You may have heard of or be taking a guar gum as a supplement to help manage IBS symptoms. You may also be wondering what on earth is guar gum!?
Guar gum is a type of fibre derived from guar beans, which are a type of legume. It is commonly used as a food additive due to its ability to act as a thickening agent and emulsifier. Foods which commonly contain guar gum include yoghurt, gluten-free baked goods, gravies, sauces and ice-cream. Additionally, it can be found as an additive in non-food products such as cosmetics and medications.
Recently, guar gum has been gaining more attention for its use as a supplement in managing IBS symptoms, especially for constipation-predominant IBS.
Guar gum and IBS management
Given guar gum is a type of fibre, it isn’t surprising that it has a role in digestive health. Research has found Partially Hydrolysed Guar Gum (PHGG) may support good digestive health and manage IBS symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating and particularly constipation. For many individuals use of PHGG also resulted in less reliance on laxatives.
PHGG may also have prebiotic properties via promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, specifically bifidobacterial and lactobacilla. One limitation of a low fodmap diet is the restriction of prebiotics, so PHGG may have the potential to help counteract this limitation.
Where can you get it?
In Australia, Nestle have released a PHGG supplement under the product name ‘Pronourish’ and is available to purchase through Chemist Warehouse and Good Price Pharmacy. Pronourish has been clinically tested to relieve symptoms of clinically diagnosed IBS. It is also low fodmap certified, so is safe to take during the elimination phase of the low fodmap diet.
Like with any fibre supplement, it is important to drink plenty of water when taking PHGG (otherwise you may make symptoms worse).
PHGG is just one strategy that may assist in managing constipation. There are a lot of considerations which come into play when managing constipation. For more information check out our recent articles on common causes of constipation and our quick tips to get digestion moving!
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Russo L, Andreozzi P, Zito FP, Vozzella L, Savino IG, Sarnelli G, Cuomo R. Partially hydrolyzed guar gum in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation: effects of gender, age, and body mass index. Saudi journal of gastroenterology: official journal of the Saudi Gastroenterology Association. 2015 Mar;21(2):104.
Polymeros D, Beintaris I, Gaglia A, Karamanolis G, Papanikolaou IS, Dimitriadis G, Triantafyllou K. Partially hydrolyzed guar gum accelerates colonic transit time and improves symptoms in adults with chronic constipation. Digestive diseases and sciences. 2014 Sep 1;59(9):2207-14.