Guggulipid, or Mukul myrrh, originates from Northern India and utilizes the gum resin extract
Guggulipid extracts, which have been part of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, may help your patients get their cholesterol levels under control, while avoiding the unpleasant side effects of statin medications.
According to the American Heart Association, 95 million American adults, ages 20 and older, had total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL in 2017, while almost 29 million adults had levels higher than 240 mg/dL.1
If we look just at high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – or “good” – cholesterol levels, a data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics found that more than 18 % of adults had HDL levels that were less than 40 mg/dL in 2015-2016.2 These statistics are particularly grim when you consider that high cholesterol can significantly raise the risk for heart disease, which is the leading cause for death among Americans.
Standard pharmacological treatment for high cholesterol often includes statins. However, these can often come with unpleasant side effects, including:
- flushed skin
- muscle ache, tenderness, or weakness
- nausea or vomiting
- abdominal cramping or pain
Because of these side effects, you should not be surprised to see more of your patients wanting information on vitamins and supplements to help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad.” cholesterol levels and raise HDLs.
What is guggulipid?
Guggulipid is a resulting gum resin from the bark of the guggul tree (Commiphora wightii), which is grown throughout India.
It is perhaps one of the oldest Ayurvedic medicines, with records dating as far back as 2000 BC.3 It was thought to treat a wide range of conditions, including obesity, tumors, ulcers, liver and urinary issues, and edema.
How does guggulipid help lower cholesterol?
The active ingredients within guggulipid resin are the stereoisomers, guggulsterone E and Z, which are thought to help combat high cholesterol levels in three ways.3 First, guggulsterones may interfere with lipoprotein formation by inhibiting cholesterol biosynthesis. Second, guggulsterones may increase LDL uptake. Finally they may increase excretion of cholesterol in fecal waste.3
What does the research say?
A 2009 article in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine examined the effect of guggulipid supplements on a group of 43 women and men with moderately elevated cholesterol levels.4
The patients were randomized to receive either placebo or 2160 mg of a guggulipid supplement four times a day for 12 weeks. At the end of the study period, the mean levels of total cholesterol and HDL for those patients taking guggulipid supplements reduced significantly compared to those taking placebo.4 Although LDL and triglyceride levels did not significantly reduce for patients taking guggulipid supplements, the researchers felt that more research could potentially produce similar results as for total cholesterol and HDL levels.4
Patients with high cholesterol levels likely have a number of other related, chronic health issues, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Guggulipid supplements may provide these patients a viable alternative to statins to keep their cholesterol levels under control.
- Benjamin EJ, Blaha MJ, Chiuve SE, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics – 2017 update: A report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2017;135:e146-e603.
- Carroll M, Fryar C, Nguyen D. HDL, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey: Total and High-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Adults: United States, 2015–2016. NCHS Data Brief, No. 290. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
- Shishodia S, Harikumar KB, Dass S, et al. The guggul for chronic diseases: Ancient medicine, modern targets. Anticancer Research. 2008;28(6A)3647-3664.
- Nohr LA, Rasmussen LB, Straand J. Resin from the mukul myrrh tree, guggul, can it be used for treating hypercholesterolemia? A randomized, controlled study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2009 Jan;17(1):16-22.