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Arabinogalactan

Last Updated on May 19, 2021 by MyFormulary

Alternate Title

  • Larix

Related Terms

  • AG, alpha-arabinofuranose, Ambrotose®, amphotericin B-arabinogalactan conjugates, Andrographis paniculata, arabinans, arabinogalactan protein, arabinogalactan pectin, arabinose, BCG-CWS, Biophytum petersianum Klotzsch, Biophytum sensitivum (L.) DC, Codium dwarkense, Codium tomentosum, D-arabino-D-galactan, D-galactopyranose, D-galactose, D-glucose, D-rhamnose, Echinacea purpurea, Euonymus sieboldiana seeds, fiber, galactan, galactosamine, galactose, galacturonic acid, GalN, glucuronic acid, Juniperus scopolorum cones, Kaki fruits, L-arabinofuranose, L-arabinose, larch, larch arabinogalactan, larch gum, larch tree, Larix, Larix decidua, Larix kaempferi, Larix laricina, Larix occidentalis, Lch, Mongolian larch, Mongolian larchwood, mountain larch, mugwort pollen, Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium bovis BCG, Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin, Mycobacterium leprae, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium vaccae, neutral arabinogalactan, Nocardia, pectic arabinogalactan, Pinaceae (family), polysaccharide, ragweed pollen, rhamno-arabinogalactans, rhamnose, Silene vulgaris, soluble fiber, stractan, sulfated arabinogalactan, tamarack, Trichilia emetica, ukonan C, Vk2a, Vk100A2a, Vernonia kotschyana, Viscum album, western larch, western tamarack, wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria), wood gum, wood sugar, xylose.
  • Note: Arabinogalactan is found in many species of plants and is thought to be the primary active compound in the larch tree (Larix spp.). This monograph includes studies on arabinogalactan isolated from other species of plants as well.

Background

  • Arabinogalactans belong to a group of carbohydrates called polysaccharides. When consumed in the diet, arabinogalactan comes from the wood of the larch tree (Larix species) and is approved for use as a dietary fiber by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • As a dietary supplement, larch arabinogalactan is used to stimulate the immune system, to fight cancer, and as a prebiotic (a substance used to improve bacteria in the colon). Early study suggests that arabinogalactan may help grow beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. However, human study has not found that the larch arabinogalactan stimulates the immune system.
  • Future uses of arabinogalactan may include simultaneous use with certain drugs, because arabinogalactan may improve drug effectiveness when used together.
  • Arabinogalactans are found in the cell walls of plants and bacteria and in pollen from mugwort and ragweed that causes allergies. Although these arabinogalactans are also discussed in this monograph, there is no evidence to suggest that dietary arabinogalactans from larch or other plant species have similar effects.

Evidence Table

    Disclaimer

    These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

    C High cholesterol

    It is unclear what effect arabinogalatan has on blood cholesterol levels, including triglycerides, in patients with high cholesterol. Limited early study did not show an effect of arabinogalactan in patients with normal cholesterol levels. More studies are needed.

    C Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels)

    Arabinogalactan’s effects on blood sugar and insulin levels have been studied. In people without diabetes, it has not been shown to affect these levels. Additional research is needed.

    C Immune stimulation

    Early research has identified immune-stimulating activity in arabinogalactan, however, its effect on immunity in healthy volunteers is not clear. More evidence is needed.

    C Kidney disease (chronic renal failure)

    Although early results of arabinogalactan’s effect in patients with chronic kidney failure are promising, more studies are needed.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

    Disclaimer

    The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

Dosing

    Disclaimer

    The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

  • Adults (18 years and older)

    • There is no proven safe or effective dose for arabinogalactan. 8.4 to 50 grams arabinogalactan has been used daily for up to six months. Up to 1,500 milligrams of larch arabinoglactan has been used.
  • Children (under 18 years old)

    • There is no proven safe or effective dose for arabinogalactan, and use in children is not recommended.

Safety

    Disclaimer

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

  • Allergies

    • Avoid with allergy or hypersensitivity to arabinogalactan or larch.
  • Side Effects and Warnings

    • Arabinogalactan may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or low blood sugar and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
    • Arabinogalactan may cause bloating and abdominal discomfort in people with digestive disorders. Use with caution in people who consume a high-fiber diet or a low-galactose diet.
    • Arabinogalactan may have an effect on immune function and should be used with caution in people with immune disorders.
    • Occupational exposure to larch dust may cause chronic lung, eye, and skin irritation.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

    • Arabinogalactan is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

    Disclaimer

    Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

  • Interactions with Drugs

    • Arabinogalactan may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using drugs that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or injection should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
    • Arabinogalactan may have an additive effect when taken with immune modulating, anti-cancer, cholesterol-lowering, anti-gout, anti-fungal, and antibiotic drugs, as well as drugs that are eliminated by the kidney. Arabinogalactan may also interact with amphotericin B, nucleotide analogs, and antituberculosis drugs.
  • Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

    • Arabinogalactan may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
    • Arabinogalactan may have an additive effect when taken with immune modulating, anti-cancer, cholesterol-lowering, anti-gout, anti-fungal, antibiotic, antituberculosis, and antioxidant herbs and supplements, as well as herbs and supplements that are eliminated by the kidney. Arabinogalactan may also interact with echinacea, mugwort, ragweed, prebiotics, and probiotics.

Attribution

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().

Bibliography

    Disclaimer

    Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.

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  • Shanmugam M, Mody KH, Siddhanta,AK. Blood anticoagulant sulphated polysaccharides of the marine green algae Codium dwarkense (Boergs.) and C. tomentosum (Huds.) Stackh. Indian J Exp Biol 2001;39(4):365-370.
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  • Roxas M, Jurenka J. Colds and influenza: a review of diagnosis and conventional, botanical, and nutritional considerations. Altern Med Rev 2007;12(1):25-48.
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