Glucomannan supplements made from konjac root improve several markers for type 2 diabetes, according to a study in Nutrients.
Previous analyses on glucomannan show that this high-fiber tuber possesses significant hypoglycemic and lipid-lowering properties. For this reason, it is often used in natural formulas designed for blood sugar balance and weight loss. This new review of the research provides even more reason to consider glucomannan supplements for patients with type 2 diabetes and/or weight control problems.
Chinese scientists conducted a meta-analysis of six randomized controlled trials involving glucomannan’s effect on type 2 diabetics. Sources included PubMed, Cochrane, the comprehensive biomedical research database (Embase), Web of Science, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) for literature. They found that glucomannan not only lowered total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein compared to a control group, but the supplement also reduced fasting blood glucose levels, 2 h postprandial blood glucose, fasting insulin, and serum fructosamine levels.
Unfortunately, compliance is low among type 2 diabetics when it comes to diet control and exercise regimens. And medications and insulin therapy come with side effects. That is why glucomannan is such a promising nutritional intervention for managing type 2 diabetes, said the research team.
“As a natural polysaccharide with a unique structure and physical and chemical properties, glucomannan has a high application value and prospects in the areas of food, cosmetics, and biomedicine. Glucomannan has potential medical functions in weight loss, lipid reduction, sugar control, and intestinal probiotics. The excellent water absorption and satiety of glucomannan make it exhibit the characteristics of dietary fiber, which can stimulate intestinal transport and reduce constipation,” wrote the authors of the study.
Konjac’s Nutritional Breakdown
Konjac root comes from Southeast Asia and Africa, where it is enjoyed as a food (the edible part is the underground flat round tuber). It is highly nutritious, low in fat, and high in fiber. Konjac root contains:
- Glucomannan (45%)
- Crude protein (9.7%)
- 16 amino acids (7.8%)
- 7 essential amino acids (2.5%)
- Minerals — including calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, manganese, chromium, and copper
“Our results indicate that glucomannan supplementation has significant reducing effects on the TC, LDL, FBG, P2hBG, FINS, and SFRA of type II diabetic patients. However, the beneficial effects of glucomannan on TG, HDL, BW, SBP, and DBP were not statistically significant. More RCTs with larger sample sizes, combined drugs, and longer experimental times are needed to further determine the effects of glucomannan on various indicators of type II diabetes patients. Perhaps glucomannan can then be developed into a highly effective natural product, thus benefiting more type II diabetes patients,” wrote the study authors.