Gaining weight might be the easiest task in the world but losing it is a tough uphill task. To aid in this endeavor, various weight loss supplements have been splashing the market of late.
The number of products is so high that it is often daunting for any potential customer to differentiate between the real and the fake. Each supplement claims to be the best, and thus it is natural for you to get confused.
Amidst this, there is a weight loss supplement that has been grabbing eyeballs. It is the Glucomannan weight loss supplement. Here, we would take a candid and honest look at this weight loss supplement.
A natural dietary fiber, Glucomannan is extracted from the roots of the konjac plant, popularly known as elephant yam. 40 percent of this root is made of Glucomannan.
The plant is native to Southeast Asia. Studies show that Glucomannan powder has been used for centuries by the people of these regions both as food and in traditional medicines to cure many diseases.
The famous healthy Japanese Shirataki noodles are made from Glucomannan. In food, Glucomannan flour and powder is used in various recipes as a thickener or gelling agent.
Medically, it was used to cure many diseases like constipation, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, stomach conditions like dumping syndrome and various other gastrointestinal disorders.
The standout feature of Glucomannan is its extraordinary ability to absorb water. It can absorb more than 50 times its weight of water and transform in jelly.
One can easily ascertain this by adding the contents of the Glucomannan capsule in a glass of water and mix it well. The water will take a gel-like consistency or even turn into a paste.
It is this incredible absorption capacity and viscosity of Glucomannan that is attributed to be the key to its effectivity in promoting wellness and weight loss. This product is available as capsules, powder, and tablets.
Ingredients of Glucomannan supplement
Each capsule of the Glucomannan supplement has about 1.725 gm of Glucomannan. Apart from it, it has other non-active ingredients like the cellulose, silica and magnesium stearate.
All these are extracted from the vegetable source. Finally, the powder is encapsulated in a bovine gelatin capsule. Thus, the supplement is completely vegan and can be easily used by all.
How does Glucomannan work?
It works in the stomach and the intestine by absorbing water and forming a bulky fiber. As this fiber cannot be digested by the body, it has no caloric value attached to it.
This viscous gel-like fiber works on three mechanisms which help you suppress your appetite and help you lose weight. The three mechanisms are:
- Mechanical- The fiber absorbs water and becomes bulky and occupies quite a lot of space in the gut. Consequently, your stomach feels full and satiated and you eat less.
- Hormonal– The fiber also impacts your appetite hormones to reduce your hunger pangs and keep you satiated for a longer
- Transition Time- As the fiber occupies a room in your gut, it slows down the process of absorption of food in the intestine and thus helps you reduce your food intake.
There are various properties of Glucomannan via which it helps you lose weight. The leading properties of the supplement are:
- A natural probiotics
Probiotics are substances that help restore the balance of the good and the harmful bacteria in the gut. Probiotics are substances that act as precursors to probiotics. They cannot be digested by our bodies as such, but the good bacteria present in our gut can easily digest them.
Consequently, they serve as food to these good bacteria and help in their multiplication. Glucomannan passes undigested from upper gastrointestinal tract and reaches the colon where the good bacteria are present.
The good bacteria ferment them to create probiotics. As this gut microflora grows, it shows many health benefits including the strengthening of the immunity system and eventually helps you lose weight.
- Helps in relieving constipation
Glucomannan is a natural laxative. By absorbing plenty of water, it promotes the formation of larger and bulkier stool which is able to pass through the colon in a more effortless manner.
The action is also quite fast since all other bulk-forming laxatives available in the market typically take about twelve to fourteen hours after intake to encourage the bowel movement.
- Helps in managing the cholesterol level
Various studies were conducted on Glucomannan which indicated that it had plenty of beneficial effect on the total cholesterol level of the body. Surprisingly, it does not impact the blood pressure and high-density lipoprotein or the ‘good cholesterol’ in any manner.
However, it helps reduce the level of low-density lipoprotein or ‘bad’ cholesterol as well as the harmful blood fats called triglycerides.
When the Glucomannan fiber expands in the gut, it slows down as well as decrease the absorption of the bad cholesterol which is then flushed out of the body via stool. Thus, it comes across as a natural and drug-free way to reduce the cholesterol level in the body.
- Helps in controlling blood sugar levels
Various scientific studies have been conducted to show the effect of Glucomannan on diabetes. Foremost, it slows down the stomach’s emptying process.
Due to this, the sugar absorption process slows down and becomes more gradual. Thus, you show lower blood sugar levels after meals. However, one needs to be cautious and keep monitoring the blood sugar levels especially if one is on blood sugar lowering drug.
Glucomannan and weight loss
Unlike most other weight-loss supplements, Glucomannan does not have any direct weight loss attributes attached to it. It helps you lose weight effectively only when it is supported with a low-calorie diet and sufficient exercise.
Done right and in a proper manner, it accelerates your pace of weight loss and leaves you leaner and healthier. It may not show an appreciable weight loss if no change is made to your diet or sufficient exercise is not supporting it.
