Dr Mehmet Oz started out as the medical expert on The Oprah Show and is a renowned cardiothoracic surgeon and author. He now has his own television show and was recently famed for his interview with Donald Trump. He is also – according to People magazine – one the sexiest men alive today. Dr Oz recently let out his secret for how he manages to stay so trim, without having to exercise non-stop. His point was not a short cut – he still eats healthily and gets in some cardio time – but he acknowledged that his busy lifestyle means he needed to burn fat whilst committing to other projects. In short, he needed a supplement to help.
So, what was the supplement that Dr Oz claimed to offer him miracle fat busting help? Glucomannan Konjac – a bit of a mouthful – but an exciting supplement that has amazed America’s finest medical expert. The extract Glucomannan is a sugar made from the root of the konjac plant. It is make into powders, capsules and tablets and is also used in other medicines. It is a great treatment for constrinpation, type 2 diabetes and blood sugar control and the lowering of cholesterol. However, it is also a great way to lose weight. Health Canada are so convinced of its medical powers that it has authorized the use of Glucomannan when the patient needs help to reduce appetite, in weight management and in the treatment of constipation and high cholesterol. As yet, the FDA continue to treat it as a food supplement – therefore it remains free to use over the counter and is not regulated.
Glucomannan is a water-soluble polysaccharide. It is a component in the cell walls of some plant species and is also often used as an emulsifier in foods - as a thickener and gelling agent. Glucomannan flour and powder is used by a lot of manufacturers to achieve the appropriate texture for the products they make. Therefore, this supplement has likely been an important part of your diet for a long time.
How does Glucommanan Konjac work?
The supplement works in the stomach and the intestines to absorb water and forms this into a bulky fibre, which is useful for overcoming diarrhoea naturally. As it soaks up a lot of fluid, it also helps reduce bloating and general inflammation in the gut, giving you a sense of lightness and that you have lost some quick inches around the waste.
Glucommanan also slows the absorption of sugar and cholesterol from the gut into the blood stream. This has a number of effects. First, it means that excess sugar is excreted rather than being stored as fat by the body. Second, it helps the body control blood sugar levels better, helping control the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. Finally, the slow absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream is important in cardiac health. All in all, these effects make this supplement a handy addition to your regimen and it is easy to see why Dr Oz has been so amazed by it effects.
This means that if you struggle with constipation, diabetes or high cholesterol, then scientists are more than happy to conclude that the supplement is highly effective. Glucomannan helps with constipation because it decreases the amount of time it takes faecal matter to travel through the system. In terms of cholesterol, there have been statistically significant improvements in the total cholesterol of some obese patients. Some studies claim it helps women’s cholesterol levels more than men, though no conclusion has been drawn as to why this might be the case.
The supplement helps those with Type 2 diabetes because it improves the lipid profile and alleviates the fasting blood glucose levels. It also helps with insulin sensitivity – which is a significant actor in coronary heart disease.
The medical community also suggests it is useful for other conditions such as dumping syndrome, high blood pressure, overactive thyroid and obesity. Dumping syndrome is caused by having part of your stomach removed during surgery. The symptoms involve the movement of food too quickly into the small intestine – in essence the stomach is dumping undigested food into the intestine, which then becomes blocked. Refined food is more likely to be dumped, as is eating dairy or fatty foods. This may result in bloating, nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhoea and a rapid heartbeat.
Early research suggests that Glucommanan can be used to reduce the risk of blood sugar becoming too low as a result of the stomach dumping food too quickly. It helps the body to get the sugar out of the food more rapidly, so that the user benefits from eating natural foods before it is processed by the body.
High blood pressure, which can be a result of diabetes, though not always – can be helped with the use of Glucommanan. Early research suggests that it can lower blood pressure, relieving pressure of the heart and brain. Similarly, early research suggests that the thyroid levels can be controlled using the supplement.
The biggest area of hope is that the supplement can help with obesity. Obesity is one of the biggest killers of people in the western, developed world. It manifests itself in cardiac problems, increased risk of stroke, increased risk of Type 1 diabetes and resultant complications. Therefore, improving the body’s ability to process sugars at a reasonable rate means less sugar is absorbed and therefore less is stored as fat in the body. A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis of a number of other research studies showed that there was a statistically significant improvement in weight loss when Glucomannan was taken as a supplement, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Is it really an easy route to weight loss?
