Guar Gum Allergy Test
Latin name: Cyamopsis tetragonolobus
Family: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)
Common names: Guar, Guar gum
Synonyms: C. tetragonoloba, C. psoraloides
Guar gum is a food additive, which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Guar Gum Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Guar gum is cultivated in regions of Africa, Arabia, India, Pakistan, the USA, and northern Australia. It is derived from the ground seeds of the guar tree, and is used mainly as a thickener and stabiliser in commercial food processing.
Guar gum, available as a yellowish-white powder, has 5-8 times the thickening power of starch, and the unique ability among gums to hydrate rapidly in cold water. It is insoluble in oils, grease, hydrocarbons, ketones, and esters.
The gum is used as an emulsifier, a firming agent, a formulation aid, a stabiliser, and a thickener. It is used in baked goods and baking mixes, cereals, beverages, cheeses and other milk products, dairy product analogues, fats, oils, gravies, jams, jellies, sauces, soup mixes and soups, syrups, toppings, vegetable juices, processed vegetables and deep-frozen foods.
The gum functions synergistically with xanthan gum to increase the viscosity of a product.
Guar gum is also common in fat-reduced or fatless spreads.
Guar gum increases viscosity in the gut, which causes a slower absorption rate of carbohydrates and stimulates bile production. This initiates cholesterol reduction and increases intestinal tract motility. It can also function as a slimming aid, since it swells in the stomach and gives a feeling of satiety.
Guar Gum Allergy Test: Allergen Description
No allergens from this plant have yet been fully characterised. Guar gum, along with carob bean flour are both derived from Leguminosae plants. The molecular structures of carob bean and guar gum are very similar.
Guar Gum Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
An extensive cross-reactivity among the different individual species of the genus could be expected but in fact is not seen frequently. Cross-allergenicity was demonstrated to be most marked among the extracts of peanut, garden pea, chick pea, and soybean. However, clinical studies have found that there is little cross-reactivity among members of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae).
Guar Gum Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Guar gum is a high-molecular-weight agent that can cause occupational rhinitis and asthma and may uncommonly induce symptoms of food allergy in sensitised individuals. Food-induced anaphylaxis has been reported.
There are many unexpected exposures, especially in the manufacturing industry.
Workers in textile, cosmetics, and fireworks manufacturing, the food and pharmaceutical industries, hairdressing, printing, and mining are at risk for occupational allergy.
Reversible obstructive sleep apnoea as a result of occupational exposure to Guar gum powder in a pet food plant employee has been reported. Severe cough, rhinitis, and conjunctivitis were also experienced.
Baker’s asthma as a result of exposure to Guar gum has also been reported.
Excess intake of Guar gum may result in nausea, flatulence, abdominal cramps, and diarrhoea. Guar gum readily absorbs water and swells, and should thus not be ingested as a dry powder.
Guar gum is used as a thickener in foods and infant foods. Ingestion can cause a significant reduction in the absorption and bioavailability of calcium, iron, and zinc.
There is a limit on the use of Guar gum in slimming capsules, since it could cause oesophageal obstruction as a result of swelling up in the oesophagus rather than the stomach, causing choking or even rupture of the oesophagus.