Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Supplements

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What is glucomannan?

Glucomannan is a water-soluble dietary fiber derived from the konjac root, a Japanese plant. The plant is cleaned, and the fiber is purified before being used as a supplement.

The main uses of glucomannan are to promote larger stools and improve digestion. Studies conducted on individuals suffering from constipation have shown that glucomannan supplementation helps produce a bowel movement within 12 to 24 hours. Glucomannan also delays the emptying of stomach contents, which allows for a more gradual absorption of dietary sugar, and can reduce blood sugar levels. As a result, some scientists believe that glucomannan can be used to help treat diabetes and related conditions.

Because glucomannan is a soluble fiber, it can bind to certain acids produced in the stomach and remove them from the body. In this way, it can help lower blood cholesterol and blood lipid levels. Controlled studies have shown that glucomannan can reduce levels of total blood cholesterol, LDL (or "bad") cholesterol, and triglycerides, and may even raise levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol. Glucomannan may also help promote weight loss.

How much glucomannan should I take?

The amount of glucomannan to be consumed depends on the condition being treated. A basic guide for glucomannan supplementation is as follows:

It is also recommended that patients drink at least eight ounces of water each time they consume any bulk-forming laxative such as glucomannan.

What forms of glucomannan are available?

Glucomannan is available as a bulk powder and as a type of capsule. It is not known if any foods contain significant amounts of glucomannan.

What can happen if I take too much glucomannan? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Because glucomannan expands rapidly, patients with any disorder of the esophagus should avoid taking glucomannan or any other fiber supplement in pill form. Supplementing with glucomannan may also result in flatulence and abdominal discomfort, especially in people unaccustomed to a high-fiber diet. There is also evidence that some people may have an allergic reaction to glucommanan powder. If an allergic reaction occurs, discontinue use.

As of this writing, there are no well-known drug interactions associated with glucomannan. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking glucomannan or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.


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