Guar gum is one of the source of food fiber among many options such as Gum Acacia, Oat meals, Psyllium husks and many fruits and vegetables. Guar gum is extracted from Guar seeds and it is used in food industry due to its ability to provide more solidness to the food. It is also used in many medicines as delivery agent since it can disintegrate very quickly in the intestines. Due to this the medicine can be quickly absorbed into the blood stream from the intestines. In many foods Guar is added for its fiber content to increase the fiber content into the host food.
Usually Guar gum taken in normal dose would not have any side effects. However when taken in excess quantity it can have some bad side effects which are similar to Metamucil side effects.
Side Effects of Guar Gum
Obstruction in the Intestines
Guar gum contains fiber and it expands when it comes in contact with water or other liquids. Some reports say that it can expand up to 20 times its original size which is consumed. Hence there is a risk that it can expand and block your intestinal tract if you take too much quantity. However when taken in small doses such as a teaspoon to start off it can help to reduce your appetite and have positive effect on your weight control efforts. It also regularizes your bowel movements.
May Interfere with Diabetes Medication
As mentioned in the previous point, Guar gum can expand many times and potentially block the intestines. In such situations many drugs including diabetes controlling drugs may become ineffective since they won’t be absorbed by the body. This may cause unwanted fluctuations in blood sugar. Remember that this issue is common to any fiber supplement and you should consult your doctor before you take any fiber supplements.
Risk of Colon Cancer
If you have a family history of Colon cancer you may want to be careful about high doses of Guar gum. Although it has not been proven in any study done on human beings, a study done in 2002, which was published in “International Journal of Cancer” mentioned that high levels of guar gum increased the colon cancer risk in rats.
How To Avoid These Risks
You can avoid most of these risks by taking in moderate amount to start with. You can start with one tea spoon and see how it suits you. For most adults and teenagers 1 teaspoon of any fiber will not pose any threat. If you are taking any medications, you can take it 2 hours before or after the medication.