But the one I am going to talk about today really stands out for the wide range of people it helps.
What is Glucomannan?
40% of the the elephant yam (Konjac Root) is Glucomannan.
In southeast Asia it has been used for centuries in herbal mixtures and traditional foods like tofu and konjac jelly.
It is also the only ingredient in shirataki noodles, which accounts for the numerous health benefits ascribed to this japanese favorite (1).
Besides being used as a supplement for diet, It is used in production of foods as a thickener or emulsifier (2).
Glucomannan is one of the most absorbant dietary fibers and will aborb 50 times its weight in water.
If you open a single capsule of glucomannan into a large glass of water, it will turn into a mass of gel.
Bottom line: Glucomannan is a water soluble fiber with unequaled absorption capacity. It is rapidly becoming a key addition to many weight-loss products.
Soluble fiber is not digestible by our bodies, but do get digested by the “good” bacteria (Probiotics) in our guts (4).
In the stomach and intestine, it absorbs water, kind of like a sponge, and gives you a feeling of fullness (5).
It also slows absorption of other nutrients, reducing the rapid spike in blood sugar that tends to happen after (carb-heavy) meals (6).
After the stomach, soluble fibers travel to the large intestine, where they becomes food for the healthy bacteria.
As with other Soluble fibers, Glucomannan has the following benefits for weight loss:
- Very low calories
- It promotes a feeling of fullness (satiety), so you eat less (13).
- Reduces the amount of fat and proteins absorbed (14).
Conclusion: Glucomannan aborbs 50x its weight in water to form a gel which promotes fullness. Your body cant digest it, but the “good” bacteria in your gut do
An Excellent Prebiotic
In addition to the effect Glucomannan has for weight loss and health by itself, it is also an excellent Prebiotic(15).
Prebiotics are foods that our bodies cannot digest by themselves, but are digestible by the beneficial bacteria (Probiotics) in our guts and serve as a food source to stimulate their growth (16).
Probiotics are the “good” bacteria in our guts that strengthen our immune systems and improve many aspects of our health (17).
Soluble fibers have weight loss benefits by themselves, and are doubly effective to combine them with a weight loss specific Probiotic like Lactobacillus Gasseri.
Conclusion: Soluble Fibers such as Glucomannan serve as food sources (Prebiotics), for Probiotics such as Lactobacillus Gasseri. Depending on the individual, taking Glucomannan with Lactobacillus may increase its effectiveness.
Research on Weight Loss
A study was performed in 20 obese individuals. They were instructed to take either a glucomannan supplement or placebo (27).
The glucomannan group took 1g of glucomannan, three times per day, 1 hour before each meal.
They lost 5.5lbs (2,5kg) in a period of 8 weeks.
Another study with 200 overweight or obese individuals found that glucomannan led to weight loss of 12 pounds (4,5kg) in a period of 16 weeks (28).
I should also point out that both groups drastically reduced their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and their triglycerides.
Conclusion: Like other soluble fibers, glucomannan absorbs water in the stomach and contributes to satiety. It may also promote reduced calorie intake and weight loss via several other mechanisms.
Other Health Benefits
A meta analysis of 14 other studies showed that Glucomannan appears to improve body weight, blood glucose levels, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides (34):
- Lowers blood sugar by 7.4 mg/dL
- Lowers total cholesterol by 19 mg/dL
- Lowers LDL cholesterol by 16 mg/dL
- Lowers triglycerides by 11 mg/dL
Bottom line: These studies indicate that glucomannan could help lower your weight, risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease – 3 of the biggest health risks americans face today.
Dosage and Side Effects
In general, Glucomannan is considered safe with no side effects other than possible minor stomach discomfort, flatulence, or diarrhea. These are not common.
Since Glucomannan expands to 50x its volume, it is suggested to use smaller quantities than with other soluble fibers.
1 gram taken 2-3 times per day before meals is the recommended quantity (37).
One area of concern – the Canadian Health board requires companies to label Glucomannan products with a warning to take it with 8 full ounces of water to avoid the possibility of choking if it gets stuck in the throat (38).
Glucomannan can also interfere with the effectiveness of some drugs like sulfonylurea. This is not an issue if it is taken an hour before ingesting Glucomannan.
Conclusion: Glucomannan is dietary fiber, not a drug. Possible side effects are minor stomach upset.
Where to Buy
There are many different choices of Glucomannan on Amazon.
Unlike with Probiotics, where the “live” bacteria are actually dead, or Garcinia Cambogia, where the claimed 80% HCA is actually 5-10%, with Glucomannan, there is very little difference in the quality of products.
The different products are also all priced about the same, so its a lot simpler to purchase Glucomannan and not be worried about getting ripped off.
We also sell the Nature’s Way brand in our store for the same price as you find on Amazon.
But if you are at a weight loss plateau, or want a little extra boost in your weight loss efforts, you might give Glucomannan a try.
You also might want to try Glucommanan as a Prebiotic in combination with the Probiotic Lactobacillus Gasseri.
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