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Glucomannan: Konjac Root Extract Uses, Benifits and More

Glucomannan is collected from the root of a plant called Konjac Plant which is grown in the tropical climate of Asia. The Konjac plant is also known as elephant yam and its botanical name is Amorphophallus konjac. 

The bioactive phytochemical glucomannan is a glucose-mannose-polysaccharide. It is a water soluble and highly viscous-fiber which finds use in the kitchen of China and Japan.

 glucomannan- konjac-root-extract

The popular belief regarding glucomannan 

The traditional belief regarding glucomannan is that it helps in reducing weight. In all probabilities glucomannan may achieve this by bringing in a feeling of satiety as after ingesting glucomannan swells in the stomach making a feeling of fullness.

Glucomannan also helps in reducing the absorption of fat. 

Mode of extraction of glucomannan

Roots are the edible part of the konjac plant. The root of the konjac plant looks like a potato which contains high fiber and a small amount of starch.

The root is first dried up and then pounded to powder form to make it as konjac flour. This konjac flour is a high fiber diet with minimal amount of calories. Hence it is extensively used by the Japanese and the Chinese people in their kitchen.

Glucomannan is recognized as a weight loss product as it is quite filling.

Beneficial effects of glucomannan 

  • It is used to treat constipation. After ingesting the glucomannan [Konjac Root Extract] absorbs the watery portion of the food in the intestine and gets converted into bulky fibers which helps in the bowel movement.
  • Glucomannan also reduces the sugar as well as cholesterol absorption in the gut helping to regulate the levels of sugar and the cholesterol.
  • Glucomannan reduces weight.
  • It also regulates blood pressure.

Side effects of glucomannan

  • Taking glucomannan without water can be risky as it may lead to choking and many other serious side effects. Earlier people used to consume the flour of glucomannan in making their food. 

Evidence has revealed that taking glucomannan in powder form or in pill form without a large amount of water and that too four periods more than 4 months is far from safe.

  • For the cases of pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding their babies no confirmatory evidence is available for the present. For now the best practice will be to stay away from taking glucomannan during such stages.
  • For the children too, glucomannan is safe when taken with plenty of water for a maximum period of 4 months. But for them also consuming the tablets or powder of glucomannan without water can be harmful. Such products are capable of imparting many severe side effects including choking.
  • Glucomannan has an interaction with other prescription medicines, so to say, when glucomannan is taken along with some other medications, it may have an effect of decreasing the extent of absorption of the medication.

However this effect of glucomannan can possibly be avoided by taking any other oral medicine after one hour of taking glucomannan tablets or powder.

What should be the dose of glucomannan

When glucomannan is used in foods, mostly by Chinese and Japanese people, it is used as a thickening agent. People also like glucomannan in their food as it supplies a lot of fiber in their food.

But when it is used as medicine, it becomes necessary to fix some dose so that people don’t consume more than the safe limit of consumption of glucomannan. The most popular and safe dose of glucomannan, for adult humans, is 3 to 4 grams a day orally for 3 months.

For the cases of children who need to take glucomannan a dose of 2 to 5 grams of glucomannan a day for 4 months seems to be a good choice.

But it is always advised to consult your healthcare provider or doctor who will be the best for deciding the exact dose for the user.

Glucomannan as weight loss ingredient

One positive point of glucomannan for weight loss is its high fiber content. But it does have many other weight loss properties. 

But for getting the best results you must take it as additional aid in addition to other efforts such as healthy diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

By taking glucomannan along with the other weight loss therapies will give the user multifaceted improvements reducing the weight faster.

Glucomannan is also the main ingredient in the most potent diet pills of the market.

In fact each activity of this combined weight loss regime works in combination or in a concerted way interacting with one another providing the participant with a sum total advantage in reducing the weight.

Three ways glucomannan works to control and reduce weight

By controlling as well as regulating the appetite

This is the first way of starting to lose weight. From the previous discussions we now know that when coming in contact with water glucomannan interacts in some specific way.

Glucomannan expands after soaking the water. Not only that, glucomannan after mixing with water gets turned into a sticky viscous fiber. 

Coming in contact with water glucomannan may expand to a weight which is several times more than its original weight. This can easily be seen if you put some glucomannan in a glass and pour water on it.

When glucomannan expands similarly in the stomach it pushes on all the sides which gives a feeling of fullness of the stomach. This is due to a signaling mechanism of our body by which the stomach walls send signals to the rain which tells you that the stomach is full. 

In this way glucomannan serves the first purpose of suppressing the appetite which is a prime necessity for the overweight and obese people who are always hungry taking calories after calorie.

Glucomannan delays the absorption of sugars and carbohydrates

Blood sugar and along with this insulin resistance are the two worries due to which many people gain weight. Glucomannan helps you to regulate your sugar level and insulin resistance.

The question is how does glucomannan do this job? This is due to its viscous and fibrous form after absorbing water. This sticky substance holds on to the carbs and the sugar delaying their absorption.

That is why taking glucomannan before meals helps you to lower the absorption of sugar and carbs. This will prevent the occurrence of insulin spikes after taking meals.

 It also strengthens the gut microbiome.

References

  1. https://static3.enetural.com/static/estudo_depuralina_cut_27216.pdf
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0144861713012964