Guar Gum - Food Additive Analysis
Guar gum is an additive sourced from the guar bean, a plant found in India and Pakistan. While it does not come from bacterial fermentation like xanthan gum does, studies on rats have shown that it has potential health benefits when consumed. Rats given guar gum have demonstrated decreased body weight and lower blood glucose levels. Having said that, this is still up for interpretation because weight loss as a result of a single ingredient as opposed to a healthy lifestyle is not always necessarily a healthy thing.
The science of guar gum in humans so far
There has also been a considerable amount of research done on guar gum and human ingestion.
Some experts claim that humans may also benefit from consuming guar gum. Research seemingly indicates that it can be effective in managing fasting blood glucose levels, and regulating insulin requirements for those with diabetes who are dependent on insulin medication. In fact, guar gum has even been associated with reduced LDL cholesterol levels, the researchers indicating that it could be a useful supplement for cardiovascular health.
Once again we believe it is wise to remain cautious and think critically about these initial findings and their interpretations for several reasons, one of them being that cholesterol and cardiovascular health itself are not yet fully understood. In fact if we look at the official definition of atherosclerosis in the medical literature it is described as an inflammatory condition that includes the deterioration of the cardiovascular tissues. Inflammation in itself is never a good thing if it's caused by an external substance (as opposed to a potentially beneficial self inflicted stress such as exercise), which leads to the next point of caution regarding guar gum and human consumption:
It should be noted that many of the same studies that interpret the substance as health-promoting, have shown side effects associated with guar gum consumption such as increased gas production in the gut and serious gut discomfort and/or inflammation to the point of patients not being able to physically continue the studies.
General wisdom posits that when a substance causes serious gut issues it's hard to justify its benefits towards human health. This is especially true considering that the gut was one of the first organs to have evolved in complex life, so it has a strong intuition of what is good and bad for it, and for our bodies. In fact, overall health is very strongly linked with gut health so any substance that impacts your gut in a negative way is a substance you should be cautious about.
Those with sensitive digestion should especially take caution before using this product and ensure they do not experience any adverse reactions after taking guar gum supplements. Consuming natural, wildcrafted and/or organic whole food products is a much safer and more nutritious way of managing our diet.