Guar gum side effects, guar gum health benefits, powder, fiber,
allergy, uses, slime.. June 2013
GUAR GUM [also known as guar, guar flour, and jaguar gum]


Guar gum can be considered as the ground endosperms of the guar plant. The plant can be found in Aisa Minor and in
Southwest United States.

Guar gum is a guar seed extract, containing about 80% of galactomannan, 10% moisture, 10% protein and trace
amounts of heavy metals and ash. The amount of these impurities depends on the species, sources and purification

Partially hydrolyzed guar gums
Partially hydrolyzed guar gusm were obtained by chemical hydrolysis of guar gum with water:ethanol (1:1) at 100 °C.

Guar Gum Uses
The galactomannan of guar gum consists of a long linear mannan backbone and side chains of a single galactose unit.
This feature allows guar gum to be soluble and gelling in water.  Guar gum hydrates and swells rapidly in aqueous media
to form viscous dispersions or gels. Consequently,
consumption of guar gum may retard chemicals like cholesterol and
triglycerides travel to the intestine wall for absorption.
In fact, guar gum is observed to prevent cholesterol absorption
and it lowers serum LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and increases glucose tolerance. [1]

Guar Gum Uses in Food Industry
Because guar gum forms a high viscous solution, guar gum is used as a thickening agent for various products such as
beverages, soups, cottage cheese and some frozen desserts. [1] Guar gum is processed into different grades, with
respect to viscosity grades and mesh sizes.

Guar Gum Uses in Drug Industry
30 years ago, guar gum, in the form of powders, was mainly used as a disintegrant and binder in tablet. Today, guar
gum powder is used as a controlled-release agent for drug. Guar gum powder, drug and other ingredients are mixed and
compressed into tablets. During dissolution studies, guar gum hydrates and forms a thick gel layer on the tablet surface.
Consequently, drug releases out from the guar gum tablet in a sustained manner, achieving the desired kinetics effect.

It also has been observed that bacterial flora in the large intestine degrade guar gum rapidly. Consequently, scientists
developed successful delivery systems using guar gum to target drugs to ileum and large intestine. [12]

Potential Health Benefits

Weight Loss
Some manufacturers promote guar gum as a agent  for weight managment (or weight loss). Theoretically, guar gum
decreases appetite by providing a "feeling of fullness.

If guar gum can reduce chemical absorption.  Guar gum probably can also reduce glucose absorption. Thus, it may
cause glucose fluctuations. People with diabetes should take guar gum preparations under doctor's instruction. [2]
During the fermentation of guar gum in the large intestine, carbon dioxide, fatty acid and hydrogen are produced and
they will also lower the pH of the medium.

Supporting Research

Diabetes and Metabolic syndrome
A study shows, in patients with type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, the addition of partially hydrolysed guar
gum  to the usual diet improved cardiovascular and metabolic profiles by reducing waist circumference, glycated Hb, 24 h
urinary albumin excretion and trans-fatty acids. [Dall'alba V, et al, Br J Nutr. 2013 Apr 3:1-10]

Diet containing 0%, 5%, 10% and 20% (w/w) guar gum was fed to diabetic rats for 28 days. The guar gum diet
significantly decreased the serum concentration of cholesterol, triacylglicerols and LDL-C and atherogenic
index.[Samarghandian S, et al, Pharmacogn Mag. 2012 Jan;8(29):65-72.]

The consumption of partially hydrolyzed guar gum may influence lipid and/or carbohydrate metabolism at many levels.In
a study, guinea pigs (n = 8 per group) were fed high fat diets (17/100 g) that contained 12/100 g of cellulose, partially
hydrolyzed guar gum1, or partially hydrolyzed guar gum2 for 4 weeks. Despite the differences in viscosity, the two
partially hydrolyzed guar gums exerted similar physiological effects. Compared to the control cellulose group, the body
weight gain was lower in animals fed partially hydrolyzed guar gums. Both high viscosity partially hydrolyzed guar gum
and low viscosity partially hydrolysed guar gum were effective in reducing plasma cholesterol. [Santas J et al, Lipids.
2012 Jul;47(7):697-705]

Researchers from Secretaria Estadual de Saúde de Pernambuco dosed 64 hospitalized patients with one daily high fiber
diet, 30 g, and the other similar diet plus 10 g of hydrolyzed partially guar-gum, during 15 days. Hydrolyzed partially
guar-gum did not show any additional effect in defecation frequency, fecal consistence, need of laxative drug use. [Arq
Gastroenterol. 2008 Jan-Mar;45(1):93-5.]

