Views:3 Author:Golden Horizon Biologics Publish Time: 2016-08-09 Origin:Golden Horizon Biologics
A dietary fiber from the tuberous root of the Amorphophallus konjac plant, glucomannan has multiple dietary functions. Due to its ability to soak up and hold water, the fiber begins to form a gelatinous mass that expands and fills the stomach.
As it progresses through the stomach and small intestine, this mass induces a feeling of satiety.This finding led to industrial interest in using glucomannan as a weight-loss supplement.
Glucomannan is found in several commercial products promoting weight loss. Data from good-quality clinical trials is not available, however, to either support or refute that function.
The A. konjac plant is a perennial exotic found naturally in most areas of Asia. Called by common names such as Devil's tongue, it produces a flower with a single, elongated center wrapped in a large leaf. The center spike of the flower and its potato-shaped tuber are two of the parts that are used in nutritional supplements.
Due to its unique chemistry, salivary and upper gastric enzymes do not dissolve and break down glucomannan. It is as the fiber passes into the colon that it begins to exert its potent ability to absorb water. By weight, each gram of glucomannan fiber absorbs 50 times its weight in water or more as it passes through the colon and begins a rapid fermentation process.
Glucomannan begins its expansion in mass and volume immediately after consumption. This property alone increases the feeling of fullness. However, further studies indicate that it has even more complex actions involving the hormone ghrelin and the protein leptin.4 Both are major mediators of the hunger-satiety cycle communicating with the brain to dictate hunger.
In a study of patients with type diabetes, researchers introduced a glucomannan supplement just prior to an oral glucose tolerance test. Prandial ghrelin reduction improved and the increase in fasting ghrelin slowed after four weeks of supplementation.
Also, leptin production increased and the rise of postprandial insulin flattened.4 In another study, researchers incorporated 10g of high-density, glucomannan-based fiber into small biscuits that were eaten before a glucose load. The increase in postprandial glucose was reduced by 74% in healthy participants and 63% in patients with diabetes.
In addition to satiety and reduction in the postprandial glucose spike, glucomannan appears to have a similar impact on lipid metabolism. In a meta-analysis of 14 studies involving more than 530 patients, glucomannan reduced total cholesterol by nearly 20mg/dL, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 15mg/dL, fasting blood glucose by 7mg/dL, and triglycerides by 11mg/dL.6 Considering these impressive metabolic figures, it is interesting to note that the study found an average reduction in body weight of only 0.8kg (1.76 lbs.).