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Guar gum

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Benefiber®, C. tetragonolobus, Cal-Ban 3000®, cattle fodder, Choltrol®, cluster bean, cluster plant, clusterbean, Cyamopsis tetragonoloba, Cyamopsis tetragonoloba (L.) Taub., Cyamopsis tetragonoloba (L.) Taubert, Cyamopsis tetragonolobus, galactomannan, guaran, Guarem®, Guarina®, Indian cluster bean, Indische Büschelbohne (German), jaguar gum, M60, M90, M150, M175, Meyprofin®, Novafibra®, Novasource GI control®, soluble dietary fiber, Sunfiber®.
  • Selected combination products: Fiber Plan® (guar gum, psyllium husk, pectin, and locust bean gum); Minolest™ (containing guar gum and psyllium).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Guar gum is an extract of the guar bean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba). The plant is primarily grown in Pakistan and parts of India. Guar gum is widely used as a food-thickening agent. It is also found in nutritional supplements.
  • Guar gum is considered a plant-based dietary fiber. According to the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC) International, a dietary fiber is "the edible parts of plants or analogous carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion and absorption in the human small intestine with complete or partial fermentation in the large intestine. Dietary fiber includes polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, lignin, and associated plant substances. Dietary fibers promote beneficial physiological effects including laxation, and/or blood cholesterol attenuation, and/or blood glucose attenuation."
  • Guar gum may be beneficial in reducing cholesterol levels, as there is a substantial amount of evidence to support its use for this purpose. Guar gum is also used to promote normal gastrointestinal (GI) motility and may be useful in patients with diarrhea, constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Guar gum has been shown to reduce postprandial glucose and insulin levels in diabetic and nondiabetic patients.
  • Researchers reported in a meta-analysis that guar gum is not effective for weight loss and is associated with adverse effects (1). Cases of esophageal obstruction and one fatality were reported in the late 1980s following the use of Cal-Ban 3000®, a guar gum-containing agent for weight loss (2;3). Following these reports, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) moved to ban guar gum as a weight loss ingredient.
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Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.