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  Substance Info: (and synonyms)
Guar / Guar gum / Guar flour

Background Info:

 

Adverse Reactions:

Background Info:

Also called clusterbean and Calcutta lucern.

This gummy substance, obtained from the ground endosperm of the seeds of the Cyamopsis tetragonoloba tree in India (C. psoraloides), is used mainly as a thickener and stabiliser in commercial food processing. Three or four species of guar are found in regions of Africa, Arabia, India, Pakistan, the USA, and northern Australia. (Steger 2000 ref.3599 4)

Guar gum, available as a yellowish-white powder, has 5-8 times the thickening power of starch, and the unique ability among gums to hydrate rapidly in cold water. (But it is insoluble in oils, grease, hydrocarbons, ketones, and esters.)

Guar gum is an emulsifier, a firming agent, a formulation aid, stabiliser, and a thickener. It is used in baked goods and baking mixes, cereals, beverages, cheese and other milk products, dairy product analogues, fats, oils, gravies, jams, jellies, sauces, soup mixes and soups, syrups, toppings, vegetable juices, processed vegetables and deep-frozen foods. The gum functions synergistically with xanthan gum by increasing the viscosity of a product. Guar gum is also common in the fat-reduced or fatless spreads.

Guar gum increases viscosity in the gut, which causes a slower absorption rate of carbohydrates and stimulates bile production. This initiates cholesterol reduction and increases intestinal tract motility. It can also function as a slimming aid, since it swells in the stomach and gives a feeling of satiety.

May not be used to produce dehydrated foodstuffs intended to rehydrate on ingestion. Guar gum readily absorbs water and swells, and should thus not be ingested as a dry powder. There is a limit on the use of Guar gum in slimming capsules, since it could cause esophageal obstruction as a result of swelling up in the oesophagus, rather than the stomach, causing choking obstruction, or rupture the oesophagus.

 

Adverse Reactions:

IMMUNE REACTIONS


[ 1 / 5 ]

A 52-year-old male ate a meal substitute, called GERLINEA which he frequently consumed for slimming. He had also ingested acetylsalicylic acid on a number of occassions for a viral infection. Thirty minutes later he experienced generalized urticaria. Following another dose of acetylsalicylic acid, a total dose of 2500 mg ( because of headache), a few minutes later he presented a severe anaphylactic reaction: chest and epigastric pain, sudden weakness, breath shortness and circulatory collapse. Skin prick tests including 25 food allergens were negative, except for soybean. Skin tests were positive for the meal substitute, and for guar and carob gums with evidence of an IgE-mediated mechanism (Guar gum 27.20 kU/L, Carob gum 6.42 kU/L). Arabic gum and Tragacanth gum were negative. An oral provocation test to acetylsalicylic acid remained negative (cumulative dose - 933 mg). Considering the severity of the reaction, oral challenge test with guar gum was not performed. (Papanikolaou 2007 ref.20128 5)

Reference:
Papanikolaou I, Stenger R, Bessot JC, de BF, Pauli G. Anaphylactic shock to guar gum (food additive E412) contained in a meal substitute. Allergy 2007 Jul;62(7):822



[ 2 / 5 ]

Baker's asthma.

More than 15 allergens were responsible for food-induced anaphylaxis in this French study: egg (11.6%), fish (10.4%), crustaceans (10.4%), milk (6.5%), fruit-latex group (6.5%), peanut and other legumes (soy, peas, lentils, guar gum, etc.), celery, garlic, etc. The food allergen still remained unknown in 25% of cases (Moneret-Vautrin 1995 ref.2153 7) (Moneret-Vautrin 1995 ref.2430 7)

Reference:
Reorganization process. Data in process of being reorganized. Editorial staff 2006



[ 3 / 5 ]

Severe contact urticaria to guar gum included as gelling agent in a local anaesthetic. Life-threatening immediate-type hypersensitivity caused by Dynexan, a local anaesthetic gel. After mucosal application by his dentist, a 63-year-old man rapidly developed urticaria, dyspnea and, at last, he collapsed and remained unconscious for 2 hr despite emergency care. Prick tests was positive Meyprogat 60, an ingredient of Dynexan. As the gelling agent Meyprogat represents a derivative of guar (synonymous guar gum, guaran, E-412), we subsequently tested different guar products derived from Cyamopsis tetragonoloba beans and, as control, the closely related locust bean gum E-410. In the prick-to-prick tests, the guar-derived food additive Provigel NAG 905 provoked a 1-fold positive reaction. Native guar beans pounded and resuspended in water showed a 2-fold positive reaction, whereas no reaction was found to derivatives of locust bean gum. Specific immunoglobulin E were negative in all cases. Despite the common use of guar as versatile food additive or gelling agent, this is the first case of a severe immediate-type hypersensitivity after mucosal contact. (Roesch 2005 ref.12577 7)

Reference:
Roesch A, Haegele T, Vogt T, Babilas P, Landthaler M, Szeimies RM. Severe contact urticaria to guar gum included as gelling agent in a local anaesthetic. Contact Dermatitis 2005 Jun;52(6):6-308



[ 4 / 5 ]

