Glucomannan is becoming increasingly popular as a natural helper for weight loss. And indeed, fiber has been scientifically proven to significantly improve weight loss on a diet. We show in detail how glucomannan works, what side effects can be and what you should consider when taking it.
What is glucomannan?
Glucomannan is a dietary fiber naturally found in the devil’s tongue/konjac plant (also called tears, Amorphophallus konjac or Amorphophallus rivieri).
It is becoming increasingly popular as a dietary supplement as it actually helps you lose weight.
In the form of capsules or powders, which are mostly 100% Konjakmehl, the dietary fiber, especially supportive of a diet can actually effectively contribute to weight loss.
The fiber is also used against constipation, diabetes and high cholesterol. Incidentally, besides these products, it is also the main ingredient of shirataki or konjac noodles.
Glucomannan is one of the soluble fibers. These fibers act as bulking agents by binding large amounts of water. Insoluble fiber binds much less water.
Glucomannan has an extremely high water binding capacity compared to other soluble fiber. If you empty the powder of one capsule of the fiber into a small glass of water, the complete mixture becomes a viscous gel.
This unique ability is one of the main reasons why Glucomannan can help you lose weight.
In Asia, the konjac plant has been used for centuries as a food source and for medicinal purposes. In China, konjac has been used for asthma, cough, burns and skin problems.
Meanwhile, scientific studies show that konjac glucomannan can have significant positive effects on cholesterol and blood sugar levels and is also very beneficial for digestion. [ Source ]
In addition to being sold as a dietary supplement, fiber is also found as an additive in some foods and carries the European approval number E425-ii.
Studies show: Glucomannan helps with weight loss
The European Food Safety Authority confirms that “Glucomannan can assist weight loss as part of a reduced calorie diet”. This health claim – called Health Claim – is allowed under EU law.
The effects of dietary fiber on body weight have been analyzed in several randomized trials.
In the largest of these with 176 overweight but otherwise healthy subjects, participants took either a placebo or glucomannan during a diet. Three different dietary fiber preparations with different concentrations were used. [ Source ]
Weight loss was significantly higher in the groups taking glucomannan.
A meta-analysis that analyzed and compared the results of 14 studies on the effects of glucomannan came to the following conclusion: Dietary fiber has a significant positive effect on obesity, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol and fasting blood glucose. [ Source ]
Other studies confirm this effect. If the fiber takes regularly before meals, it leads to significant weight loss in slightly and severely overweight persons. [ Source , Source ]
Glucomannan Benefits: Glucomannan in combination with a diet
As we showed in the previous section, many studies show that glucomannan may actually help you lose weight.
On the one hand, the appetite seems to curb, because the fiber in the stomach fills up with water and thus creates a sense of satiety. But also on energy burning, blood sugar levels, and digestion, it seems to give positive effects, which are noticeable by a reduction in body weight.
But one thing is important: Glucomannan is not a miracle cure! And in the studies and studies, participants were on a calorie-restricted diet while taking fiber.
There are also studies that found no positive effects on weight when subjects did not take glucomannan under a controlled diet. [ Source ]
This means that the fiber only helps when you are dieting at the same time. Just by taking Glucomannan you will most likely not lose weight.
But if you take the fiber supportive to a diet, you can look forward to faster and more significant effects and the feeling of hunger should be significantly reduced!
Effect of glucomannan in diabetes, high cholesterol, and constipation
Like other soluble fiber, such as psyllium husks or fenugreek, glucomannan has laxative properties.
Soluble fiber absorbs a lot of water in the digestive tract, forming a smoother stool that can more easily pass through the digestive system. A preliminary study [ Source ] and several double-blind studies [ Source , Source ] confirm the effectiveness of the fiber against constipation.
Already 3-4 grams daily proved to be effective. People with constipation experience relieving symptoms after 12 to 24 hours.
Glucomannan in diabetes
Because glucomannan increases the viscosity of the intestinal contents, thereby prolonging digestion time, dietary fiber lowers blood glucose levels and increases insulin rise after meals. This can have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity. [ Source, Source ]
A meta-analysis from 2008 analyzed the results of 14 studies that focused on the effect of dietary fiber on fasting blood glucose levels (as well as blood lipid levels, body weight, and blood pressure). The study showed that glucomannan significantly reduced glucose levels during fasting (on average by -7.44 mg / dL). [ Source ]
Placebo-controlled double-blind studies have shown that glucomannan is able to significantly lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels and, in some cases, increase HDL cholesterol levels.
A review of several studies revealed that glucomannan had the following effects on cholesterol levels:
Total cholesterol: decrease by 19 mg / dL (0.5 mmol / L).
The main mechanism by which this achieves is a reduction in the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract. Researchers conclude from these findings that glucomannan may lower the risk of heart disease.
Glucomannan side effects: When Glucomannan is dangerous
Generally, the fiber well tolerates and the intake is safe. It can occasionally come to light side effects such as flatulence, diarrhea or bloating.
However, when the fiber swells before it reaches the stomach, it can block the esophagus. To prevent this, always take it with a lot of liquid and do not exceed the indicated dosage (see below).
For those who suffer from esophageal constriction or a form of difficulty swallowing, the dietary fiber may, therefore, be very dangerous. The intake absolutely not recommend here.
In addition, by ingesting the fiber, the absorption of certain diabetes medications can be reduced. This can circumvent by taking the medication only about 4 hours after taking glucomannan or 1 hour before consuming the fiber.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding: As there is currently no precise information on the effect on pregnant women and nursing mothers, I advise you to be on the safe side from the intake.
Diabetes: Because glucomannan may affect blood sugar levels, diabetics should keep a close eye on their values when they consume fiber.
Persons taking medication should consult with a physician about possible risks before taking it.
Glucomannan Dosage: Glucomannan weight loss dosage
For health purposes, glucomannan consumes in the form of capsules, powder or tablets. Glucomannan For weight loss, a dosage of 3 grams daily 1 gram recommend.
The fiber has positive effects on body weight only if it takes just before meals. We recommend taking about 15 minutes before a meal.
In general, it is extremely important to always take the fiber with a high volume of water, otherwise, it may lead to blockages of the esophagus and respiratory tract.
In studies, the following dosages used in different indications:
Diabetes and High Cholesterol: Between 3 and 10 grams daily.
Constipation: 3-4 grams daily.
To lose weight: In studies, 1 gram used three times a day successfully. [ Source ]