Guggulu extract is an oleogum resin obtained from guggul tree (Commiphora mukul). This tree is native to India, but is also found in Bangladesh and Pakistan. This resin is tapped from the tree during the winters. This extract has been used to treat several diseases like hyper-cholesterolemia, atherosclerosis, rheumatism, and obesity, since time immemorial. The bioactive constituent responsible for the therapeutic effects of Guggulu extract is Guggulsterone.
After studying its effect in animal models, the guggulu extract has been tested during different clinical and pre-clinical studies. After conducting multiple pharmacological activities, scientists have come to the conclusion that guggulu extract can address several cardiovascular problems efficiently. Due to the rapid changes in modern life style, the incidences of cardiovascular diseases have risen up at an alarming rate. A supplement like guggulu extract can help us to cope up with these rapid changes and keep us healthy.
How does Guggulu Extract lower cholesterol levels?
Studies suggest that guggulsterone can reduce the cholesterol levels by converting cholesterol to bile acids, followed by its removal from blood through enterohepatic circulation (circulation of biliary acids, bilirubin, drugs and other substances from liver to small intestines, where they get either absorbed or eliminated through the alimentary canal). Guggulsterone shows its effect by either activating or suppressing the genes involved in the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway.
Farnesoid x receptor (FXR) is a key transcriptional regulator that maintains the balance between the cholesterol levels and bile acids. Guggulsterone negates the action of FXR and lowers the cholesterol levels. Usually when excess of bile acids are formed in the liver, a signal is sent to stop the further conversion of cholesterol into bile acids. Guggulsterone obstructs this signal and allows the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids. Simultaneously, it does not allow the bile acids to accumulate in the liver. They are removed from the liver and enter the blood stream (Deng).
A recent study suggests that guggulsterone activates the bile salt export pump (BSEP), which removes the cholesterol metabolites from the liver. Through this action, it favors the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids and thus controls the lipid levels (Deng).
A few other mechanisms have also been proposed that suggest the mode of action of Guggulsterone. Guggul promotes the catabolism of plasma LDL cholesterol and reduces its levels in the blood. Guggulsterone increases the hepatic binding sites for LDL cholesterol and thus promotes the clearance of cholesterol through liver (Kelly and Michael).
Evidences that support the hypolipidemic activity of guggul
An Indian medical researcher, G.V.Satyavati, was the first person to study the hypolipidemic effects of guggul on rabbits and introduce this extract to the scientific world. She fed a group of experimental rabbits with hydrogenated vegetable oil to raise their cholesterol levels and later fed them with guggul. The other group of rabbits was kept as a control. At the end of the study, the experimental rabbits showed a reduction in serum cholesterol and lipid levels. Moreover, the arteries of these rabbits did not show the presence of fatty streaks or plaque deposits. This study suggested that guggul may be effective in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis (Deng).
In another study, 191 patients affected by hyperlipidemia were chosen. The experimental group was given a diet containing guggulsterone. After a span of 3 or 6 months of treatment, a significant decrease in the levels of total cholesterol and LDL- cholesterol was noticed (Muscariello, Nasti, et al). Apart from these studies, several clinical trials have been done to compare efficiency of guggulsterone with the normally used drugs. Guggulsterone has proved to be either more efficient or at par with these drugs.
Get relieved from high cholesterol levels through Guggulu extract
The use Guggulu extract as a lipid-lowering drug was legally approved in India in June 1986. As it lowers the cholesterol levels through several mechanisms, it is healthy for the heart too. It also provides relief from hypertension and the arteries function well. In order to control the increasing incidences of cardiovascular diseases, one should adopt regular healthy life style habits. Along with this, the consumption guggulu extract would keep our heart healthy for a longer duration of time.
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