In order to avoid certain risks and complications, you should understand the precautions and warnings with glucomannan. Before taking glucomannan, let your healthcare provider know if you have difficulty swallowing, diabetes, or any other chronic disease. To help ensure glucomannan safety, make sure the manufacturer of your glucomannan product is a trusted and reputable manufacturer -- sometimes what you see on the label may not reflect what is in the bottle.
Is Glucomannan Safe?Glucomannan is an herbal supplement often used for weight loss (see Weight Loss Pills), as well as several other conditions. In order to use glucomannan safely, you should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking glucomannan if you have:
- A narrowing (stricture) of the esophagus
- Difficulty swallowing
- Any other chronic disease or health problem.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Glucomannan Warnings and PrecautionsWarnings and precautions to be aware of concerning the safety of glucomannan include the following:
- In the United States, herbal and other dietary supplements are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as foods. This means that they do not have to meet the same standards as prescription medications and over-the-counter medications for proof of safety, effectiveness, and what the FDA calls "Good Manufacturing Practices" (although new laws and regulations are trying to improve the manufacturing practices for supplements).
- There have been reports of people getting glucomannan tablets stuck in their throats. This can be very dangerous. Due to this risk, glucomannan tablets are usually not recommended. This does not seem to be a problem with glucomannan capsules or other products.
- If you have difficulty swallowing or if you have a narrowing (stricture) of your esophagus or digestive tract, glucomannan may not be a good choice for you, as it could get stuck in your throat. Check with your healthcare provider before taking glucomannan if you have any of these problems.
- Glucomannan can decrease the level of sugar in the blood. If you have diabetes, check with your healthcare provider before taking glucomannan. You may need to monitor your blood sugar more often, and your healthcare provider may need to adjust the dose of your diabetes medications.
- Glucomannan supplements can interact with other medications (see Glucomannan Drug Interactions for more information).
- It is not known if glucomannan is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women (see Glucomannan and Pregnancy and Glucomannan and Breastfeeding).
- If you decide to use supplements, what you see on the label may not reflect what is in the bottle. For example, some herbal supplements have been found to be contaminated with heavy metals or prescription drugs, and some have been found to have much more or much less of the featured ingredient than their label states. Therefore, make sure the manufacturer of your glucomannan is a trusted and reputable manufacturer.
It is a good sign if a manufacturer abides by the rules of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). It is also a good sign if a product has the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) seal, which means that the product has been independently tested and shown to contain the correct ingredients in the amounts listed on the label. Your pharmacist is a good resource for information about which manufacturers are most reputable.