Glucomannan uses primarily include lowering blood sugar, relieving constipation, lowering cholesterol, and aiding in weight loss. It is also often used in food preparation. There is also some evidence that glucomannan may help prevent certain types of food poisoning and treat eczema-like skin reactions. Do not give glucomannan to children without first discussing it with your healthcare provider.
What Is Glucomannan Used For?Glucomannan is a type of fiber that is used both in food preparation and in herbal supplements. It comes from the root of a plant known as konjac (Amorphophallus konjac). In addition to its use in food preparation, glucomannan is often used for the following purposes:
- To lower blood sugar (in people with type 2 diabetes)
- To relieve constipation
- To lower cholesterol
- To aid in weight loss.
There is also some evidence that glucomannan can help prevent food poisoning from food contaminants and toxins (although studies have focused on animals for this use). Recent research has also suggested that glucomannan can help treat eczema-like skin reactions in mice.
Like other types of fiber, glucomannan can be consumed as part of your diet, although many people find it difficult to obtain enough fiber just through diet. Glucomannan foods are popular in Asian health food markets, but they may be difficult to find in some areas. For people who have trouble eating enough fiber, fiber supplements (including glucomannan supplements) may be useful.
Origins of GlucomannanGlucomannan is derived from konjac plants, which are native to several areas in Asia. The root of the plant is used to make glucomannan flour, jelly, and various other products, including noodles. It can be used as a subsitute for gelatin for people who are on a vegan diet. The fiber itself has little or no flavor; it tends to absorb the flavors of other foods in dishes.