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!?
What 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 that 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 guar gum?
In Australia, Nestle has discontinued its popular PHGG supplement under the product name Pronourish. However, supplements such as Regular Girl or Sun Fiber are great options. 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!