Guggulipid doesn’t lower cholesterol, despite the hype. In fact, it might make your bad cholesterol levels worse.
Guggulipid doesn’t lower cholesterol, despite the hype. In fact, it might make your bad cholesterol levels worse. A report, published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association, shows results of a study of this ancient remedy. Guggulipid is derived from guggul, the resin of the mukul myrrh tree. Medicinal use of guggul dates back to 600 BC when it was used in Asia for obesity, atherosclerosis, and various inflammatory conditions, writes researcher Philippe O. Szapary, MD, an epidemiologist with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Recent studies show that bioactive compounds found in guggul can boost cholesterol metabolism, theoretically lowering high cholesterol. However, there are no published studies conducted in the U.S. looking at the safety and effectiveness of guggul extracts. In this study, 103 men and women — all with high cholesterol — were separated into three groups. One group took three, 1,000 mg doses of guggulipid daily — a standard dose; the second group got a 2,000 mg dose of guggulipid — a high dose, and the third group got placebo pills. After eight weeks, researchers tested the volunteers’ blood for LDL “bad” cholesterol, HDL “good” cholesterol, and total cholesterol. Those taking the placebo had 5% lower LDL cholesterol, whereas the guggulipid group had higher LDL levels. Those taking the standard dose had 4% higher LDL levels, and the high-dose group had 5% higher LDLs. Total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides didn’t budge either way, reports Szapary. Guggulipid does not improve high cholesterol over the short term, he writes. (Source: The Journal of the American Medical Association, Aug. 13, 2003: WebMD Health)