- Guar gum is used as a laxative. It is also used for treating diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), obesity, and diabetes; for reducing cholesterol; and for preventing “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis).
- In foods and beverages, guar gum is used as a thickening, stabilizing, suspending, and binding agent.
- In manufacturing, guar gum is used as a binding agent in tablets, and as a thickening agent in lotions and creams.
- Guar gum is a fiber that normalizes the moisture content of the stool, absorbing excess liquid in diarrhea, and softening the stool in constipation. It also might help decrease the amount of cholesterol and glucose that is absorbed in the stomach and intestines.
- There is some interest in using guar gum for weight loss because it expands in the intestine, causing a sense of fullness. This may decrease appetite.
- Guar gum is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth with at least 8 ounces of liquid. The water is important because it reduces the chance of choking or developing a blockage in the intestine.
- Side effects include increased gas production, diarrhea, and loose stools. These side effects usually decrease or disappear after several days of use. High doses of guar gum or not drinking enough fluid with the dose of guar gum can cause blockage of the esophagus and the intestines.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking guar gum during pregnancy in typical amounts is POSSIBLY SAFE. But not enough is known about the safety of taking guar gum during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
- Diabetes: Guar gum might lower blood sugar levels in some people. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use guar gum.
- Gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction: Don’t take guar gum if you have a condition that causes obstruction or narrowing of your esophagus or intestine.
- Low blood pressure: Guar gum might lower blood pressure. In theory, taking guar gum might make blood pressure become too low in people with low blood pressure.
- Surgery: Because guar gum might affect blood glucose levels, there is a concern that it might interfere with blood glucose control during and after surgery. Stop taking guar gum at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination:
- Ethinyl estradiol interacts with GUAR GUM: Ethinyl estradiol is a form of estrogen that’s in some estrogen products and birth control pills. Guar gum can decrease how much ethinyl estradiol the body absorbs. Taking guar gum along with estrogen-containing medicines might decrease the effectiveness of estrogen.
- Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with GUAR GUM:Guar gum might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking guar gum along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
- Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
- Metformin (Glucophage) interacts with GUAR GUM: Guar gum can decrease how much metformin the body absorbs. Taking guar gum along with metformin can decrease the effectiveness of metformin.
- Penicillin (Penicillin VK, Pen VK, Veetids) interacts with GUAR GUM: Guar gum can decrease how much penicillin the body absorbs. Taking guar gum along with penicillin can decrease the ability of penicillin to fight infection.
Minor Interaction Be watchful with this combination
- Digoxin (Lanoxin) interacts with GUAR GUM: Some people worry that guar gum can decrease how much digoxin the body absorbs. But it is unlikely that guar gum will significantly affect digoxin absorption.