What Is It?
From the resin of the mukul myrrh tree (Commiphora mukul) comes a remedy–gugulipid–that holds promise for lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels as effectively as certain prescription medications. Native to India, this tree is closely related to the plant that provides the fragrant myrrh described in the Bible.
The tree’s resin is called gum guggul, or guggulu. Traditional Ayurvedic healers in India have relied on this resin for centuries to treat arthritis and obesity. Interestingly, as early as 600 B.C. they were giving it to people who suffered from a condition associated with regular overindulgence in rich foods and a sedate lifestyle–what we now know as atherosclerosis.
Research has subsequently revealed that the refined resin (gugulipid) inhibits the formation of artery-hardening plaque. In addition, it has been found that active ingredients called guggulsterones encourage levels of cholesterol and fat to drop. This in turn lowers the risk for heart disease. Guggulsterones may also help to control arthritis-related inflammation and may aid in weight loss.
There are no known drug or nutrient interactions associated with gugulipid.
• Be sure to consult your doctor before trying gugulipid if you suffer from liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or diarrhea. Pregnant women should not take it.
• When selecting a product, look for one clearly marked as a gugulipid supplement and not guggul or guggulu–crude and unrefined forms of the resin that could easily contain toxic compounds. A dangerous loss of appetite, stomach pain, diarrhea, and rashes could develop from guggul or guggulu. Gugulipid, on the other hand, has been refined to contain only the active ingredients without the toxins. In rare cases, however, even gugulipid may cause side effects such as mild nausea, gas, diarrhea, hiccups, restlessness, anxiety, or headaches.
• Don’t stop seeing your doctor for a cholesterol problem, or substitute gugulipid for a cholesterol-lowering medication without your doctor’s approval.
High Cholesterol 25 mg guggulsterones 3 times a day
David Edelberg, M.D.
An Ayurvedic remedy, gugulipid is derived from the gum resin of the mukul myrrh tree and has long been used in India for a variety of ailments. The herb seems to affect the way the body breaks down fat and cholesterol; it can also act as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
HOW IT HELPS HIGH CHOLESTEROL
If you’re interested in a completely natural, nontoxic way to work on your cholesterol, then consider gugulipid. Recently approved by the Indian government for the treatment of cholesterol, this substance works best at lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, because it speeds up the liver’s metabolism of LDL. One useful tip for lowering your cholesterol:You may be able to get away with a lesser amount of gugulipid if you combine it with the B vitamin niacin (a perfectly acceptable strategy). In fact, several companies are now promoting combination capsules of these two cholesterol-lowering agents.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
For this supplement to be effective, you’ll need to get the equivalent of 25 mg of the active ingredient called guggulsterones three times a day. This may translate into 250 to 500 mg of gugulipid, depending on the manufacturer. Finding the most effective product may mean reading labels and doing some math because sometimes the amount of guggulsterones is listed in percentage terms. For instance, one brand may contain 250 mg of gugulipid, standardized to contain 2.5% guggulsterones, or 6.25 mg of guggulsterones per capsule. To get an effective dosage with this product, you’d need to take four capsules three times a day (and, at this rate, the bottle lasts a week!). On the other hand, another brand may be more concentrated: 500 mg of gugulipid, at 5% guggulsterones, or 25 mg of guggulsterones per capsule. In this case, you only need one capsule three times a day, and the bottle lasts you a month! My advice is to shop carefully. Many of my patients begin by using the 2.5% product because it’s much less expensive. And most are disappointed with the results.
If you decide to try gugulipid, here are a few pointers about using it more effectively. You can take gugulipid with or without food. Gugulipid seems to be quite safe.