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Guggul Gets At Triglycerides
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|Guggul Gets At Triglycerides
Triglycerides (TGs) are a group of fatty compounds that circulate in
the bloodstream and are stored in the fat tissue. Individuals who have
elevated blood levels of TGs (known as hypertriglyceridemia) appear to
be at increased risk of developing heart disease.
People with diabetes often have elevated TG levels. Successfully
controlling diabetes will, in some cases, lead to normalization of TG
Parts used and where grown
The mukul myrrh (Commiphora mukul)
tree is a small, thorny plant distributed throughout India. Guggul and
gum guggulu are the names given to a yellowish resin produced by the
stem of the plant. This resin has been used historically and is also
the source of modern extracts of guggul.
Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies)
The classical treatise on Ayurvedic medicine, Sushrita Samhita,
describes the use of guggul for a wide variety of conditions, including
rheumatism and obesity. One of its primary indications was a condition
known as medoroga. This ancient diagnosis is similar to the modern
description of atherosclerosis. Standardized guggul extracts are
approved in India for lowering elevated serum cholesterol and
resin, volatile oils, and gum. The extract isolates ketonic steroid
compounds known as guggulsterones. These compounds have been shown to
provide the cholesterol- and triglyceride-lowering actions noted for
guggul. Guggul significantly lowers serum triglycerides and cholesterol
as well as LDL and VLDL cholesterols (the “bad” cholesterols). At the
same time, it raises levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good”
cholesterol). As antioxidants, guggulsterones keep LDL cholesterol from
oxidizing, an action which protects against atherosclerosis. Guggul has
also been shown to reduce the stickiness of platelets—another effect
that lowers the risk of coronary artery disease. One double-blind trial
found guggul extract similar to the drug clofibrate for lowering
cholesterol levels. Other clinical trials in India (using 1,500 mg of
extract per day) have confirmed guggul extracts improve lipid levels in
How much is usually taken?
recommendations for the purified guggul extract are typically based on
the amount of guggulsterones in the extract. A common intake of
guggulsterones is 25 mg three times per day. Most extracts contain
2.5–5% guggulsterones and can be taken daily for lowering high
cholesterol and/or triglycerides.
Are there any side effects or interactions?
Early studies with the crude oleoresin reported numerous side effects,
including diarrhea, anorexia, abdominal pain, and skin rash. Modern
extracts are more purified, and fewer side effects (e.g., mild
abdominal discomfort) have been reported with long-term use. Rash was
reported, however, as a fairly common side effect in one recent study.
Guggul should be used with caution by people with liver disease and in
cases of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and diarrhea. A physician
should be consulted before treating elevated cholesterol and
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with guggul.
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