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- DIRECT FOOD SUBSTANCES AFFIRMED AS GENERALLY RECOGNIZED AS SAFE [21CFR184.1339] US Food and Drug Administration
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What is guar gum?
Guar gum or guaran is a soluble fiber extracted from Indian cluster bean (Cyamopsis tetragonolobus) . It is an indigestible carbohydrate, a polysaccharide with high molecular weight made of galactose and mannose (a galactomannan). Guar gum is a highly soluble and highly viscous fiber . In the human large intestine, it is fermented by intestinal bacteria to gases and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which can be absorbed and can provide 3-3.5 Calories per gram [2,27].
Guar Gum as a Food Additive
Guar gum is used as a spice or thickener in salad dressings, ice creams, frozen meats and other foods. It is also used as a binding agent in tablets.
Guar Gum Supplements: Possible Benefits
Guar gum tablets and capsules are available over-the-counter (OTC).
Guar gum added to carbohydrate meals reduced fasting blood glucose levels for about 10 mmol/L  and glucose and insulin spikes after meals in healthy persons and diabetics type 2 [1,16,17,18].
There is INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE about guar gum supplements in treating cholestasis in pregnancy  and high blood pressure [1,9]. In clinical trials lasting from 6 to 50 weeks, in individuals with increased blood cholesterol levels, guar gum (15-30 g/day) has lowered the total and LDL cholesterol for up to 20% (but did not affect triglycerides and HDL cholesterol) [1,7,10,11,12,13,18]. In some studies, the beneficial effect have persisted only for few months [12,14,15].
Several clinical trials have shown NO EFFECT of guar gum on weight loss [1,4,5].
Safety: Toxicity, Side Effects
Guar gum is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) , and has an “ADI not specified” (the highest safety category) by JECFA .
Ingestion of large amounts of guar gum may cause abdominal bloating, pain or cramps, excessive gas (flatulence), loose stools, diarrhea, or esophageal or small bowel obstruction . Guar gum may reduce the absorption of a glucose-lowering drug metformin and glyburide and antibiotic penicillin V .
Pregnancy. Not enough studies have been done to evaluate the safety of guar gum supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding .
Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum (PHGG)
Partially hydrolysed guar gum (PHGG) is a natural guar gum with low viscosity, produced from guar gum . PHGG may be used as an added fiber in ready-to-eat cereals, biscuits, breads, ice creams, yogurts, beverages and other foods and in fiber supplements.
- Partially hydrolyzed guar gum may be help relieve abdominal pain in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) [7,8].
- In one clinical trial in children 8-16 years old, PHGG helped to relieve functional abdominal pain (no known cause) .
- In some human trials, PHGG has reduced LDL cholesterol levels.
- PHGG added to the rehydration solution, in children with acute diarrhea  and in chronic diarrhea .
- PHGG may help relieve constipation in children .
PHGG side effects may include mild abdominal bloating, flatulence, nausea or diarrhea. No toxicity of PHGG has been found .
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is guar gum gluten-free?
2. What is the difference between guar and xanthan gum?
Guar gum is a natural gum extracted from cluster bean, while xanthan gum is an artificial gum.