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Guggul contains 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.9 Guggul significantly lowers serum triglycerides and cholesterol as well as LDL and VLDL cholesterols (the “bad” cholesterols).10 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.11 Guggul has also been shown to reduce the stickiness of platelets—another effect that lowers the risk of coronary artery disease.12 One double-blind trial found guggul extract similar to the drug clofibrate for lowering cholesterol levels.13 Other clinical trials in India (using 1,500 mg of extract per day) have confirmed guggul extracts improve lipid levels in humans.14
A combination of guggul, phosphate salts, hydroxycitrate, and tyrosine coupled with exercise has been shown in a double-blind trial to improve mood with a slight tendency to improve weight loss in overweight adults.15
One small clinical trial found that guggul (Commiphora mukul) compared favorably to tetracycline in the treatment of cystic acne.16 The amount of guggul extract taken in the trial was 500 mg twice per day.
Daily recommendations for the purified guggul extract are typically based on the amount of guggulsterones in the extract.17 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.
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2014.