PGX--Frequently Asked Questions

Appendix D: Excerpt from: Hunger Free Forever Book, by Michael T. Murray

What is PGX?

PolyGlycoplex (PGX) is a proprietary blend of three natural viscous, nonstarch polysaccharides that act synergistically to develop a higher level of viscosity greater than other dietary viscous fibers known. This blend forms a unique gel matrix that is maintained in the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike many fiber-containing natural health products, PGX does not lose its gel-like viscosity in either acidic stomach or alkaline intestinal environments.

PGX is produced in a sophisticated process-induced viscosity technology via the EnviroSimplex method-in a conditioned chamber that collides the ingredients in an extract and precise proportion. The entire processing is pharmaceutical industry-based and strictly adheres to principles of good manufacturing practices (GMP). Every polysaccharide complex of PGX is an entity on its own and with its perfect composition and particle sizes contribute to maximum viscosity.

What Are The Physiological Benefits Of PGX?

The physiological benefits exerted by PGX relate to its nature as a highly viscous nonstarch polysaccharide (fiber) with a very high water-holding capacity. When consumed with food, PGX absorbs significant quantities of water, this increasing the volume of gastric content and promoting an early sense of satiety even when food portions are decreased. PGX also increases good viscosity, thus slowing the rate at which food is digested and absorbed. This leads to beneficial effects such as prolongation of after-meal satiety and normalization of post-prandial blood glucose and insulin excursions. This effect is in keeping with research demonstrating that the greater a fiber’s viscosity, the more effective it will be in reducing the glycemic response to foods.

In the colon, PGX is highly “prebiotic” in that is promotes growth of health bacteria and production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), substances that are vitally important to colon health. The primary SCFA produced by bacterial action on PGX is propionate, which has been shown to increase production of bifidobacteria, suppress the growth of undesirable microbes such as Candida albicans, and lower stool pH. Propionate is also taken up by the liver and may help decrease production of cholesterol and free fatty acids. As a viscous polysaccharide, PGX also increased excretion of bile acids. With lower levels of bile in the bloodstream, additional bile acids are produced by the liver from blood cholesterol, lowering blood cholesterol levels.

Figure D.1. The three polysaccharides of PGX bind together at side bonds to form an interlocking matrix. PGX is unique in that it represents proper blending and combining of the polysaccharides so that the side bond of the coils will link with the side bonds from other polysaccharides coils, thereby working together to form a stable gel matrix with exceptionally high viscosity.

Why Should I Incorporate PGX Into My Diet?

PGX is an excellent source of dietary fiber, In 2004, the average person in the United States and Canada consumed about 13 grams of dietary fiber per day. The dietary reference intake of fiber for those 19 to 50 years old is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Unfortunately, to achieve the greatest benefit, the additional dosage required (e.g. 20 grams or more) is often difficult to achieve with other fiber supplements. Moreover, it is difficult to obtain highly viscous fibers from our day-to –day good choices. In contrast, PGX is an easy and convenient way to add viscous soluble fiber to your diet, as it can be added to any meal or snack by mixing it into any beverage or sprinkling it onto moist food.

What Are The Clinically Proven Health Benefits Associated With PGX?

PGX and its prototype compositions have been studied for over fifteen years at the University of Toronto and Risk Factor Modification Centre at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, by Dr. Vladimir Vuksan and his research group. (Previous names used in Dr. Vuskan’s publications include konjac-mannan, konjac-mannan polysaccharide mix, viscous fiber blend, and viscous polysaccharide blend.) This polysaccharide blend has now been further developed and refined into a commercially applicable product under the PGX logo. It is important to note that its mechanisms of action, properties, and health benefits remain, and continue to be supported with further laboratory research and clinical investigations. The Canadian Center for Functional Medicine has been using PGX extensively in various weight-loss programs and other medical interventions in regular medical and dietetic practice in order to investigate further its potency and the practicality of its application as learned from a clinical research setting.

Area Under the Curve Glucose Response

Nonstarch Polysaccharides

Post-Meal Plasma Glucose Response

Time (minutes)
Control = 50g glucose; Fibers = 3g/50g glucose

Figure D.2. Effects of adding 3g of different soluble nonstarch polysaccharides on postprandial glycemia when added to a 50g oral glucose load. Control is a 50g oral glucose load done alone.
Note: Viscous Fiber Blend (VFB) was the prototype for PGX.

Research surrounding the health effects of PGX, has been done on healthy, overweight, and obese individuals, as well as people with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Reported benefits include:

  • Reduced postprandial blood glucose levels (lowering the glycemic index of foods when consumed with PGX) and insulin concentrations.
  • Increased insulin sensitivity and reduced body fat.
  • Lower blood cholesterol levels.
  • Reduced appetite and food intake.
  • Healthy weight loss of 0.5 to 2 pounds per week.
  • Reduced risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome.

Improved bowel regularity

Who Should Add PGX To Their Diets?

Against the backdrop of rising rates of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes, everyone would benefit from PGX, including those who want to:

  • Reduce their risk of developing diabetes and or/cardiovascular disease.
  • Minimize their potential for metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes.
  • Lower insulin resistance.
  • Better manage blood glucose levels, especially in type 2 diabetes.
  • Moderate high cholesterol levels, whether or not they are on cholesterol-lowering medication.
  • Achieve healthy weight loss (0.5 to 2 pounds per week).
  • Cut food cravings and reduce their intake of extra calories.

