Guar Gum: What it is, What it is for, Benefits, Uses, Best Supplements, Contraindications. In this article; What is Guar gum used for? What are the benefits and side effects of guar gum? What is guar gum bad for you? Can you eat guar gum everyday? What foods use guar gum? We have compiled the answers to the questions and all the curious about Guar gum.
What is Guar gum?
Guar gum (also referred to as Guar flour or Guarano) is a water-soluble, flour-like product extracted from the seeds of the guar plant (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba). It is also known as Guar flour and is particularly popular in the food industry where it is used as a thickening additive initialed E412.
The product, which is rich in galactomannan, has interesting therapeutic properties and is found in numerous dietary supplements formulated both for intestinal regularity and to aid body weight loss. Although Guar gum could cause side effects in certain individuals, it is considered a safe product, within the recommended dosage. The product can be found at pharmacies, herbalists and specialty retailers at an affordable price.
Guar gum is a water-soluble substance obtained by grinding the endosperm contained in the seeds of Guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba). It is an herbaceous, annual species belonging to the Fabaceae family. Although the plant is native to India and Pakistan, guaranum crops are also found in China and the United States. The plant prefers direct exposure to sunlight, tolerates drought but is particularly sensitive to frost.
Guar is a leguminous plant that can reach 3 meters in height developing on a single stem characterized by basal branching. The elongated, oval-shaped leaves are covered with dense hairs and are arranged in an alternating pattern.
While the inflorescences are tinged with a distinctive color ranging from white to bluish by gathering in clusters positioned at the axil of the plant. The pods, while developing, are flat and thin. They can contain up to 12 seeds that when ripe take on a grayish-white hue.
The seeds are harvested between late October and early November. They undergo a drying process and are then peeled with the intention of separating the extra-embryonic cell tissue from the outer integument. Grinding is then carried out.
At the end of that process, the seed is ground into a water-soluble powder with an ivory-white color and gelling properties, known as Guar gum. Because it has a flour-like consistency it is also called Guar flour. This product in contact with water can take on a solid or semisolid consistency that has been used in food for centuries. The presence of the thickening additive, in industrial foods, is listed in the list of ingredients as E412.
The main constituent of Guar gum is galactomannan: a polysaccharide consisting of mannose and galactose in a 2:1 ratio. In addition to serving a food thickening function, the product, due to its high viscosity, is able to modulate the body’s absorption and digestion of lipids and proteins.
This characteristic makes Guar gum interesting therapeutically. In fact, partially hydrolyzed Guar gum is particularly present both in dietary supplements directed at the treatment of intestinal disorders and in adjuvant remedies for weight loss.
Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum: differences
Guar gum is often confused with Xanthan gum: a substance used as a food and cosmetic additive to produce gels with a watery consistency. Although they have similar properties, the products are not extracted from the same plant species and undergo different extraction processes.
In fact, Xanthana is obtained through a sugar fermentation process performed by the bacterial strain Xanthomonnas campestris.
Properties and composition of Guar gum
The main chemical constituents of Guar gum can be summarized as:
Guar is considered the naturally occurring polysaccharide with the highest index of water-soluble polymers.
Guar is made from the seed of the plant Cyamopsis tetragonolobus. The Guar seed germ contains mainly protein substances while the endosperm has a significant concentration of polysaccharides called galactomannans that contain mannose and galactose units in a 2:1 ratio.
Guaranum has a high viscosity determined by the molecular weight of galactomannans. Reason why it must be used in concentrations not exceeding 1 percent. Otherwise it could interfere with the nutritional, chemical and sensory properties of the food in which Guar gum was used.
The hydrolyzed product increases the amount of dietary fiber in the food by going on to regularize the function of the gastrointestinal system.
It therefore proves to be a valuable ally in the treatment of symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome, which often manifests as constipation and diarrhea. In addition, due to its gelling properties, Guar gum can effectively reduce LDL cholesterol and blood sugar.
What is Guar gum used for? All the benefits
Promotes the health of the digestive system
Being rich in fiber, Guar gum can improve digestive function. It also acts as a prebiotic by affecting the growth of good bacteria while reducing the development of harmful bacteria in the gut.
Reduces blood sugar.
Guar gum is used in herbal medicine to lower blood sugar levels. The product boasts a significant presence of soluble fiber suitable for both slowing down the body’s absorption of sugars and restoring the correct glycemic level in the blood.