If I were the researcher, I would dose 30 g of hydrolyzed partially guar gum and compare the corresponding results with
that of high fiber diet.

In a study of 61 children, patients were given lactulose or partially hydrolyzed guar gum for four weeks. Treatment with
partially hydrolyzed guar gum was as effective as lactulose treatment in relieving, constipation, abdominal pain, and
improving stool consistency. While, lactulose seemed to have more side effects, including flatulence and sensation of
bad taste. [Turk J Gastroenterol. 2010 Dec;21(4):360-4]

Irritable bowel syndrome
The therapeutic approach to patients with irritable bowel syndrome is based on symptoms, and fibers have also been
used in treatment. Among the various types of fiber, water-soluble, non-gelling fibers seem to be a promising option for
treatment of the disease. Partially hydrolyzed guar gum is a water-soluble, non-gelling fiber that may provide therapeutic
benefits. In clinical trials, partially hydrolyzed guar gum decreased symptoms in constipation-predominant and
diarrhea-predominant forms of the disease and decreased abdominal pain. Further, an improvement in quality of life was
observed in patients with irritable bowel syndrome during and after treatment with partially hydrolyzed guar gum.
[Giannini EG, et al, Nutrition. 2006 Mar;22(3):334-42]

Adversed Effects

Side Effects, Precaution and Possible Interaction
Guar gum can swell as much as 20 fold. Thus, if an user takes an excessive amount of guar gum powder, guar gum
powder may cause obstruction at the esophagus. Thus, users should not exceed the recommended dose of guar gum

Prolonged ingestion of guar gum increased the odd for colorectal cancer in the studies of rats. [3-8]. This side effect is
serious. One group explained that the soluble fiber did not raise distal butyrate concentration high enough to protect the
colon from cancer, as butyrate demonstrated to slow the growth of cancer cells cultured in vitro. [5] However, two other
studies suggested that guar gum was non-carcinogenic. [10,11] More interesting, researchers found dietary fiber
supplementation with 10% pectin or with 10% guar gum (fed during the promotional stage of carcinogenesis) suppressed
colon cancer incidence in study of rats. [9] So it is unclear if guar gum promotes cancers or suppresses cancers??

Dosage Forms and Dosage

4-12 grams a daily depends on conditions. Discuss with your medical officer before taking guar gum.

Related Articles




[1] GuarNT Product Information, Tic Gums web-site, April 13, 2005. [2] Weight Loss: Over-the-Counter and Herbal
Remedies for Weight Loss, WebMD, April 18, 2005[3] Okazaki H et al, Increased incidence rate of colorectal tumors due
to the intake of a soluble dietary fiber in rat chemical carcinogenesis can be suppressed by substituting partially an
insoluble dietary fiber for the soluble one., Int J Cancer. 2002 Aug 1;100(4):388-94.[4] Sengupta S, Dietary fiber and
colorectal neoplasia, Dis Colon Rectum. 2001 Jul;44(7):1016-33.[5] McIntyre A et al, Butyrate production from dietary
fibre and protection against large bowel cancer in a rat model, Gut. 1993 Mar;34 (3):386-91.[6] Jacobs LR, Effect of
dietary fiber on colonic cell proliferation and its relationship to colon carcinogenesis, Prev Med. 1987 Jul;16(4):566-71.[7]
Jacobs LR, Relationship between dietary fiber and cancer: metabolic, physiologic, and cellular mechanisms, Proc Soc
Exp Biol Med. 1986 Dec;183(3):299-310.[8] Jacobs LR, Lupton JR, Relationship between colonic luminal pH, cell
proliferation, and colon carcinogenesis in 1,2-dimethylhydrazine treated rats fed high fiber diets, Cancer Res. 1986
Apr;46(4 Pt 1):1727-34[9] Heitman DW et al, Dietary supplementation with pectin and guar gum on
1,2-dimethylhydrazine-induced colon carcinogenesis in rats, Carcinogenesis. 1992 May;13(5):815-8.[10] Melnick RL et
al, Chronic effects of agar, guar gum, gum arabic, locust-bean gum, or tara gum in F344 rats and B6C3F1 mice, Food
Chem Toxicol. 1983 Jun;21(3):305-11.[11] Bauer HG et al, Effect of two kinds of pectin and guar gum on
1,2-dimethylhydrazine initiation of colon tumors and on fecal beta-glucuronidase activity in the rat, Cancer Res. 1981
Jun;41(6):2518-23.[12] Friend DR and Wong D, Colonic delivery of dexamethasone: a pharmacoscintigraphic evaluation,
Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1997 Feb;11(1):205-13