Glucomannan Vs Psyllium
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Glucomannan and psyllium both are soluble fibers used as effective ways to reduce weight, prevent constipation, and lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. They differ in the source from which they are made. Glucomannan is a fiber obtained from the roots of the konjac plant while psyllium is derived from a shrub-like plant known as Plantago ovata.
These supplements can absorb water in the intestine, form a bulky mass and help in the passage of waste through intestine. These supplements are available in powder, capsule, and tablet form.
This article will take a closer look at these supplements, glucomannan vs psyllium, their uses, potential benefits, and possible risks and side effects.
What is Glucomannan?
Glucomannan is a dietary fiber and polysaccharide soluble in water and derived from the roots of a plant scientifically known as Konjac k konch. This Amorphophallus konjac plant is a perennial plant widely available in different Asian regions. Glucomannan has been used in various cooking dishes and as a remedial compound in traditional Chinese Medicine.
As a water-soluble polysaccharide, glucomannan is used as an effective tool to increase weight loss. Glucomannan powder and capsules are widely used to limit the amount of food and calories we use daily.
Benefits of Glucomannan
Glucomannan is a dietary supplement that is low in calories and sugar and high in fiber which makes it an effective remedy to relieve various health conditions.
May Feed Probiotics
Glucomannan supplements are the fibers that are not digested by our body and provide food to gut microflora which promote digestive health. Once prebiotics arrives in the intestine, gut micro bacteria cause fermentation of these prebiotics and use them to boost gut health.
These dietary supplements may serve as a natural laxative and help relieve constipation. Glucomannan can regulate the movement of intestine and cause the stool easily pass through the intestine.
Lower Cholesterol Levels
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, glucomannan supplements showed beneficial effects in lowering cholesterol levels. The study revealed that consumption of glucomannan fibers resulted in a significant reduction of total cholesterol, LDL and triglyceride levels.
May Prevent Diabetes
Dietary fibers are low in sugar and calories which help regulate blood sugar levels in the body. Research revealed that glucomannan, when used with other natural drugs like American ginseng can help manage diabetes.
Promote Weight Loss
Many health experts recommend glucomannan supplements including capsule or konjac powder to help shed some pounds. This soluble fiber increase weight loss in several ways.
They expand in the stomach when dissolved in water and create a feeling of fullness and reduce appetite. Glucomannan produces a gel-like substance in the stomach and delays stomach emptying which reduces food intake leading to weight loss.
Glucomannan can reduce the absorption of proteins and fats and provide food to good bacteria. These bacteria transform this food into short-chain fatty acid known as butyrate which prevents fat gain.
Possible Risks and Safety Guidelines
Glucomannan supplements are usually considered safe and well tolerated, but these may cause some side effects.
They may cause choking and breathing problems if expand before reaching to stomach. It is recommended to take a glass full of water to prevent any health hazards.
Glucomannan may cause some digestive problems like bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort.
Konjac supplements may interact with some medications and reduce the absorption of drugs used for diabetes. It is best to avoid these supplements or take medicine before 1 hour or after 4 hours of taking glucomannan.
What is Psyllium?
Psyllium is a soluble fiber with mild laxative properties obtained from the husk of Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. Plantago husks are commonly named ispaghula that can grow worldwide and are widely grown in India.
This soluble fiber from psyllium husk can reduce cholesterol levels, alleviate constipation and diarrhea, treat intestinal problems, and normalize blood sugar levels.
Modern science has unearthed several beneficial effects of psyllium husk including heart and pancreas health.
Benefits of Psyllium
Psyllium is used as a dietary supplement and is available in form of husk, capsules, powder, and granules. It makes a thick gel-like compound when dissolved in water and resists digestion in the small intestine. This ability of fiber help psyllium to regulate cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglycerides levels.
Psyllium husk also helps reduce weight and treat other digestive problems like diarrhea, constipation, and intestinal diseases.
Psyllium Treat Constipation
Psyllium is a laxative bulk-forming fiber that gives volume to stool and helps alleviate constipation. It can bind to partially digested food, pass through the stomach to intestine, and helps absorb water. Absorption of water makes the stool soft which is then easily passed through the colon.
According to a study in 170 individuals with chronic constipation, consumption of 5.1 g of psyllium twice daily for 2 weeks resulted in increased stool weight. It also increased water content and number of bowel movements which helped relieve constipation.
Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
Consuming fiber supplements help reduce the body’s glycemic response to food and manage insulin and blood sugar levels. Psyllium work by slowing the digestion of food which can regulate blood sugar levels.
In a study, 51 individuals with type 2 diabetes were instructed to use 10g of psyllium twice a day. Results showed a remarkable reduction in blood sugar levels, cholesterol, constipation, and body weight.
May Increase Weight Loss
Psyllium forms a viscous substance in the stomach which delays stomach emptying and induces satiety. It can suppress appetite and limit the amount of calorie intake leading to weight loss.
According to a study, consumption of 10.2 g of psyllium before meals resulted in a reduction of hunger and eating desire and increased the fullness between meals.
Lower Cholesterol Levels
Studies showed that psyllium reduces LDL, cholesterol, and triglyceride level and lower the risk of heart diseases. Psyllium husk binds to bile acid and fats and encourages the body to excrete them.
According to a study consumption of 6g of psyllium for 6 weeks resulted in a 6% reduction in LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
Possible Risks and Side Effects
Psyllium husk is usually safe to use and tolerated well by people however it has laxative effects and can cause side effects when used in large doses.
Consuming 5-10 grams of this fiber three times a day does not cause any adverse effects. Some people may experience digestive problems like abdominal cramping, bloating, and flatulence.
Psyllium may interact with some medications and can interfere with absorption. It is suggested to avoid this supplement with medicines to avoid any adverse effects.
In rare cases, psyllium can cause some allergic reactions like itching, rashes, and trouble breathing.
Glucomannan and psyllium are water-soluble fibers used to relieve a variety of conditions. They are used as effective remedies to treat constipation and diarrhea, reduce cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels, and increase weight loss. They share some common properties however fifer in the source from which they are made. You can take a trial of each of these fibers to evaluate which one is effective for you.
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