By administering Guar gum phytopreparation 4 times a day, for a total duration of 6 weeks, an effective reduction in blood sugar levels can be achieved even in individuals with type 2 diabetes. In addition, incorporating Guar gum into the diet daily can keep postprandial glycemic peaks under control in healthy subjects.
Keeps cholesterol in check
The soluble fibers in guaran are able to act effectively on low intensity lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) by reducing them. In addition, the fiber acts on the liver by forcing it to employ cholesterol in order to produce bile acids in greater quantities.
Through this therapeutic process, it is possible to significantly reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood. By taking a herbal product containing 15 grams of Guar gum, there is an effective reduction in bad cholesterol and a concomitant increase in high-intensity lipoprotein (good cholesterol).
Remedy for hypertension
Scientific research demonstrates the effectiveness of Guar gum in the treatment of hypertension. A reported study from 2001 reveals that a reduction in systolic blood pressure of more than 2 mm Hg can be achieved following the administration of an herbal preparation based on Guar flour.
This therapeutic effect is recorded within two hours of the end of a meal. Also based on a 2007 study, it is possible to achieve a reduction in systolic blood pressure in hypertensive patients after two months of taking 3.5 g of the drug, 3 times a day.
Guar gum is an ingredient particularly found in herbal supplements with laxative action. The remedy retains water in the intestines by softening stools and facilitating evacuation. It also promotes intestinal regularity by providing relief from constipation.
Due to the presence of soluble fiber, the product could relieve symptoms associated with some diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract, including Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Acts against diarrhea
By taking Guar gum-based herbal products, one can both keep episodes of diarrhea under control and reduce the frequency of liquid stools. Such phytopreparations are also suitable for the treatment of diarrhea in children.
In addition, it appears that partially hydrolyzed Guar gum acts on gastrointestinal transit by increasing fecal excretion of nitrogen. Without producing effects not only on normal absorption of amino acids, glucose, and fat, but also on proper liver, kidney, and hematological function.
Cholestasis and itching in pregnancy
Guar gum is able to reduce and prevent itching sensation in pregnant women suffering from intrahepatic cholestasis, without interfering with bile acid concentration. Therefore, the remedy is considered a valuable natural solution for the treatment of symptoms associated with liver disease.
A remedy for irritable bowel disease
The constant oral intake of Guaran phytopreparations could provide valuable support in relieving both abdominal pain and constipation phenomena in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. This therapeutic action is attributable to the ability of partially hydrolyzed Guar gum to bind water, proving particularly useful in restoring proper bowel function.
Does guar gum make you lose weight?
Scientific studies show that Guar gum succeeds in keeping appetite in check by promoting body weight loss.
The fibers contained in the product go on to form a mass suitable for imparting a feeling of fullness by not only curbing the appetite stimulus but also delaying gastric emptying. A study reported in the 2001 scientific article Dietary fiber and weight regulation reveals that taking 14 extra grams of fiber daily can bring a 10 percent reduction in the amount of calories consumed.
Therefore, Guar gum can be considered a valuable ally in reducing both appetite and calorie intake. In addition, according to what is described in the article Effect of guar gum on body weight and serum lipids in hypercholesterolemic females written by J. Tuomilehto, with the daily consumption of 15 grams of Guar gum it is possible to achieve an effective permanent loss of body weight compared to those who have not taken the remedy.
In addition, the product is believed to have a greater satiating effect when added to a meal that has a high fat content compared to one that is low in lipids.
100 grams of Guar gum powder provides:
Energy 300 kcal
Carbohydrates 90 g
Fiber 90 g
Iron, Fe 3.6 mg
Sodium, Na 20 mg
Source: Guar Gum, FoodData Central USDA
Guar gum flour, for food use, can be purchased in organic food stores and from specialized online retailers. The cost of the organic and 100% natural product is about 7 euros in the 125-gram size.
Recipe: chocolate dessert with Guar flour
Vegetable milk: 400 ml.
Cocoa powder: 2 teaspoons.
Guar flour: 1 level teaspoon.
Liquid sweetener to taste.
Procedure: mix the ingredients with an immersion blender until creamy.
Transfer to the refrigerator and wait a couple of hours before consuming the dessert.
Guar gum: how to use it
Guar gum is widely used in the food and herbal industries. In addition to the low cost of the product, the remedy acts as an excellent thickener and gelling agent: features that are particularly valued in culinary and cosmetic applications.
