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Konjac glucomannan

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Alpha-glucomannan, AM#, Amorphophallus konjac, Chrombalance™, conjac, devil's tongue, elephant foot yam, elephant yam, fiber, glucomanna, glucomannan root, GM, KJM, konjac, konjac ceramide, konjac fiber, konjac glucomannan, konjac-mannan, konnyaku, manna, Nature's Way® glucomannan root premium, polyactin A, polysaccharide, snake plant, yam flour.
  • Select combination products: Appe-Trim™ (glucomannan and guar gum); Glucosahl™ (glucomannan, guar gum, and alginate).
  • Note: Although glucomannan is a polysaccharide isolated from various plant and yeast species (e.g., Candida utilis), this monograph is limited to the clinical effects of konjac glucomannan and not glucomannan from other species or other constituents of Amorphophallus konjac.
  • Due to the number of studies on glucomannan, only meta-analyses, systematic reviews, and double-blind, randomized controlled trials are included in the Evidence Table.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Glucomannan is a soluble, fermentable, and highly viscous dietary fiber. Although glucomannan is a term for a polysaccharide derived from various sources, the most common meaning for glucomannan is for the soluble fiber derived from the root of Amorphophallus konjac (elephant yam or konjac plant). The konjac plant is native to Asia and may have blotchy green, white, yellow, and/or brown markings on its stem, resembling snake skin. The tubers can grow to greater than 10 pounds in weight.
  • The plant has various uses. These include its traditional uses as a food source (sliced and fried, baked, boiled, stewed, or as cereal meal, flour, or candy) or topical gel, as well as more recently, a source of glucomannan as a dietary supplement. Mannose, a sugar substitute in food products, is sometimes isolated from glucomannan.
  • Glucomannan is a highly viscous soluble fiber. Thus, when consumed, it absorbs water in the digestive tract, reducing absorption of carbohydrates and cholesterol. It is this property that makes glucomannan a product of interest with respect to weight loss, blood sugar lowering, and cholesterol reduction. There is good evidence to support the use of glucomannan for cholesterol reduction, constipation, diabetes, and weight loss. Other potential uses being investigated include hypertension and hyperthyroidism.
  • Glucomannan is being studied as a way to deliver drugs to the large intestines. This is due to its resistance to digestion in the upper digestive tract and its absorption in the colon. Other potential uses include inclusion in artificial skin products. Further research is required.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.