PHGG? You are not alone in wondering what on earth that means… Played Havoc Good Game? Please Help Gossip Girl? Pretty Helpful Get Going?
Actually, pretty helpful get going isn’t too bad of a description when you think about it, but that will make more sense in a minute…
PHGG stands for Partially Hydrolysed Guar Gum, which is often shortened to PHGG so it’s not so much of a mouthful. PHGG is a rich source of galactomannan soluble fibre but it is also a great prebiotic fibre. Soluble fibre soaks up water like a sponge, which helps to slow the emptying process in our stomachs, and that can help you feel fuller for longer.
A prebiotic fibre is a type of fibre that isn’t digested (broken down for absorption to enter the bloodstream) and therefore travels through your intestines where it acts as food for your good bacteria, stimulating their growth and activity. The bacteria in the intestines consume the prebiotic fibre via a process called fermentation that results in the production of SCFAs (short chain fatty acids). SCFAs are important because they act as energy/food for the cells of the colon and are beneficial for overall intestinal health.
PHGG is made from the seed of the guar plant. You may know of guar because of a common food additive called guar gum, which is often used as a thickener in foods due to its high viscosity (ability to thicken). PHGG is different because it is essentially “pre-digested”, using hydrolysation, a controlled natural enzymatic process, to break the guar gum down into smaller molecules, which decreases its viscosity and allowing the particles to dissolve more readily, whilst maintaining its high fibre content. PHGG has the benefit of being a low FODMAP fibre as well as all-natural, gluten-free, vegan, tasteless, odourless and easily dissolved in food and beverages.
PHGG has been shown to be a rather unique fibre as it acts as a truly regulating fibre that helps to normalize the digestive system, with studies showing its benefit in returning stools to their healthy state in both diarrhoea and constipation, whilst acting as a prebiotic, maintaining digestive health and microflora balance (Slavin & Greenberg 2003).
In fact, PHGG has been found to have a beneficial role with a range of problems and conditions extending far beyond its role as a simple dietary fibre including:
- Constipation (Kapoor et. al. 2017)
- Diarrhoea (Yasukawa et. al. 2019)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Parisi et. al. 2002)
- Abdominal pain (Polymeros et. al. 2014)
- Bloating (Niv et. al. 2016)
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) (Furnari et. al. 2010)
- Dysbiosis (Yasukawa et. al. 2019, Okubo et. al. 1993)
- Type 2 diabetes & blood sugar levels (Kapoor, Ishihara & Okubo 2016)
- Metabolic syndrome (Dall’Alba et. al. 2013)
- Cholesterol levels (Yamatoya et. al. 1993)
- Infertility (Komiya et. al. 2020)
- Satiety & appetite control (Rao et. al. 2015)
One of the best features of PHGG is the fact that it is a gut friendly prebiotic fibre, as many prebiotics are associated with an increase in bloating and discomfort after consumption. This is because some prebiotics ferment quickly, whereas others are more slowly fermented. Inulin and FOS are examples of fast fermenting fibres, this is why some people have bloating and pain from high doses of these prebiotics. Slower fermenting fibres, such as PHGG, gradually ferment and slowly produce the SCFA’s, resulting in a greater potential for SCFA production as well as a better distribution of the production of gas throughout the large intestine, resulting in fewer unpleasant side effects.
It’s pretty easy to see why PHGG gets a big tick of approval by our naturopaths here at Morlife, and why “pretty helpful get going” isn’t too far off the mark.
References available upon request.