Larch Arabinogalactan

Plant Part Used

Bark extract

Introduction

This versatile extract has grown in popularity due to its reported ability to enhance immune function and fight certain diseases. In addition to its medical applications, the FDA has approved arabinogalactan for use as a food emulsifier, stabilizer and sweetener as well as many other uses.

While the active constituent, arabinogalactan is found in a wide variety of foods including carrots, radishes, pears, corn, wheat, red wine and tomatoes, supplement makers most often derive it from the bark of the larch tree. While there are two sources of the extract—the western larch (Larix occidentalis) and the Mongolian larch (Larix dahurica)—most of the larch extract you’ll find at your supplements retailer is produced from the western larch.

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

400mg, 1-2 capsules 3-4 times a day.

Powder: Mix 1/2-2 tablespoonsful in favorite beverage and take up to 3-4 times a day.

Adjust dosage for children based on body weight.

Dosage should be taken for 7-10 days for acute problems. For chronic problems with immunity, take on a 3 weeks on, 1 week off schedule.

Most Common Dosage

400mg, 4 times a day.

Powder: ½ tablespoonful in beverage, 4 times a day.

Adjust dosage for children based on body weight.

Dosage should be taken for 7-10 days for acute problems. For chronic problems with immunity, take on a 3 weeks on, 1 week off schedule.

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to at least 98-percent arabinogalactan.

Reported Uses

Studies have reported that the immune-boosting properties of larch extract can help fight symptoms of the common cold and influenza. (1) Researchers suggest that this is probably due to the supplement’s ability to increase the rate at which the body seeks out and destroys viral invaders. (2) , (3)

What’s more, studies indicate that larch extract has promise in the fight against recurrent immune problems like chronic fatigue and viral hepatitis. (4) , (5) , (6) Preliminary studies support the claim that it may have value as a complimentary therapy for children with inner ear infections in children. (7)

Scientists have discovered that the benefits of larch extract may play a supportive role in the treatment of cancer. There is evidence that larch extract can help fight cancers that are triggered by lowered activity of natural killer, or NK, cells. By enhancing the growth of these cells, larch extract may be involved in suppressing cancers that develop when left unchecked by NK cells. A recent study also found that larch extract may be instrumental in preventing the spread of existing cancerous cells to other organs. (8)

In addition to its disease fighting properties, larch extract also serves as an excellent source of fiber, thereby potentially improving colon health. Additionally, it has been shown to increase the growth of healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. This is good news, researchers say, for patients who are suffering from complications associated with the use of prescribed antibiotics. (9)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]

General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines.

Health Conditions

If you have cancer, have had an organ transplant, have a suppressed immune system or any life-threatening or chronic diseases talk to your doctor for advice on taking this dietary supplement.

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

References

  1. View Abstract: Gonda R, et al. Arabinogalactan Core Structure and Immunological Activities of Ukonan C, An Acidic Polysaccharide from the Rhizome of Curcuma longa. Biol Pharm Bull. 1993;16:235-238.
  2. View Abstract: Gonda R, et al. Arabinogalactan Core Structure and Immunological Activities of Ukonan C, An Acidic Polysaccharide from the Rhizome of Curcuma longa. Biol Pharm Bull. 1993;16:235-238.
  3. View Abstract: Egert D, et al. Studies on Antigen Specificity of Immunoreactive Arabinogalactan Proteins Extracted from Baptisia tinctoria and Echinacea purpurea. Planta Med. 1992;58:163-165.
  4. View Abstract: Levine PH, et al. Dysfunction of Natural Killer Activity in a Family With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1998;88:96-104.
  5. View Abstract: Uchida A. Therapy of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Nippon Rinsho. 1992;50:2679-2683.
  6. View Abstract: Corado J, et al. Impairment of Natural Killer (NK) Cytotoxic Activity in Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection. Exp Immunol. 1997;109:451-457.
  7. View Abstract: Kelly G. Larch Arabinogalactan: Clinical Relevance of a Novel Immune-Enhancing Polysaccharide. Altern Med Rev. 1999;4(2):96-103.
  8. View Abstract: Hagmar B, et al. Arabinogalactan Blockade of Experimental Metastases to Liver by Murine Hepatoma. Invasion Metastasis. 1991;11:348-355.
  9. View Abstract: Rolfe RD. The Role of Probiotic Cultures in the Control of Gastrointestinal Health. J Nutr. Feb2000;130(2S Suppl):396S-402S.