Larch ArabinogalactanHypericum perforatum
Arabinogalactins, substances found in many plants, are long molecules made of the sugars galactose and arabinose linked together in a chain. Arabinogalactan extracted from the Western larch tree (larch arabinogalactan, or LA) has been proposed as an immune stimulant.
On the basis of these findings, LA has been advocated as a supplement for
In this trial, 48 healthy women were assigned to receive one of four treatments: LA, echinacea, LA plus echinacea, or placebo.
Other extremely preliminary research hints that LA might enhance the effectiveness of drugs used in
There no doubt, however, that LA is a good dietary fiber source. Like less expensive forms of fiber, it appears to have beneficial effects in the colon.
A 6-month study failed to find LA helpful for improving
Based on animal studies and limited evidence in humans, LA appears to be essentially nontoxic. 13<![CDATA]> However, like other sources of dietary fiber, LA might lead to colonic problems like bloating and flatulence.
One additional set of potential risks derives from its supposed benefits: If LA does in fact meaningfully stimulate the immune system, it might be dangerous. The immune system is balanced on a knife's edge. An immune system that is too relaxed fails to defend us from infections; an immune system that is too active attacks healthy tissues, causing autoimmune diseases. If LA truly boosts immunity, it might cause or worsen such conditions as
Maximum safe doses in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking an immunosuppressant drug such as
1. Currier NL, Lejtenyi D, Miller SC. Effect over time of in-vivo administration of the polysaccharide arabinogalactan on immune and hemopoietic cell lineages in murine spleen and bone marrow. Phytomedicine . 2003;10:145–53.
2. Hauer J, Anderer FA. Mechanism of stimulation of human natural killer cytotoxicity by arabinogalactan from Larix occidentalis . Cancer Immunol Immunother . 1993;36:237–244.
3. Kelly GS. Larch arabinogalactan: clinical relevance of a novel immune-enhancing polysaccharide. Altern Med Rev . 1999;4:96–103.
4. Odonmazig P, Ebringerova A, Machova E, et al. Structural and molecular properties of the arabinogalactan isolated from Mongolian larchwood ( Larix dahurica L.). Carbohydr Res . 1994;252:317–324.
5. Larch arabinogalactan—monograph. Altern Med Rev . 2000;5:463–466.
6. Kim LS, Waters RF, Burkholder PM. Immunological activity of larch arabinogalactan and Echinacea : a preliminary, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Altern Med Rev . 2002;7:138–49.
7. Beuth J, Ko HL, Oette K, et al. Inhibition of liver metastasis in mice by blocking hepatocyte lectins with arabinogalactan infusions and D-galactose. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 1987;113:51–55.
8. Beuth J, Ko HL, Schirrmacher V, et al. Inhibition of liver tumor cell colonization in two animal tumor models by lectin blocking with D-galactose or arabinogalactan. Clin Exp Metastasis . 1988;6:115–120.
9. Uhlenbruck G, Beuth J, Oette K, et al. Prevention of experimental liver metastases by arabinogalactan. Naturwissenschaften . 1986:73:626–627.
10. Hagmar B, Ryd W, Skomedal H. Arabinogalactan blockade of experimental metastases to liver by murine hepatoma. Invasion Metastasis . 1991;11:348–55.
11. Robinson RR, Feirtag J, Slavin JL. Effects of dietary arabinogalactan on gastrointestinal and blood parameters in healthy human subjects. J Am Coll Nutr . 2001;20:279–85.
12. Marett R, Slavin JL. No long-term benefits of supplementation with arabinogalactan on serum lipids and glucose. J Am Diet Assoc . 2004;104:636–9.
13. Groman EV, Enriquez PM, Jung C et al. Arabinogalactan for hepatic drug delivery. Bioconjug Chem . 1994;5:547–556.
Last reviewed February 2010 by EBSCO CAM Review Board<![CDATA]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.