Guar gum allergy. (Raitala 1990 ref.7336 7)

Reference:
Raitala R, Kalimo K. Guar gum allergy. [Finnish] Duodecim 1990;106(10):829-30



[ 5 / 5 ]

Guar gum is a high-molecular-weight agent that can cause occupational rhinitis and asthma. (Malo 1990 ref.7053 4)

Reference:
Malo JL, Cartier A, L'Archeveque J, Ghezzo H, Soucy F, Somers J, Dolovich J. Prevalence of occupational asthma and immunologic sensitization to guar gum among employees at a carpet-manufacturing plant. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1990;86(4 Pt 1):562-9




Non-Immune reactions


[ 1 ]

Intolerance to food colorants and additives remains a reality, well-known in adults but difficult to prove in children because of the load of the examinations that must be done. The incidence of adverse effects is certainly low in the general population, between 0.03 and 0.2% according to many reports, although it may be as high as 1% according to other reports. It is higher depending on the population studied, being, for example, up to 2% in atopic children. There are many pathophysiological mechanisms, depending on the nature of the responsible substance. An IgE-dependant mechanism dependant is present in the case of the carime in cochineal (E 120), carrageenan (E 407), guar gum (E 413), lysozyme (E 1105) and annatto. The published data on colorants, conservatives, taste screeners, antioxidants, texturants, enzymes, sweeteners, and aromas is reviewed. Diagnosis is based on evidence obtained from the clinical history, responses to questions dealing with eating habits, a provocation test, the effect of avoidance and on eventual reintroduction of the suspected substance. (Bourrier 2006 ref.13849 3)

Reference:
Bourrier T. Intolérances et allergies aux colorants et additifs. Revue francaise d allergologie 2006;46(2):68-79



[ 2 ]

Guar gum is used as a thickener in foods and infant foods. The ingestion of carob bean gum caused a significant reduction in the absorption and bioavailability of calcium, iron, and zinc. (Bosscher 2001 ref.7155 5)

Reference:
Bosscher D, Van Caillie-Bertrand M, Deelstra H. Effect of thickening agents, based on soluble dietary fiber, on the availability of calcium, iron, and zinc from infant formulas. Nutrition 2001;17(7-8):614-8



[ 3 ]

Soluble fibres (including guar gum and psyllium) can decrease the absorption of drugs. (Fugh-Berman 2000 ref.8380 0)

Reference:
Fugh-Berman A. Herb-drug interactions. Lancet 2000;355(9198):134-8



[ 4 ]

Pharmacobezoars, bezoars comprised of medications, are unusual entities. Guar gum is a medication reported to cause bezoars. Psyllium preparations is a medication reported to cause bezoars. (Stack 1995 ref.7334 1)

Reference:
Stack PE, Thomas E. Pharmacobezoar: an evolving new entity. Dig Dis 1995;13(6):356-64



[ 5 ]

Twenty-six domestic reports of suspected adverse reactions from the guar gum-containing diet pill, Cal-Ban 3000 (filed with the FDA) were reviewed. There were 18 instances of esophageal obstruction, seven instances of small bowel obstruction, and one individual who was reported to have died after ingestion of Cal-Ban 3000, but for whom insufficient details were provided to assess causation. Preexisting esophageal or gastric disorders were present in 50% of those with esophageal obstruction, including peptic stricture, pyrosis, hiatal hernia, esophagitis, gastric stapling procedure, Schatzki ring, and muscular dystrophy. The water-holding capacity and gel-forming tendency of guar gum permits it to swell in size 10- to 20-fold, and may lead to luminal obstruction, especially when an anatomic predisposition exists. Such products have been banned in Australia, and Cal-Ban 3000 has recently been removed from the market in the United States. (Lewis 1992 ref.20751 5)

Reference:
Lewis JH. Esophageal and small bowel obstruction from guar gum-containing "diet pills": analysis of 26 cases reported to the Food and Drug Administration Am J Gastroenterol 1992 Oct;87(10):1424-8.



[ 6 ]

This study concludes that guar is fermented in the human colon, producing rises in breath methane and serum acetate but not hydrogen. Although psyllium had no effect on hydrogen, methane, or acetate, this does not prove that it is not fermented. (Wolever 1992 ref.7335 3)

Reference:
Wolever TM, ter Wal P, Spadafora P, Robb P. Guar, but not psyllium, increases breath methane and serum acetate concentrations in human subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 1992;55(3):719-22



[ 7 ]

Two cases of acute esophageal obstruction by a guar gum product for weight-loss in patients with preexisting esophageal abnormalities. (Opper 1990 ref.20757 8)

Reference:
Opper FH, Isaacs KL, Warshauer DM. Esophageal obstruction with a dietary fiber product designed for weight reduction. J Clin Gastroenterol 1990 Dec;12(6):667-9.



[ 8 ]

Food and guar decrease absorption of trimethoprim. (Hoppu 1987 ref.20758 7)

Reference:
Hoppu K, Tuomisto J, Koskimies O, Simell O. Food and guar decrease absorption of trimethoprim. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1987;32(4):427-9.



