As I mentioned in the previous post (What is Konyaku? Part 1 – History), the Japanese knew that Konyaku was effective for the treatment of diabetes well before 10th century. There are other health benefits of Konyaku but I would like to start with this. I imagine these lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes are not simple and I believe it is crucial to know how and for what aspect Konyaku is effective.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a health condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high over a prolonged period and if left untreated, it can cause serious health complications.
The diabetic condition of [A] High blood glucose is typically complicated by [B] High blood pressure, [C] High LDL cholesterol and [D] High lipid (triglyceride) so many diabetic patients develop these conditions as well.
- [A] High blood glucose
The condition of diabetes.
- [B] High blood pressure
When the glucose level in the blood is too high, water in the body moves into the blood due to osmotic pressure. As a result, the amount of blood increases and the blood pressure heightens. This condition damages the blood wall and it may cause arteriosclerosis.
- [C] High LDL cholesterol
LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol. The cause of high LDL cholesterol is the same as the cause of diabetes. So some people complicate, confuse and get both symptoms and this is worse together.
- [D] High triglyceride
Triglyceride made in liver is put into lipoprotein and flows into blood. The amount of lipoprotein is controlled by lipoprotein lipase. Lipoprotein lipase is activated by insulin. So diabetics cannot produce insulin properly and that means diabetics cannot control the amount of triglyceride either.
If those symptoms are still left untreated, it damages blood vessels and it may cause diabetic ketoacidosis, nonketotic hyperosmolar coma, cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, diabetic retinopathy, chronic kidney disease, diabetic neuropathy, diabetic foot ulcers, macrovascular disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease etc.
There are three types of diabetes but I would like to concentrate on type 2 diabetes as it is 90% of the cases and it is the one which Konyaku can be effective.
What is diabetes’ cause?
Let’s see the mechanisms of a ‘Healthy Body’ first.
The mechanism of the ‘Healthy Body’
- People eat healthy food. (Low GI food is especially good for keeping moderate glucose levels.)
- Digested carbohydrates and sugars become glucose and flow in the blood.
- 4. 5. If the glucose level in the blood becomes too high, the pancreas produces insulin and it controls the glucose level by storing it in the liver.
Now, let’s see how those functions get confused.
The mechanism of a ‘Confused Body’
- People eat food. If that food contains too much High GI food, sugar, or people eat a large amount of food at once, the mechanism may get confused.
- Digested carbohydrates and sugars become glucose and flow into the blood but all are done so quickly.
- 4. 5. As the glucose level in the blood suddenly becomes too high, the pancreas produces a lot of insulin and the insulin works extremely hard to reduce the glucose level. As a result, the glucose level in the blood decreases too much and a brain misunderstands the situation (because in actual fact it was stocked in the liver). The brain orders people to eat more food! People feel cravings desperately and take more High GI food again! This REPEATS from 1 AGAIN!
If this confused cycle goes on and on, the pancreas breaks down in some way and cannot produce insulin properly. As a result, too much glucose remains in blood and causes diabetes.
What is the treatment of diabetes?
The most important thing is recovering the pancreas’ function of producing insulin. In order to allow the pancreas to practice and undergo rehabilitation, it is advisable to avoid food which increases glucose levels suddenly (High GI food, ex. refined sugar) and eat food which is absorbed as glucose slowly (Low GI food, ex. wholegrains). The general treatment to have balanced diet and regular physical exercise is also necessary.
How can Konyaku help?
Now, we understand the overview of diabetes. If Konyaku can have a positive effect on those 4 symptoms, that would be a great thing.
[A] High blood glucose
[B] High blood pressure
[C] High LDL cholesterol
[D] High triglyceride
Let’s have a look at some recent research. I also included the researches about glucomannan as it is the main ingredient (special fibre) of Konyaku.
Seventy-two type II diabetic subjects were given Konjac food for 65 days. The fasting blood glucose and the 2-h postprandial blood glucose on the 30th and the 65th days after the food was ingested were significantly reduced, , as was the glycosylated hemoglobin level at the end of the trial. The triglyceride values of subjects with hypertriglyceridemia (greater than 200 mg%) significantly decreased by 118.7 mg%. It was concluded that Konjac food is very useful in the prevention and treatment of hyperglycemia.
From this research, we can see Konyaku is effective as a treatment of [A] High blood glucose and [D] High triglyceride .
Konjac-mannan (glucomannan) improves glycemia and other associated risk factors for coronary heart disease in type 2 diabetes. A randomized controlled metabolic trial, 1999
A total of 11 hyperlipidemic and hypertensive type 2 diabetic patients treated conventionally by a low-fat diet and drug therapy participated. All were randomly assigned to take either glucomannan fiber-enriched test biscuits or matched placebo wheat bran fiber biscuits. Compared with placebo, glucomannan significantly reduced the metabolic control primary end points: serum fructosamine, total:HDL cholesterol ratio, and systolic blood pressure.
From this research, we can see Konyaku is possibly effective as a treatment of [A] High blood glucose , [B] High blood pressure and [C] High LDL cholesterol .
Konjac supplement alleviated hypercholesterolemia and hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetic subjects–a randomized double-blind trial, 2003
Twenty-two diabetic subjects were recruited to participate in a two 28-day clinical trial. The Konjac glucomannan supplement improved blood lipid levels and alleviated the elevated glucose levels in diabetic subjects. The Konjac glucomannan could be an adjunct for the treatment of hyperlipidemic diabetic subjects.
From this research, we can see Konyaku is effective as a treatment of [A] High blood glucose and [D] High lipid (triglyceride) .
Effect of glucomannan on plasma lipid and glucose concentrations, body weight, and blood pressure: systematic review and meta-analysis, 2008
A random-effects model was used and Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria. The use of glucomannan significantly lowered total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, body weight, and fasting blood glucose.
From this research, we can see Konyaku is effective as a treatment of [A] High blood glucose , [C] High LDL cholesterol and [D] High triglyceride .
Konyaku is good for type 2 diabetes treatment!
I believe now you can understand Konyaku is effective as diabetes treatment. Konyaku is effective for all those 4 symptoms.
And you know, these are typical life-style related conditions. Whether you are diabetic or not, it is useful for all of us to consume healthy food to keep these values low. Why don’t you try Konyaku and stay healthy? It’s easy to start, just alternate a quarter of your pasta, noodles or rice with our Dried Konyaku! Yummy and healthy!
Illustrated by Keiko Kingston