In addition, the seeds of the plant Cyamopsid tetragonolobus are attributed important laxative, hypoglycemic and slimming properties. Reason why Guar gum is particularly found in dietary supplements formulated for the treatment of constipation and among the ingredients of natural adjuvant remedies for body weight loss.
Uses in herbal medicine
In herbal medicine, the hygroscopic properties of Guar powder are exploited both to treat intestinal disorders and as an adjuvant remedy for weight loss. As the dietary fiber in the medicinal plant swells, it goes on to preserve water within the intestinal lumen and facilitates evacuation by softening the stool.
Guar gum extracts are particularly present in preparations directed at weight loss. As the remedy promotes satiety and slows the intestinal transit time of ingested food.
Guar gum in food products
Guar gum is used in the food industry. It is a tasteless thickener initialed E412 in the list of ingredients.
It is particularly popular in the culinary industry because it is an inexpensive and natural additive that works by modifying the action of water contained in various foods. It is often found among beverage ingredients for the purpose of keeping product viscosity under control and extending shelf life. In addition, being soluble in cold water it can be easily used in beverage processes.
In dairy products, the presence of guar gum improves both the texture of the food and the curd yield. While in ice cream it increases the texture and resistance to thermal shock of the food while also acting as a binding and lubricating agent in the production of sausage and meat foods.
It also prevents the escape of fatty substances during storage and keeps the degree of viscosity under control during product processing and cooling.
Adding Guar gum into the ingredients for making baked goods facilitates dough processing and prevents the food from crumbling when cut. In addition to giving wheat bread more volume during baking. It is also present in sauces where it acts as a thickener and improves the texture of the food being seasoned.
The FDA indicates 0, 35 percent for baked goods and 2 percent for vegetable juices as maximum use rates for Guaran in foods.
Guar Gum in Cosmetics
In cosmetics, the emollient properties of Guar gum are exploited, acting as a gelling and thickening agent in the manufacture of moisturizing creams and body cleansers. Guaran is also frequently found in the list of ingredients that make up hair care lotions and in the composition of toothpastes, exerting a thickening and stabilizing action.
In the paper industry, Guar gum imparts greater density to the sheet surface, ensuring better printing performance. It also acts as a waterproofing substance finding use in the explosives industry. It is also used as a thickener of a mixture composed of water, sand and chemicals that is introduced into the ground to facilitate the gushing of gas and oil.
The best Guar supplements
Such herbal products contain a Guar gum extract obtained from the seeds of the plant Cyamopsid tetragonoloba, which once harvested are soaked in a solution of water and sulfuric acid.
The seeds are then finely ground to obtain a powder distinguished by a high concentration of galactomannan. Guar gum-based phytopreparations can be purchased from pharmacies, herbalists and specialty retailers both physical and online.
1 – Benefibra Gut Balance Line.
100% plant-based dietary supplement of partially hydrolyzed Guar gum fiber, suitable for the treatment of sluggish bowel. It contains a soluble, non-gelling fiber obtained through an enzymatic hydrolysis process of Guaran.
By preserving its liquid form, the fiber does not cause bloating, flatulence, and meteorism, which can occur following the intake of fiber contained, for example, in psyllium and bran.
The product does not interfere with the absorption of micronutrients, and through daily intake 5 grams of fiber is provided to the body. Such supplementation is useful when dietary fiber intake is low and in cases of increased fiber requirements.
Recommended dosage: take the contents of one sachet daily or dissolve the stick in a glass of water or juice. Stir the product well until the solution is completely dissolved.
It is recommended to take one sachet daily in the morning and repeat the treatment for at least 4 weeks.
Store the product in a cool dry place. Pregnant or lactating women are advised to consult their health care provider before starting treatment.
2 – Esi-fit satiety control
Dietary supplement that provides a synergistic action promoted by Guar seed and gymnema leaves. Guar gum limits nutrient absorption preserving the feeling of satiety over time while gymnema acts on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.
The product is suitable for adults, giving a feeling of fullness by reducing the desire to feed.
Daily dosage: 2-3 tablets to be taken with a large glass of water, one hour before lunch and dinner.
It is advisable to seek the advice of your doctor if you intend to take the product for periods longer than three weeks. The supplement is not suitable for children, pregnant and lactating women.
3 – Slimball Line@
Italian 100% natural product based on ingredients with slimming properties. Formulated in tablets containing Guar gum, agar agar, glucomannan, garcinia cambogia and pectin. It acts as a gastric balloon that swells inside the stomach to help reduce hunger pangs. Therefore it constitutes an excellent natural adjuvant remedy for body weight loss.
