What is glucomannan?
Perhaps you have never heard this term before? Yes, Glucomannan. It is a type of sugar found in a tropical and subtropical plant called konjac (Amorphophallus Konjac). The konjac plant grows as a root and is widely known as a Konjac tube. The tube is highly filled with glucomannan fiber that is lauded for the zero calorie count of this special plant and its products.
It is important to note that the Konjac plant has an average lifespan of five years. At the third year, the plant is already packed with massive amounts of glucomannan fiber. According to specialists, when the konjac plant is dried up, about 40-60% of the powder will be glucomannan powder.
Uses of glucomannan
The glucomannan powder can be consumed as it is, but in many instances, it is used to make capsules and tablets used as medicine. It is a widely used product in the manufacture of weight loss supplements.
In any of its forms and taken in right doses, it is used to treat constipation, weight loss, diabetes, blood sugar fluctuations, obesity, hyperthyroidism and high cholesterol levels. The powder is also used as a gelling and thickening agent in the food industry.
Possible Side Effects:
It is commonly believed that glucomannan supplement is generally safe for use across all age groups. Unconfirmed evidence shows that if taken in tabled forms, they may not be safe for children because they can cause blockage in the throat or along their small intestines.
If the supplement is to be administered to children and adults with intestinal malfunctions, it is safer to crush the tablets into powder before consumption.
Doctors also caution against the use of glucomannan supplements by pregnant and nursing mothers, people suffering from diabetes or patients preparing to go for a major surgery because it is known to alter blood sugar levels, and this may pose a danger to these groups of people. However, much more medical research is needed in this area to provide tangible evidence that would support its use.
Confirmed Interactions With Other Medicines:
If taken alongside medicines that treat type 2 diabetes, the blood sugar of the patient may go too low. This is because glucomannan powder lowers blood sugar as well. A patient that is considering using glucomannan supplements as part of diabetes treatment or management needs to have his/ her sugar level closely monitored to avoid any serious complications or fatalities that may result from too low sugar levels.
It is also a confirmed fact that glucomannan highly absorbs things in the stomach. This consequently means that if it is taken together with other oral medicine, it will reduce their effectiveness by absorbing them and reducing their absorption into the bloodstream. It is important to have an interval of at least an hour from the time one takes other oral medicines to the time one takes any glucomannan medicine.
It has been scientifically confirmed that a dose of 3.6 to 10.6 grams per day is safe for type 2 diabetes patients who have high cholesterol. Patients always need to remember that glucomannan has the ability to expand exponentially and absorb large amounts of water, about fifty times of its own weight.
This, therefore, means that its dosage in supplements will be much lower than that of other dietary fiber supplements. As a rule, always consult your healthcare provider if you are not sure. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Because of the high demand of glucomannan in the market, conmen have in the past branded counterfeit products as “containing glucomannan”. Before purchasing or using any product alleged to contain this product, let the patient or customer do a background check to confirm the content.