The most common method of dieting is to reduce caloric intake. However, as this will ultimately result in a reduction in metabolic rate. The most likely explanation for the reduction in metabolic rate is a reduction in thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), the thyroid hormones. These hormones are responsible for maintaining the metabolic rate.
Guggulsterone (or Gugglesterone) is reported to be the active ingredient of Guggulu, a resin product isolated from Commiphora mukul, a plant native to India. Many studies have reported that guggulsterone has hypocholesterolemic activity. However, gugglesterone may also increase thyroid hormone levels.
Guggulsterone: Animal Studies
A study investigating the potential thyroid-stimulating effects of gugglesterone administered gugglesterone (10 mg/kg body weight/day) or a placebo to carbimazole-treated rats. Carbimazole is a hypothyroid agent. Administration of gugglesterone for 6 days restored thyroid function and resulted in a significant elevation in both T3 and T4.
Guggulsterone: Human Studies
Studies investigating the effects of guggulsterone in humans have focused on its hypolipidemic properties. No specific studies have investigated its thyroid-stimulating potential in humans. However, that does not mean that the supplement is worthless. Hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia are common in overweight individuals. Therefore, gugglesterone may provide some benefit to overweight individuals who have high levels of serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
The administration of gugglesterone for 4-24 weeks at a dose of 75 mg-1 g per day has been effective in lowering serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels by 18_30% Furthermore, LDL and HDL have also been affected by gugglesterone supplementation, with a typical drop of approximately 12-19% in LDL and an increase of about 20% in HDL.
The exact mechanism of action is not known, but animal studies suggest that gugglesterone increases LDL binding sites within the liver membrane, resulting in a significant uptake of LDL by the liver. Therefore, serum cholesterol appears to be reduced by increasing the rate of lipoprotein catabolism.
Guggulsterone: Safety and Toxicity
Of the studies investigating the effect of gugglesterone as a hypolipidemic agent, just one study has included additional tests to determine its safety. The authors reported that gugglesterone administration was completely safe and devoid of any effect on liver, kidney, or cardiovascular function. However, caution should be given to individuals who are taking prescription medications for hyperlipidemia who intend on taking gugglesterone.
Research suggests that gugglesterone may lead to a diminished effectiveness and even nonresponsiveness of certain prescription drugs, such as propranolol or diltiazem. Gugglesterone administration may alter the absorption of these drugs by nearly 35%. As with any drug or even any dietary supplement, if you are taking prescription medications, you should be monitored by your physician.