The recommended dosage ranges from a minimum of one tablet to a maximum of three tablets, taken twice daily. One hour before main meals along with a large glass of water.
For long-lasting results, take the supplement daily and consistently, accompanying it with an adequate low-calorie diet and an active lifestyle.
If you intend to continue with the treatment beyond three weeks, seek the advice of your treating physician. The phytopreparation is not suitable for children.
The cost of the product in the 180-tablet format is around 32 euros.
4 – Guar 70
Herbal dietary supplement formulated in capsules containing 450 mg of Guar seed flour. The product promotes the reduction of caloric intake by limiting the absorption of fats and sugars, regulating intestinal transit and giving an effective sense of satiety.
Method of use: 2 capsules twice a day, before main meals.
The remedy should not be administered to children. Strict adherence to the recommended dosage is recommended.
The dietary supplement is available from herbalists and specialized retailers at a price of about 20 euros in the 70-capsule format.
Import of Guar rubber originating in or coming from India
This provision applies to products containing at least 10 percent Guar gum derived from the Asian territory, in order to preserve both public and animal health and the environment.
Each batch of product that has the specified characteristics must be accompanied by:
- A health certificate stating that any presence of pentachlorophenol in the product is less than 0.01 mg/kg.
- An analytical report carried out by an accredited laboratory analyzing the presence of pentachlorophenol indicating the limits of detection and quantification.
In turn, the products, once imported, must be subjected to further checks by member states that make public the list of checks carried out and communicate the results to the Commission.
Guar gum: contraindications and warnings
Although the use of Guar gum is considered safe within the recommended dosage, in some individuals the intake of Guaran preparations may trigger an allergic reaction usually manifested by digestive upset. In that case, its use is not recommended.
The product is not suitable for people who are undergoing therapy for the treatment of diabetes because excessive and dangerous lowering of blood sugar levels could occur. If you have a condition of gastrointestinal obstruction, Guar gum products should not be taken.
Guar gum has a hypotensive action therefore it may cause a sharp drop in blood pressure in people prone to low blood pressure. It is advisable to discontinue taking Guar gum-containing products 2 weeks before a planned surgical procedure, as the drug could affect the glycemic control that takes place during and after the medical procedure.
In addition, it appears that taking Guar gum during pregnancy is safe, but there are no definite sources about the use of the remedy during lactation. For precautionary reasons, its use should be avoided.
Interaction with drugs.
The concomitant use of Guar gum with ethinyl estradiol (contained in many birth control pills) may adversely affect estrogen. The product has a hypoglycemic function therefore may not only excessively lower blood sugar in individuals treated with diabetes medications but also adversely affect the absorption of metformin.
It also has a hypotensive action that is likely to excessively lower blood pressure in individuals who are taking medications for the treatment of hypertension. In all these contexts, it is advisable to consult your primary care physician before taking Guar gum-containing products to assess the dosage and suitability of the product in relation to your medical history.
Do not take Guaran preparations together with penicillin and digoxin. Doing so could both inhibit the drug’s ability to fight infection and reduce its absorption to treat cardiac disorders.
Side effects of Guar gum
Excessive consumption of Guar gum products could lead to adverse health effects.
A drug formulated for weight loss (Cal-Ban 3000) containing large amounts of Guar gum, in use in the 1990s, went on to excessively dilate the size of the stomach in order to promote the feeling of fullness, thus promoting body weight loss. The product’s mechanism of action had caused serious damage to the body by even creating obstruction of the esophagus and small intestine.
Following this event, the drug was ordered to be removed from the market.
However, even use of Guar gum within the permitted limits can give rise to mild digestive disorders manifested by diarrhea, bloating and cramping, which usually tend to disappear after a few days of use.
The etymological meaning of Cyamopsis tetragonoloba (Guar plant’s botanical name) is ‘resembling a bean’ and comes from the union of the Greek terms kyamos and opsis. While the epithet ‘tetragonoloba’ originates from the Greek tetragonos, referring to the quadrangular appearance of the infructescences.
For years Guar gum has been used as a food additive with thickening properties. As well as being found in the paper, textile and oil industries.
In 2007 there was a report to the European Food Safety Commission about the presence of dioxin in Guar gum imported by an Indian company and discovered in a Danone plant.
To address the public health threat, EU Regulation No. 258 was issued in 2010, stipulating certain special conditions to be applied on the import of Guar gum from India in order to assess the possible presence of pentachlorophenol and dioxins in the product.
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