Guggulipid Extract for Cholesterol Benefits and Side Effects
It may have one of the most unusual names; however guggulipid extract may be one of the most promising natural cholesterol lowering supplements available. It received approval in India for high cholesterol treatment in the late 1980s, although it is still only available as a dietary supplement in the United States. The beneficial substance is extracted from a tree that is found in India, known as the mukul myrrh tree; and, aside from its new potential use among natural cholesterol lowering supplements, the extract has been associated with healing for centuries, being used for arthritis, obesity, ulcers and even epilepsy in ancient medicine. WebMD even points to ancient literature detailing the use of guggulipid extract as far back as 600 B.C. for treating atherosclerosis.
The active components of guggulipid that are thought to contribute to the extract’s ability to lower cholesterol are Z and E Guggulsterones. These compounds are thought to purportedly reduce the amount of cholesterol that the liver produces. They accomplish this by the antagonism of two important receptors, the bile acid receptor and the farsenoid X receptor. Hence, the compounds may provide an answer to how to lower LDL cholesterol by inhibiting the amounts of its production in the first place.
Many of the best supplements to lower cholesterol combine guggulipid extract with another natural product that is well known for its ability to reduce LDL levels – red yeast rice. Red yeast rice is comprised of yeast that is grown on rice, and that the edible has been a staple of eastern cuisine for many years. Red yeast rice contains substances called monacolins that have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels as they inhibit the production of cholesterol via the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme, the same way that many cholesterol medications do. It may come as no surprise then, that red yeast rice contains lovastatin, the very basis for many medications used today.
Along with red yeast rice, the predominance of guggulipid extract has maintained in eastern parts of the world, in countries like India. Interestingly enough, studies showing the effectiveness of guggulipid may show that geography may play as big a role as physiology in the success of the natural treatment for cholesterol. While evidence is still scattered, the diets and lifestyles of different groups of people may contribute to the level of effectiveness of guggulipid. Test results showed that those conducted in countries like India yielded more positive results than their western counterparts, and it is thought that this discrepancy may have to do with the fact that persons in eastern parts of the world tend to enjoy diets lower in fat and that exercise habits may differ from in other parts of the world. This same data suggests that it is possible that genetics may also play a role in the effectiveness of guggulipid extract, although this has not been conclusively proven.
Like any other herbs for cholesterol, there are some side effects that should be considered before thinking about using guggul for LDL reduction. Although many cholesterol lowering supplements yield fewer side effects than prescription medications used for the same purpose, they should not be considered safe just because they are natural, and a health care provider should be consulted before their use. In the case of guggulipid extract, WebMD explains that gastrointestinal side effects may occur, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Additionally, skin discomfort may present that either is or is not associated with an allergy to the extract, although this seems to be more common in the case of higher doses. Headaches have also been reported with the use of guggulipid extract, and so have cases of the hiccups. Extracts of guggul may also present problems in the presence of some health conditions, such as those that are related to hormones. As such, individuals with reproductive cancers or conditions of the uterus should not use guggul. Additionally, those with thyroid problems or anyone preparing for a surgical procedure should also abstain from extracts of guggul.
Guggulipid extract may be a natural and effective way to lower cholesterol numbers and contribute to a slow in the progression of atherosclerosis which can lead to abundant heart healthy benefits. However, like many herbal medicinal options, there is little research to back up these claims, and scientific data showing the clear benefits of the herbal remedy is limited. If you are considering guggul for its lipid lowering benefits, talk to your doctor to ensure that it is safe for you to take. When combined with a low fat diet, healthy lifestyle and beneficial exercise, the oddly named extract may be able to lower the risk of heart related diseases naturally.