David E. Walsh, Vazgen YAGHOUBIAN and Ali BEHFOROOZ
An eight-week double-blind trial was conducted to test purified glucomannan fiber as a food supplement in 20 obese subjects. Glucomannan fiber (from konjac root) or placebo was given in 1-g doses (two 500 mg capsules) with 8 oz water, one hour prior to each of three meals per day. Subjects were instructed not to change their eating or exercise patterns. Results showed a significant mean weight loss (5.5 lbs) using glucomannan over an eight-week period. Serum cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were significantly reduced (21.7 and 15.0 mg/dl respectively) in the glucomannan treated group. No adverse reactions to glucomannan were reported.
Joyce Keithley, DNSc, RN, FAAN, Barbara Swanson, DNSc, RN, ACRN
Glucomannan (GM) is a soluble, fermentable, and highly viscous dietary fiber derived from the root of the elephant yam or konjac plant, which is native to Asia. Preliminary evidence suggests that GM may promote weight loss. This review summarizes studies using GM for weight loss as well as studies investigating its mechanisms of action. At does of 2-4 g per day, GM was well-tolerated and resulted in significant weight loss in overweight and obese individuals. There is some evidence that GM exerts its beneficial effects by promoting satiety and fecal energy loss. Additionally, GM has been shown to improve lipid and lipoprotein parameters and glycemic status. Further investigation of safety, efficacy and mechanisms of actions is needed to determine whether GM can help to decrease the high prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States. (Altern Ther Health Med.
Nitesh Sood, William L. Baker, and Craig I Coleman
More than 50 million Americans are thought to suffer from the metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors occurring in a single individual, including but not limited to abdominal obesity, atherogenic dyslipidemia, elevated blood pressure, and insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (1). Patients with the metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease as well as type 2 diabetes mellitus. According to the American Heart Association, the primary goal for the management of patients with the metabolic syndrome is to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes through smoking cessation and by reducing LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, body mass index, and glucose to recommended levels (1). Glucomannan is a soluble fiber derived from Amorphophallus konjac and is available in numerous over-the-counter products such as Lipozene. Like other soluble fiber (oats, guar gum, pectin, and psyllium), glucomannan has been touted for its potential beneficial effects on the risk of coronary heart disease (2). Glucomannan is thought to prolong gastric emptying time, which increases satiety, reduces body weight, decreases the ingestion of foods that increase cholesterol and glucose concentrations, reduces the postprandial rise in plasma glucose, suppresses hepatic cholesterol synthesis, and increases the fecal elimination of cholesterol
containing bile acids (2). Several clinical trials (3–19) have investigated the impact of glucomannan on total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, body weight, fasting blood glucose (FBG), systolic blood pressure (SBP), or diastolic blood pressure (DBP), but have yielded conflicting results and had only modest sample sizes. Although previous meta-analyses assessing the effects of soluble fibers on these same endpoints have been published, none have evaluated glucomannan. Therefore, we conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of glucomannan to better characterize its impact on various characteristics of the metabolic syndrome.
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