According to a study, when combined with psyllium husk and given to participants, Glucomannan helped reduce about 10 pounds over a span of 16 groups. For comparison, a placebo group was created as well which lost just 1.6 pounds in the same time span.
Various studies are still being conducted on the effect of Glucomannan on weight loss. Due to it, the supplement is still not FDA approved. Despite it, the supplement has been showing promising results. Few of its leading benefits are:
- It can help you lose weight if consumed in the right manner and backed by proper diet and exercise. The gel formed by this supplement not only increases your feeling of satiety but the food calories absorbed by this gel often passes out of the body unabsorbed. Moreover, it also lowers the production of the hunger-inducing hormone ghrelin which helps you go for more extended periods without food.
- As it keeps your stomach full for longer hours and lowers the pace of absorption of food from the gut; it helps in naturally maintaining the blood sugar levels.
- The supplement is a natural laxative and thus helps you in getting rid of constipation and regulating bowel movement.
- By its action mechanism, the supplement obstructs the absorption of bad cholesterol and bad fatty acids and help them flush out of the body unabsorbed. Consequently, the blood cholesterol levels get improved.
- The supplement helps in improving the skin quality as it strengthens the immune system and aids in the absorption of good nutrients in the body. It has shown positive results on acne when used as a topical therapy. It improves the overall skin health.
- Glucomannan tends to lower the thyroid hormones and thus helps in treating patients suffering from hyperthyroid.
- It helps increase the antioxidants and the activities in the body. Due to this, the inflammation in the body is reduced, and the allergies get soothed. It makes you healthier.
- Some studies also suggest that the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds present in Glucomannan are effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
Risks and Side-effects
Generally, this product is safe to eat and consume, but it is not completely free of side-effects. Few pieces of evidence suggest that consumption of it may manifest some side-effects. Thus, one is recommended to consult a doctor before consuming this supplement and be under their observation if suffering from any diseases. Few common side-effects noticed in few people are:
- It can trigger an allergic reaction in some like rashes, itching, swelling of throat and mouth; difficulty in breathing, etc. Its best to seek medical advice here.
- Because the fiber absorbs water and expands in the gut; it can show some side-effects like bloating, gas, nausea, abdominal pain, flatulence, and even diarrhea.
- Sometimes bloating can lead to blockage in the intestines or other kinds of intestinal damage. The best way to avert is to drink enough water with the supplement. It is always advisable not to take this supplement before going to bed to avert the situation.
- The supplement reduces the bio availability of ingested drugs. Thus, you are advised to avoid the supplement as long as you are on medication.
- Glucomannan supplement is best taken as a powder or in a capsule. There is a risk of choking if taken in a tablet form. They can stick at the back of the throat and pose difficulty in swallowing. When water is taken to wash it down, it expands in the throat by absorbing it and induces choking. Thus, one needs to exercise caution while consuming it.
Precautions when consuming the supplement
- As the supplement tends to obstruct the absorption of nutrients; it is recommended that it should not be consumed by a pregnant lady or if one is breastfeeding.
- The supplement usage must be stopped at least two weeks before any surgery if it needs to be conducted.
- People with medical conditions like diabetes must be under the continual supervision of a doctor while consuming the supplement.
Dosing of Glucomannan
Since the supplement tends to absorb about fifty times its weight of water; its recommended dosage is much lower than most other fiber supplements. Based on the studies conducted on it so far, the recommended dosage of it is about 1-5 grams per day which should be spread to three times throughout the day. One can start with taking about one gram of the supplement with at least eight ounces of water before meals, three times a day.
Our final verdict on Glucomannan
Glucomannan might not come across as a weight-loss supplement, but it can definitely help those who are making a serious effort to change their diet and lifestyle to a healthier version.
Partnered with the right diet, exercise and correct dosage, the Glucomannan supplement has scientifically proven to bring about weight loss by increasing the feeling of satiety and decreasing the absorption of proteins and fats by the body.
Even though the supplement is not FDA approved, it is generally considered harmless to consume. It is also highly affordable compared to other dietary fiber supplements.
The research results and customer’s review of this supplement is a mixed bag. However, most give it a high rating. The supplement is being touted as the best to induce the feeling of satiety in those who are dieting to lose weight.
However, you can hear several hailing it as worthless and ineffective. This is because the supplement needs a low calorie diet, enough exercise willpower as well as patience to manifest its efficacy.
People leading a sedentary life or struggling with over-eating might not get the desired results without making the changes.
The supplement is easily available both online and over the counter shops. Many reputable supplement brands and retailers sell it across the globe, and thus it can be easily purchased by any.
The cost of the supplement is also lower to other similar comparable weight-loss supplements which again work in its favor. Thus, we strongly recommend this supplement to all those who are looking to jump-start to a healthier weight goal without feeling sick or hungry.