Dietary supplementation with PGX improves cardiovascular disease risk factors and reduces relative risk of cardiovascular disease in three population groups: healthy individuals and those with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes. This conclusion is based on three studies that involved PGX, from which the relative risk for cardiovascular disease was calculated using the Framingham equation. Results showed that PGX reduced cardiovascular risk by 11 percent in type 2-diabetic subjects, by 21 percent in subjects with metabolic syndrome, and by 31 percent in healthy subjects.

How Much PGX Should I Take Per Day?

To take full advantage of the health benefits associated with PGX, a recommended 2.5 to 5 grams should be taken with healthy snacks or smaller meals throughout the day.

What Are The Common Side Effects of PGX?

When people first begin taking PGX, they may experience some gas, loose stools, transient diarrhea, abdominal bloating, or even some constipation. Others start on the full dose (10 to 15 grams per day) and experience no side effects, depending on the tolerability of their gut and micro flora already existing in the colon. Overall, it can take the body and digestive tract from three to five days to adjust to the addition of higher quantities of PGX to the diet. To minimize side effects, 2.5 grams once or twice per day is recommended as a starting dose, which can be gradually increased to target levels. For those following a low-fiber diet, it is recommended they start in PGX slowly and increase the amount very gradually.

When enough water is consumed (between 8 and 12 ounces (375 and 500 ml) per 5 grams), side effects are greatly minimized. It is important to drink a sufficient quantity of water with or immediately after each PGX serving.

Are There Any Contraindications With Common Medications?

PGX can slow the rate of absorption of foods and therefore it can theoretically do the same with medications. It is recommended that any oral medication be taken one hour before PGX and two to three hours after consuming the product. People with diabetes must monitor their blood sugar and may need to adjust medication accordingly, as PGX helps control blood sugar and may lessen the need for medications or insulin over time. It is recommended they consult a physician prior to adjusting their own medication. In some cases with those on medications for diabetes, with higher intakes of PGX blood glucose could drop below baseline and cause hypoglycemia.

If a person needs to take their medication in the morning with breakfast, they can take PGX with a midmorning snack, at lunch, and at dinner time. If a person is taking an array of medications, it may be appropriate to recommend that they consult their physician prior to taking PGX.

Who Should Not Use PGX?

  • Anyone who cannot compensate for a large intake of water, such as individuals with renal disease and congestive heart failure
  • Anyone on a large number of medications that need to be taken with food/and or without food, unless advised by physician
  • Persons with gastrointestinal disorders who have difficultly swallowing, esophageal stenosis, or preexisting bowel abnormalities such as gastrointestinal strictures or impaired mobility, as they may be at risk for throat or esophageal blockage or bowel obstruction. Individuals with any gastrointestinal diseases or who have undergone gastrointestinal surgeries should consult their physician before taking PGX.
  • Pregnant or lactating women should discuss PGX use with their healthcare professional.

Does Taking PGX Lower Mineral Bioavailability?

Research regarding the effects of PGX on mineral bioavailability is currently unavailable. Nonetheless, there is little or no evidence that PGX could cause mineral deficiency. Only in studies using insoluble dietary fibers have reductions in the bioavailability of some minerals been shown. In fact, some health experts have concluded that absorption is improved through the gastrointestinal tract with the consumption of high nonstarch polysaccharides or high-fiber diets. As supportive evidence to their conclusions the following points can be made:

  • Current evidence suggests that moderate fiber intake does not cause nutrient deficiencies, especially when consumed with a well-balanced diet.
  • Research on glycomannan, one of the main ingredients of PGX, reports no reductions in mineral absorption.
  • Phytic acid from cereal fibers or insoluble, nonviscous dietary fibers has been found to depress the absorption and retention of several minerals. Since PGX does not contain phytic acids, it is unlikely to affect mineral bioavailability. Fermentable fibers such as PGX have been shown to be non-digestive by human enzymes in the small intestine. In the large intestine they are fermented into short-chain fatty acids, which have been shown to increase mineral absorption.

In summary, it would appear that dietary supplementation of PGX for extended periods does not adversely affect mineral balance.

How Is PGX An Improvement Over Other Fiber Supplements/Products On The

Some fibers on the market are non-thickening and thus offer none of the benefits associated with viscosity. Those that are viscous are less palatable since they develop viscosity and thicken very fast, making food and beverages unpleasant for consumption. Others have a bad taste, color, and/or grainy texture that make them less palatable. PGX is easy to use, natural, colorless, and has no distinctive odor or taste. Also, unlike some soluble fibers that thicken immediately upon contact with liquids, PGX granules develop viscosity at a much slower rate, so it is easy to mix into foods and beverages. This slower development reduces concerns of PGX expanding and obstructing the throat or esophagus because thickening likely occurs lower down in the gastrointestinal tract, such as in the stomach and small intestine.

Is PGX Simply A Weight-Loss Diet Product Or Food Fad?

Definitely not. PGX is a volumetric and viscous fiber that can be easily incorporated into a wide number of eating patterns and lifestyles. PGX is easy to apply and can be used as a healthy supplement at home, on vacation, in a restaurant, or at a friends for dinner. Eating a healthy balanced diet is always recommended, but for successful weight loss, many people need simple and practical help. Although there are many key considerations in a healthy weight-management program, including portion control and increased physical activity, PGX may assist with reductions in appetite, increased satiety, stabilization of blood glucose and cholesterol levels.