it is important to bear in mind that these benefits show up when you pay attention to your diet and exercise regularly. The combination of good diet, exercise, and glucomannan not only helps lose weight but keeps it off as well.
By including glucomannan in your diet, you will be promoting a feeling of fullness. The fiber swells up in your gut and makes you feel fuller, which in turn keeps you from consuming additional calories. Here is a study to support the use of it for weight loss:
However, it is equally important to understand that glucomannan may not work when you do not pay attention to your overall diet. When taken alone, it may not be that effective. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition published a study in 2012 and stated that it did not lead to a statistically significant weight loss. There is nothing wrong in including it in your diet though. You can certainly make it a part of your weight loss diet and see how it works in your case.
Including probiotic foods in your diet is a good idea, because it increases the number of good bacteria in the gut. However, it is equally important to include prebiotic foods in your diet because good bacteria “feed” on these foods, and that is exactly when you can rely on glucomannan. Artichokes, jicama, garlic, and glucomannan are prebiotic foods. They provide you with non-digestible fiber compound that travels through the upper part of your GI tract and reaches the colon. This undigested fiber is then fermented by the good bacteria in your colon.
By increasing your intake of prebiotic such as glucomannan, you will be at a lowered risk of developing cardiovascular disease. It also lowers stress, improves digestion, maintains healthy cholesterol levels, boosts immune function, and maintains a better hormonal balance. Source
That is why glucomannan may prove beneficial for your digestive system. In fact, a study has found that including it in your diet may increase the fecal concentration of probiotics. It may also increase the concentration of specific probiotics, such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
One of many benefits of including glucomannan in your diet is to treat constipation. You are likely to develop this problem due to a low-fiber diet, lack of exercise, and dehydration. Of course, you need to change your sedentary lifestyle to relieve constipation, but you can get good results by increasing your intake of fiber.
By feeding good bacteria in your gut, you will be able to improve bowel movements as well. It is worth mentioning that glucomannan is a bulk-forming natural laxative. It means that it promotes bulkier stool, which in turn passes through the colon easily.
Another study has shown that supplementing with glucomannan improved painless bowel movements in people suffering from constipation – it also improves colonic ecology by 30%.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a systemic analysis of several studies, which revealed that glucomannan had positive effects on LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and triglycerides. The study showed that glucomannan lowered cholesterol by 19.3 mg/dL, triglycerides by 11.1 mg/dL, and blood sugar level by 7.4 mg/dL. You observe these benefits because glucomannan absorbs water in the digestive tract and reduces the absorption of cholesterol in the gut.
As mentioned already, glucomannan helps regulate blood sugar levels, so it is beneficial for anyone suffering from diabetes. It actually helps you lose weight more effectively by preventing serious fluctuations in your blood sugar levels. Studies have found that 2-4g of glucomannan a day may help enhance weight loss and improve carb tolerance and satiety. It is worth mentioning that it is supposed to help control blood sugar levels, by slowing down the stomach’s natural emptying process. Your body takes time to digest glucomannan, and this leads to gradual sugar absorption. Here is another study to help you have a better idea about the effects of it on diabetes:
You can also find some studies suggesting that supplementing with glucomannan may help treat hyperglycemia in a more efficient way. In fact, you can manage your diabetes in a much better way if you supplement with it and follow a healthy diabetic diet plan.
In addition to these important benefits, you may also experience other beneficial effects when supplementing with glucomannan. For instance, some studies show that it helps treat and prevent acne, mainly by increasing the number of healthy bacteria in your gut.
Similarly, the benefits of glucomannan for gastrointestinal flora may also help lower your risk of certain types of cancer. Moreover, some experts are of the view that including glucomannan in your diet may also help manage your hyperthyroid symptoms in a much better way.
Glucomannan may help with weight loss and lower blood sugar levels as well. To enjoy its many benefits, you need to take it regularly. You can include it in your diet in many ways. For instance:
It is true that it has a number of health benefits, but you need to consider some safety guidelines to avoid any complications. For instance, studies show that you should not take more than 1g of glucomannan thrice a day for weight loss. The reason is that it can absorb a lot of water and expands in your gut. Therefore, you should know how much to take to notice its effects. Also, you should be taking it before a meal if you are using it specifically for weight loss.
As mentioned already, it expands when it absorbs water, so it is important to take it with a couple of glasses of water to ensure that it does not expand before reaching your stomach. Washing it down with water will ensure that you do not end up dealing with blockage of the esophagus or throat.
It is also important to mention that glucomannan can cause some side effects, such as flatulence, bloating, or diarrhea, but these side effects are quite rare. However, some experts suggest that it can interfere with the absorption of some oral medications and diabetes drugs. Therefore, you should take your medications at least 4 hours after ingesting glucomannan.
The fact of the matter is that glucomannan is quite beneficial for your overall health, but it is important to start slow and introduce it gradually into your diet. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you experience any side effects.
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