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Arabinogalactan

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • AG, AG (37kDa), AG (9kDa), AGIIb-1, alpha-arabinofuranose, Ambrotose®, amphotericin B-arabinogalactan conjugates, Andrographis paniculata, Ara-6, arabinans, arabinogalactan protein, arabinogalactan type I pectin, arabinogalactan type II, arabinose, BCG cell wall skeleton, 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, Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin, Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin cell wall skeleton, Mycobacterium bovis BCG, Mycobacterium leprae, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium vaccae, neutral arabinogalactan, Nocardia, pectic arabinogalactan, pectic arabinogalactan Vk2a (previously reported as Vk100A2a), Pinaceae (family), pollen of mugwort, polysaccharide, ragweed pollen, rhamnose, roots of wild indigo [Baptisia tinctoria (L.) R. Br.], rhamno-arabinogalactans II and III, roots of Vernonia kotschyana Sch. Bip. ex Walp., roots from Vernonia kotschyana Sch. Bip. ex Walp. (Baccharoides adoensis var. kotschyana (Sch. Bip. ex Walp.)), roots of wild indigo [Baptisia tinctoria (L.) R. Br.], Silene vulgaris, soluble fiber, stractan, sulfated arabinogalactan, tamarack, Trichilia emetica, ukonan C, Vernonia kotschyana Sch. Bip. ex Walp., Viscum album L. berries, Vk100A2a, Vk2a, western larch, western tamarack, wood gum, wood sugar, xylose.
  • Combination product examples: Ambrotose® (arabinogalactan, manapol aloe vera extract, gum ghatti, gum tragacanth) and Pure Encapsulations® Arabinogalactan (arabinogalactan, vitamin C).
  • Note: Arabinogalactan is found in multiple species of plants and is thought to be the primary active constituent in the larch tree (Larix spp.). This monograph includes studies on arabinogalactan isolated from other species of plants as well.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Arabinogalactans are polysaccharides with a galactan core and side chains of galactose and arabinose sugars. For dietary consumption, arabinogalactan is isolated 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). Larch arabinogalactan is approximately 98% arabinogalactan (1).
  • As a dietary supplement, larch arabinogalactan is used for its potential immunostimulating, anti-cancer, and prebiotic properties. Despite positive in vitro results, clinical trials in humans do not support immunostimulating effects of larch arabinogalactan (2). Prebiotic functions of arabinogalactan are supported by studies suggesting that bacteria that are able to grow on arabinogalactan have been isolated from human feces and in vitro; strains of Bifidobacterium longum were able to ferment arabinogalactan (3;4).
  • In the future, arabinogalactan may be used as a drug conjugate. Clinical trials suggest that conjugation with arabinogalactan may increase the efficacy of some prescription medications such as amphotericin B (5;6).
  • Arabinogalactans are found in the cells walls of plants as well as Mycobacteria, members of which cause tuberculosis and leprosy (7;8;9;10). Also, arabinogalactans are found in allergenic pollens from mugwort and ragweed (11). However, arabinogalactans between species, and even within the same plant, are not structurally identical and bind to other compounds in the cell wall, such as proteins (12). Thus, although these arabinogalactans are also discussed in this monograph, there is no evidence to suggest that dietary arabinogalactan as isolated from larch or other plant species would have similar effects.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

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.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

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 www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.