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This Morning: Liz Earle discusses supplements for hair loss

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Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance made in the liver. Your diet, particularly the types of fats and carbohydrates you eat, largely impact your cholesterol. The culprit contributes to heart disease, stroke and atherosclerosis. Fortunately, a healthy diet and the right kind of supplements can significantly help lower your levels and reduce any serious disease risks.

A 2008 review of evidence published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested glucomannan can reduce levels of total cholesterol and cause a drop in “bad” LDL cholesterol.

The researchers suggested glucomannan has this effect by altering the way cholesterol is produced in the liver, and also how fats in the body are stored or used for energy.

The supplement was shown to help with total blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, how does depo provera work and triglycerides.

Glucomannan is a dietary fibre, usually made from the root of the konjac plant.

Glucomannan powder, capsules, and tablets are used as medicine for a variety of ailments.

The powerful supplement could be taken to help treat diabetes, constipation, high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol.

In another study published in the National Library of Health, the effect of short-term glucomannan on serum cholesterol in healthy men was further investigated.

The effects of the soluble fibre konjac glucomannan (GM) on serum cholesterol concentrations were investigated in 63 healthy men in a double-blind crossover, placebo-controlled study.

After a two-week baseline period, the subjects were given 3.9g GM or placebo daily for four weeks.

The study found GM fibres reduced total cholesterol concentrations by 10 percent, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations by 7.2 percent, triglycerides by 23 percent, and systolic blood pressure by 2.5 percent.

“The results of this study show that GM is an effective cholesterol-lowering dietary adjunct,” concluded the study.

How it works

Glucomannan might work in the stomach and intestines by absorbing water to form a bulky fibre which treats constipation, said WebMD.

The health site added: “It may also slow the absorption of sugar and cholesterol from the gut, helping to control sugar levels in diabetes, and reducing cholesterol levels.

“Taking glucomannan by mouth seems to improve cholesterol levels in people with or without high cholesterol.”

When it comes to dosage of glucomannan supplements, Holland and Barrett advise a dose of around 1g to 4g per day has been used safely in studies.

But it warns: “Always read the packaging or food label first.

“Take glucomannan 15 minutes to an hour before a meal, and make sure you swallow it with one to two glasses of fluid to avoid it expanding before it reaches your stomach, as this could be dangerous.”

Glucomannan has not been proved safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women or children.
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