No route to weight loss – and the more difficult – weight management – is easy. If it was easy then no-one in the world would choose to be over weight – putting their health at risk and significantly lower their own self-esteem. Even with the help of supplementation, the management of weight will take some work. However, is does help it be just that little less difficult. It works at first because it is one of the most viscous dietary fibres – this means that it is the most water soluble – therefore it helpfully gathers up excess fluids and passes these through your systems reducing bloating. A single capsule can turn a glass of water into a gel. This is pretty unique.
The supplement has a low calorie content but it takes up space in your stomach – mostly with the water that is has helpfully gelled together for you. This means you will be full quicker. It also delays the emptying of the stomach, delaying the release of sugars into the blood – therefore you feel full up for longer. The reduction in the sugar intake also means that less sugars are stored as fat in the body. So, there are four different mechanisms at play here: reduced bloating, reduced appetite, quick to feel full and the passage of sugars through the system and not stored as fat.
Studies have shown these effects to be an accurate representation of what the supplement can do. In one of the biggest studies 176 healthy overweight people were randomly assigned the supplement or a placebo. They were then placed on a calorie controlled diet. The weight loss was significantly greater in the groups that had been given the Glucomannan supplement. This showed best results when the supplement was taken with meals and the weight loss program also included a control on the amount that the people were eating. In other words, the supplement won’t work by itself but works to increase the effects of a normal healthy calorie restricted diet.
All the evidence does suggest that, yes – Glucomannan can help with weight loss. It can aid you in your efforts to restrict calories and so make it easy to maintain a healthy diet. Like all things in life, there is no miracle solution. This supplement merely helps you to do the things that will help you lose weight. It makes you feel fuller, it makes you stave of hunger for longer – but by itself it will not burn fat. Therefore, you need to consider it an aid to a long term change in your lifestyle.
How much should you take and when?
If you are hoping to lose weight, your best option is to take 1 gram of Glucomannan with your meals, with a glass of water. The water will help the supplement expand in your stomach and reduce your appetite for food. The supplement is capable of absorbing 50 times its weight in water – therefore, if you lower the dose then you need to drink less water. Try to time taking the supplement between 15 minutes and an hour before a meal. It is important to take it with water to prevent it expanding on its way to the stomach and causing blockages in the oesophagus or the throat.
If you struggle to take the supplement – reduce the dose or wash it down with a lot of water or other liquid. Remember that there is also a chance that you might increase the wateriness of your stool and may suffer a little with diarrhoea. If this is the case, then you should reduce the dose or stop taking the supplement until the symptoms have subsides
The Canadian health authority claim there is risk if the supplement is not taken with at least 250ml or 8 fluid ounces of water. It also advises that you not take the product just before bed, as it can cause toilet problems through the night and sit heavily in your stomach or intestine.
You need to purchase your supplement from a recognised seller. Read the testimonials on the site you are buying from. A number of retailers have been sanctioned by the Federal Trade Commission, as they have made misleading or exaggerated claims. Therefore, doing your research to seek out the best suppliers is important. Any that claim that you will lose a certain amount of weight with no change to your lifestyle are probably not the most reputable dealers. Remember Dr Oz claimed it was a way of helping him make the most of his healthy lifestyle – he was clear to say that weight management was not possible of the supplement alone.
The root of the konjac plant has long been used in food as an emulsifier. It is one of the most absorbent dietary fibres in the world. It is perfectly safe to eat, which is why it is use by food companies as a natural additive to the recipes they sell. However, it is even more impressive sold as a supplement. When taken with water within an hour of eating, glucamannan can reduce the amount you want to eat and it can keep you full for longer. This is an excellent aid to a weight loss regimen – as it takes away the hunger pangs and the sense that you never have enough to feel satisfied.
The benefits of the supplement go beyond just weight loss. It can help manage blood sugar levels, and so help control the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. It can also control the amount of cholesterol entering the blood, which is a leading cause of coronary disease. In addition, it can lower blood pressure – both for diabetics and non-diabetics – decreasing the chances of heart attack and stroke. And, on a basic level, it can help when you are constipated and just need to get rid of that bloated feeling.
The supplement is not a miracle cure for obesity. Any site that claims this is undermining your efforts to change your lifestyle. The supplement can act as a walking stick would work for a man with a bad leg. It will ease some of the difficulties, it will reduce the pain, but in itself it will not cause fat to burn away from you. You still need to commit to a change in lifestyle and Glucomannan will support you while you do.