Guar Gum
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Botanical:  Cyamopsis tetragonoloba (guar bean) also called Cyamopsis psoraliodes (cluster bean)
Family:  Fabaceae (pea) - Leguminosae (legume)
Other common names:  Guar, Guar Flour, Jaguar Gum, Guara, Cluster Bean

Guar Gum is a water-soluble, dietary fiber that binds with and absorbs undesirable intestinal substances, including excess cholesterol, glucose and toxins, and removes them from the system.  Moreover, its high-bulking laxative action helps to stimulate healthy bowel function, relieve chronic constipation and control colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, diverticulosis and other bowel ailments.  Guar's bulking action may also help in weight loss programs by filling the intestines and giving one the feeling of fullness and reducing the appetite.

The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Guar Gum is a water-soluble, dietary fiber that is mechanically extracted from the seed of the Guar bean by mechanical separation of the endosperm from hulls and germs of the seeds.  The Guar shrub is a coarse, summer-growing, leguminous annual that is probably native to India and is widely distributed across Africa and Asia, and found cultivated in small quantities in the United States and Australia. It is deep-rooted and well adapted to semiarid regions; and in India, when farmers realized its drought-tolerance, they grew it as a forage crop for cattle, which gave the plant is name, Guar, meaning "cattle fodder."  Food reserves are stored in the beans as a gum, which, when extracted, forms viscous solutions that gel in cold water.  The development of Guar's industrial uses took place mainly after World War II, when traditional suppliers of locust bean gum were unable to meet the increasing demand for water-soluble polymers.  Guar Gum is a cold-water-soluble polysaccharide, consisting of mannose and galactose units.  The ability to hydrate without heating makes it useful in many industrial, food and medicinal applications.  It is used as an emulsifier and stabilizer because it prevents oil droplets from coalescing. The largest market for Guar Gum is in the food industry, where it is used as a thickener and binder of free water in sauces, salad dressings, ice creams, instant noodles, processed cheeses and meats, to name a few.  Guar Gum is widely used commercially in the textile and paper industries, where it is employed as sizing to improve finishing and density of papers and fabrics. In addition, it is used as a waterproofing agent in the explosives industry and also in oil drilling and mining industries.  In the pharmaceutical and cosmetics sector, Guar Gum is employed as a thickener and stabilizer in toothpastes, shampoos and a binder in tablets. Guar beans are eaten green as tasty (and healthy) vegetables like snap beans, and, of course, Guar Gum is an important dietary fiber that enhances good health.  Guar Bean endosperms contain the polysaccharide, galactomannan gum (consisting of mannose and galactose units), a fiber that forms a gel in water.  Other constituents include protein, ash and amino acids.

Beneficial Uses:
Guar Gum may be very helpful in maintaining a healthy heart.  A diet high in water-soluble Guar bean fiber (Guar Gum) is associated with decreased risk of heart attacks, because fiber is known to lower overall cholesterol levels.  The glucomannan content in Guar Gum is believed to lower cholesterol by binding with it and keeping it from being absorbed through the intestines.  In addition, the bulk forming fibers swell in the intestines and fill the intestinal tract, not only preventing cholesterol and lipid absorption, but the increased bulk-forming mass helps to rid the intestines of the excess cholesterol by facilitating its passage through the system.  Guar Gum is believed to significantly decrease total cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and LDLs (bad cholesterol), and lowered cholesterol levels help to reduce blood platelet aggregation (clotting), improve circulation and, thus, work to reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis, stroke and heart attack.

Guar Gum is a water-soluble bulk-forming laxative, and as such, it is said to be effective in promoting regular bowel movements and relieve constipation and chronic related functional bowel ailments, such as diverticulosis, Crohn's disease, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome, among others.  The increased mass in the intestines stimulates the movement of waste and toxins from the system, which is particularly helpful to good colon health, because it speeds the removal of waste and bacteria from the bowel and colon. In addition, because Guar Gum is soluble, it is also able to absorb toxic substances (bacteria) that cause infective diarrhea.

Guar Gum has been used to improve glucose tolerance in some studies.  Research has revealed that the water-soluble fiber in it may help people with diabetes by binding with glucose and preventing its absorption.  The movement of the bulk-forming mass through the intestines not only helped removed cholesterol but also decreased glycosylated hemoglobin, a measure of chronically high glucose levels.  Diabetics must always monitor their blood-glucose levels carefully.

For weight control, Guar Gum provides a low-calorie, bulk-forming, gelatinous substance in the gastrointestinal tract that gives one the feeling of fullness and satiety and may curb the urge to eat. Furthermore, its laxative action also helps to clear the system of excess weight by removing it in waste products.

Those who have had gastrointestinal surgery or colon disorders should not use Guar Gum Herbal Supplement.  If taking the diabetes drug, Glucophage, Guar Gum may reduce the absorption of this medicine, and diabetics should discuss Guar Gum's use with their physicians before using it.  Like Psyllium, Guar Gum should be taken with plenty of water, because without adequate liquids, it may swell and, in extreme cases, may cause choking.  Do not take this product if you have difficulty swallowing.  People with esophageal stricture (narrowing of the esophagus) or any other narrowing or obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract should not take Guar Gum, and those who take prescription medications should not take them at the same time.

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