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.

Related Terms

AG, alpha-arabinofuranose, AmbrotoseĀ®, 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.

evidence table

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.
High cholesterol (Grade: C)
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.
Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels) (Grade: C)
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.
Immune stimulation (Grade: C)
Early research has identified immune-stimulating activity in arabinogalactan, however, its effect on immunity in healthy volunteers is not clear. More evidence is needed.
Kidney disease (chronic renal failure) (Grade: C)
Although early results of arabinogalactan's effect in patients with chronic kidney failure are promising, more studies are needed.