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What Is Guggul Extract?

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  • Written By: Nishnaz
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2014
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Guggul extract is a purified form of gum resin derived from a small thorny tree, called Commiphora mukul. It is commonly found in the semi-arid plains of India. The guggul extract, also called guggulolipid, is used in the treatment of a wide range of diseases and is a component of many weight loss supplements. It is considered as an effective herbal drug in treating heart disease and arthritis, and in controlling obesity and lowering cholesterol.

The medicinal properties of guggul are chiefly attributed to the steroid compound guggulosterone present in the resin. Guggul extract is believed to play an important role in controlling atherosclerosis. Guggul reduces the low density lipoproteins (LDL) in the bloodstream.

Atherosclerosis, which is a condition where the blood vessels become thickened, occurs due to the accumulation of fat or cholesterol in the vessels. Cholesterol, which is insoluble in water, is naturally transported through the blood by the LDL. Excess intake of fat leads the LDL to react with the oxygen free radicals present in the blood. This damages the artery walls, triggering a series of immune reactions by the body. The body subsequently responds to the damage in the arteries by releasing white blood cells to absorb the oxidized LDL.

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White blood cells and platelets are generally incapable of absorbing these LDL molecules, so they expand and burst, depositing more cholesterol on the artery walls. This deposition of cholesterol inside the arteries leads to the narrowing of blood vessels and can result in high blood pressure. This is considered as a major cause of stroke, heart attack, and most cardiovascular diseases.

Guggul extract is believed to bring down the platelet stickiness considerably by reducing the amount of cholesterol deposits in the body. This is done by converting the cholesterol into bile acids and allowing it to be excreted from the body. Guggul extract blocks the activity of a protein, FXR, that inhibits the conversion of cholesterol in the liver to bile. Blocking of the FXR leads to the rapid conversion of cholesterol to bile.

Guggulosterone also stimulates the thyroid gland and increases the metabolism. Though guggul extract is more widely used for its cholesterol reducing and weight control properties, gugullolipid has also been proven to be effective in the control of rheumatoid arthritis and related inflammation. It is widely used in the treatment of nodulocystic acne, excema, and other skin diseases, too. Guggul extract should be taken with caution by those under medication for heart diseases, liver disorders, and irritable bowel syndrome.

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anon344761
Post 5

I'm so glad I came across this article! I have had a constant itch on my chest for about three weeks and finally thought to look up whether the supplements I started taking a month ago had something to do with it. I discovered I'm hypothyroid and have some joint pain due to inflammation, so I researched supplements and guggul came highly recommended. I am only taking 750 mg, though. I thought the itchy side effect occurs at significantly higher doses. We'll see!

Mykol
Post 4

Heart disease and high blood pressure run in my family, and my doctor wants me to start taking a statin drug to lower my cholesterol.

I know I need to work on this, but I am concerned about the long term side effects of taking statin drugs.

If I could find a natural alternative that would do the same thing without destroying my liver, I would rather do that.

I haven't started taking any guggul gum extract yet, but have been doing some reading on it. Some of them have sterols in them and others don't. I think the steroid compound would be one of the things that would be helpful in lowering my LDL levels.

bagley79
Post 3

@SarahSon - I am glad you have had good results with taking this herb. Unfortunately I had some guggul side effects when I began taking this.

I broke out with an itchy rash on my chest after I began taking it. This is one of the side effects that is mentioned on the bottle, so I knew that is what caused it. As soon as I stopped taking it, the rash went away.

Sometimes it is better to start out gradually when you begin taking any kind of supplement. I started taking 4 a day, and might not have had a reaction if I had only started out with 1 a day and slowly worked up to more.

The reason I started taking guggul was to increase my metabolism and lose some weight. There are a lot of other weight loss products out there, so I haven't tried the guggul a second time.

SarahSon
Post 2

@myharley - You would probably have the best results buying this online. Some health food stores might also order it for you if you ask them.

There is a wonderful herb store a few blocks from my house, and they have ordered this for me in the past.

I use guggul resin extract to help with my high cholesterol. An added bonus is that I have also lost weight since I started taking it.

It might be a combination of eating better too, but I have been pleased with the results I have had. My cholesterol numbers have gone down and my weight is lower, so I plan to continue taking it.

I haven't noticed any negative side effects, and my doctor is also pleased with my numbers as well.

myharley
Post 1

How interesting this herb sounds. I like to use herbal remedies whenever possible, but have never heard of the guggul herb.

I was especially interested in the effectiveness of taking this for rheumatoid arthritis. I have a mild form of this disease and really have been trying to avoid going on the prescription medications that have long term side effects.

Steroids is one of the things that my doctor has recommended I might try if my arthritis symptoms get worse. Since guggul naturally contains a steroid compound, maybe it would help lower my inflammation.

I have taken steroids before for a short time, and I put on 5 pounds in 2 days. It seems like putting on weight would be the last thing I would want to do to help with my arthritis.

If I could use an herb like guggul to help control my symptoms, I would love to try it. Where is the best place to buy something like this? I don't recall ever seeing it in the small health food store I go to.

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