[ 9 ]

Ingestion of 5 g guar gum (Glucotard) led to complete obstruction of the distal oesophagus in a 63-year-old diabetic. A daily intake of 5 g guar gum t.i.d. with 250 ml of water had been tolerated without problems for half a year. Intake of a sufficient amount of water, as well as an undisturbed oesophageal function, are absolutely essential for the ingestion of guar gum. (Ranft 1983 ref.20750 5)

Reference:
Ranft K, Imhof W. Bolus obstruction of the distal esophagus caused by hydrophilic plant material (guar gum). [German] Dtsch Med Wochenschr 1983 Dec 23;108(51-52):1968-9.



[ 10 ]

Excess intake: nausea, flatulence, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea.

Potentially dangerous when used as slimming agent, since may swell up in the gullet, rather than the stomach, causing choking obstruction, or rupture the oesophagus.

Reference:
Editor Comment Editorial comment, common knowledge, or still to add - -




Occupational reactions


[ 1 ]

Sixteen workers with normal nonspecific bronchial reactivity (NSBR) who had been previously diagnosed with occupational asthma caused by high-molecular-weight agents, flour in seven workers, psyllium in five, and guar gum in four, were rechallenged after removal from exposure to these agents for a mean of 5.7 yr, and who no longer showed evidence of persisting asthma, and had a normal lung function. The authors conclude that specific bronchial reactivity to high-molecular-weight agents persists in most cases despite a normalization of NSBR, and that this persistence is associated with a persistence of specific immunization to the agent. (Lemiere 2000 ref.7332 5)

Reference:
Lemiere C, Cartier A, Malo JL, Lehrer SB. Persistent specific bronchial reactivity to occupational agents in workers with normal nonspecific bronchial reactivity. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2000;162(3 Pt 1):976-80



[ 2 ]

In a study of 15 subjects with occupational asthma (eight due to high-molecular-weight agents--flour and guar gum--and seven due to isocyanates), inhaling occupational agents of high or low molecular weight, including isocyanates, whether through the mouth or nose, resulted in asthmatic responses, caused a significant nasal symptoms and an increase in nasal resistance, and resulted in significant changes in inflammatory cells and mediators. (Desrosiers 1998 ref.7333 2)

Reference:
Desrosiers M, Nguyen B, Ghezzo H, Leblanc C, Malo JL. Nasal response in subjects undergoing challenges by inhaling occupational agents causing asthma through the nose and mouth. Allergy 1998;53(9):840-8



[ 3 ]

Occupational asthma in printers and carpet manufactures. (Quirce 1998 ref.2386 2)

Reference:
Quirce s, Sastre J. Occupational asthma [Review]. Allergy 1998;53:633-641



[ 4 ]

Carpet manufacturers may be exposed to guar gum. 14 of 162 employees at a carpet-manufacturing plant using guar gum to be sensitized to this gum, of which two had occupational asthma. Eight subjects (5%) demonstrated immediate skin reactivity to guar gum. Eleven subjects (8.3%) had serum IgE antibodies to guar gum.(Malo 1990 ref.7053 4)

Reference:
Malo JL, Cartier A, L'Archeveque J, Ghezzo H, Soucy F, Somers J, Dolovich J. Prevalence of occupational asthma and immunologic sensitization to guar gum among employees at a carpet-manufacturing plant. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1990;86(4 Pt 1):562-9



[ 5 ]

Occupational asthma. Three subjects who developed symptoms of rhinitis and asthma after the onset of exposure to guar gum are reported in a study. The first subject worked for a pharmaceutical company; the second and third subjects worked at a carpet-manufacturing plant. Specific IgE was demonstrated on skin prick tests and high levels were determined in their serum to guar gum. Specific inhalation challenges in which the three subjects were exposed to powder of guar gum elicited isolated immediate bronchospastic reactions in two subjects and a dual reaction in the other subject. (Lagier 1990 ref.28 143)

Reference:
Lagier F, Cartier A, Somer J, Dolovich J, et al. Occupational asthma caused by guar gum. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1990;85:785-790



[ 6 ]

Three cases of allergic rhinitis (rhinitis, palateal oedema) from guar gum are reported. Two subjects were exposed to fine guar gum powder, an insulator in rubber cables, when opening cables in a power cable laboratory. After 1-2 years' exposure the patients developed rhinitis. A third subject developed allergic rhinitis from another guar gum product after 2 years' exposure in a paper factory. Diagnosis were made with positive skin tests and nasal provocation tests. (Kanerva 1987 ref.30 039)

Reference:
Kanerva L, Tupasela O, Jolanki R, et al. Occupational allergic rhinitis from guar gum. Clin Allergy 1988 May;18(3):245-52.



[ 7 ]

Reversible obstructive sleep apnea caused by occupational exposure to guar gum powder, in a pet food plant employee. Severe cough, rhinitis, and conjunctivitis was also experienced. (Leznoff 1986 ref.265 23)

Reference:
Leznoff, A, Haight, J, Hoffstein, V. Reversible obstructive sleep apnea caused by occupational exposure to guar gum dust. Am Rev Respir Dis 1986;133:935-936




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