Guar gum is a unique soluble fiber, a type of non-digestible complex carbohydrate that holds water as it forms a gel in your digestive tract. This may have some rather profound effects on your metabolism, including the reduction of total cholesterol, lowering triglycerides, increasing HDL cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar response to a meal, reducing digestive inflammation, curbing appetite, and assisting efforts at weight loss.
Guar gum comes from the guar bean, a legume. American diets are woefully lacking in legumes, even though they are the only food type across different cultures that is associated with longevity. This fact alone makes guar gum a good fiber choice.
Technically, guar gum is galactomannan gum, a glyconutrient with a mannose backbone and galactose branches. Special water-utilizing production processes (no chemicals) now enable a partially hydrolyzed guar gum. This extremely unique fiber dissolves completely in water and has no taste, making it very easy to consume.
There are a number of different ways that guar gum soluble fiber can help you manage your weight. These include reduction in appetite with a corresponding lower intake of calories, improvement in blood sugar metabolism and triglyceride levels, and improved friendly flora in your digestive tract that supports healthier metabolic signaling.
There are several mechanisms guar gum uses to reduce your appetite. By forming a water-holding gel the contents of your meal moves forward more slowly. This provides a sensation of digestive fullness, meaning you are less likely to eat as much (especially if you take some ½ hour before a meal) or get hungry as soon following the meal.
Partially hydrolyzed guar gum raises the level of CCK (cholecystokinin) which sends a digestive message to your brain that you are full. Interestingly, CCK is typically stimulated by high fat or high protein, so this is one way of helping to get a full signal without actually eating the calories. It is a tricky way to convince your brain you have eaten more food than you really did. Low-calorie whey protein also stimulates CCK, which is why a protein drink with extra fiber can have such a great metabolic response in terms of feeling satisfied.
By slowing the digestive process (slowing gastric emptying) there is a reduction in the rise of blood sugar following a guar gum-containing meal. In a study with obese individuals it was found that guar gum could reduce blood sugar levels by 10%, thus improving insulin function. Participants in this study lost significant weight without changing other aspects of their diet, as well as experiencing a noticeable reduction in hunger.
Partially hydrolyzed guar gum has been shown to reduce the amount of cholesterol particles and triglycerides in the period following a meal. Lower triglycerides enable leptin to enter your brain more readily, which also helps give you a full signal as well as being vital to feeling energized by the meal. This means you metabolism, including your fat-burning activity, gets in gear better. Also, a lower non-fasting triglyceride level is now seen as a key variable in the prevention of heart disease.
A 90-day study of type II diabetics, taking 5 grams of soluble fiber before each meal, including guar gum, was shown to improve blood glucose metabolism and lower HbA1c by 10%. Triglycerides were lowered 14%, total cholesterol by 14%, LDL cholesterol by 28%, and HDL was boosted by 28%. Many studies have reported that guar gum lowers cholesterol by 10% to 15%. These types of studies have led researchers to claim that guar gum is “a miracle therapy for hypercholesterolemia, hyperglycemia and obesity.”
The friendly flora in your digestive tract use soluble fiber like guar gum as a fermenting base which enables them to reproduce and boost their numbers, helping to offset symptoms of irritable bowel. Partially hydrolyzed guar gum has been proven to boost the levels of friendly bifidobacteria and Lactobacillis acidophilus. New science shows that a lack of friendly flora is linked to obesity risk. Hostile digestive contents churn out inflammatory signals that clog metabolism.
Partially hydrolyzed guar gum does not interfere with mineral absorption, nor does it reduce the absorption of any type of calorie. It helps regularity by adding bulk to your stools, in the form of increased bacterial and water content. It has been shown to reduce diarrhea and is supportive of improved digestive immune function (boosting antibody production in GI lymph tissue). As with any fiber, increase intake gradually to avoid excess gas formation from its normal lower colon increase in fermentation. Clinical trials show that partially hydrolyzed guar gum is not only effective, but highly preferred by patients due to its easy mixing and no taste. It is a potent tool to assist metabolic and digestive health.