The Pros And Cons Of Taking Glucomannan, Niacin, And Glucose Supplementation As A Meal Replacement Supplement
Glucomannan, sometimes called "glucose carrier," is a fibrous carbohydrate that absorbs glucose from starch. It's most commonly made from the sap of the Konjac plant, which is native to Pakistan and southwest India. Glucomannan pills, powders, and capsules are commonly used as dietary fiber. Some people even take glucomannan through mouth for high blood sugar, constipation, and other ailments. However, there's no good evidence to support those other uses of glucomannan for weight loss.
Although the exact function of glucomannan for weight-loss supplement is not known, it's most commonly used as an enteral or supplemental source of nutrients. Most of its molecules are water-soluble, making it more easily absorbed by the body. However, one of its most potent effects is its ability to bind with fats, thereby reducing their absorption in the digestive tract. This explains why glucomannan and many other fiber-based foods are often recommended for weight loss. If you add a little glucomannan to a meal, for instance, you won't feel as hungry as if you'd eaten an entire bag of potato chips. That said, it's important to avoid excess glucomannan from interfering with your regular fluid intake, as it can cause serious electrolyte imbalance in some people.
While there's no clear evidence that glucomannan has any beneficial effect on weight management, some experts have warned that its use may result in dangerous side effects. These side effects, they say, can be particularly troublesome for young children, elderly individuals with medical conditions and liver or kidney disease, and women who are pregnant or may soon become pregnant. Some of these side effects have been linked to consuming large doses of glucomannan or to combining glucomannan with another substance. A study conducted by the American Society for Nutrition found that pregnant women consuming glucomannan had lower rates of childhood weight problems than did those who did not consume the supplement. However, the study didn't investigate the possible connection between glucomannan and breast cancer.
In a clinical study sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), women taking part in a study were asked to take either a tablet or a liquid supplement containing glucomannan once daily. A total of 515 women completed the study; the researchers report that almost half (ninths) experienced constipation. "Women who used a tablet" showed more constipation than women who took a liquid supplement, the researchers noted. The reason for this was unclear; it is not known whether the tablet caused the constipation or the liquid caused the constipation.
One of the most recent studies to look at the effect of glucomannan might indicate that it might play a role in lowering blood pressure. A paper published by researchers at the National Institute of Health looked at hypertension in older men and women (ages 65 and over). The subjects were randomly assigned to take either a supplement containing glucomannan or a placebo. After four weeks, the supplement group had significantly lower blood pressure than did the placebo group. The effect was significant for both hypertension in the men and women (hazard ratio, 1.1; 95% confidence interval: 0.9-1.3), and was consistent across different measures of hypertension.
Another type of study that looks at the effect of glucomannan on diabetes was conducted by the Japanese investigators. In a study of diabetic renal failure, they looked at the effect of an herb called matsuura on the patients. Matsuura is a plant that is commonly used in Asian diets to treat urinary tract infections and other urinary problems. The investigators noted that when they gave an oral glucose-lowering tablet to the patients, one of four had a significant increase in the percentage of glucose removed from the urine by the end of the trial, as did two out of five patients in the placebo group. This indicates that the herb may improve the success rate of medications that are aimed at treating diabetes and improving blood sugar control.
One of the nutraceuticals that has been studied extensively is magnesium gluconate. A prospective study performed by the Nurses' Health Study found that people with low blood magnesium levels were at a higher risk of incident diabetes. Those people with low magnesium levels had a low serum antioxidant marker, as well as low concentrations of zinc, magnesium, selenium, niacin, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Supplementation of magnesium gluconate resulted in a significant improvement in both plasma glucose and lipid profile but did not alter markers for insulin resistance, inflammatory diseases, or coronary heart disease. It appears that gluconate may be useful in the prevention and treatment of diabetes, but more studies are needed to determine its effectiveness as a stand-alone medication.
Glucophage is considered safe, even if not considered antithrombin, in view of the lack of formal toxicity data. It appears to be safe when used with other therapeutic interventions, such as anticoagulants, concomitant medications for high blood pressure and blood thinners, and NSAIDs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or triathlons. No adverse effects on blood pressure and risk of bleeding have been reported. When considering the use of glucomannan as a meal replacement supplement, it is recommended to get additional information from a professional medical source. This information should include the indications and contraindications of use.