What is Larch Arabinogalactans Powder?
Larch powder is 100% larch arabinogalactans, from Larix occidentalis, the western larch tree. This mild tasting, highly soluble powder is high in non-starch polysaccharides. It has a mild, slighlty sweet taste and mixes easily with water or juice, making it an ideal prebiotic supplement for both adults and children.
Prebiotic – Fuel for Gut Bacteria
“Prebiotics” provide food for “probiotics”. Larch arabinogalactans is an excellent source of prebiotic fibre. It is fermented in the large intestine, thus aiding in maintaining a healthy microbial balance to support gut health. Adequate commensal bacteria helps crowd out unfavourable species and supports the “good” bacteria. Larch powder also has a role in enhancing immune function, also seen when taken together with probiotics.
The action of Larch powder on gut bacteria results in increased short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production. SCFA are produced in the colon by the fermentation of fibre, including larch powder’s arabinogalactans. Adequate butyrate, acetate, and propionate are key to a healthy colonic environment. Butyrate (aka butyric acid) is the primary fuel for the cells of the large intestine and also protects the intestinal mucosa against disease and cancer-promoting agents .
The SCFA produced also provide a powerful support for a strong immune response, by regulating the production of cytokines (inflammatory chemicals) from leukocytes (white blood cells). Research has demonstrated larch powder’s usefulness in preventing and shortening the duration of upper respriatory viral infections (one study reported a 23% decrease in the incidence of common cold). It may also aid the immune response following vaccination, particularly to those vaccines that use a B-cell response, but not those that depend on a T-cell driven response.
A number of chronic diseases are characterised by decreased activity of cells called natural-killer (NK) cells. These include chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), viral hepatitis, & autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS).
Stimulation of NK cell activity by larch arabinogalactans has been associated with recovery in some cases of CFS [xix]. People with hepatitis B and C may benefit from NK cell stimulation by L.A..
Larch arabinogalactans Chemistry
Our larch arabinogalactan is a fine, dry, almost-white powder. It has a slightly sweet taste and very faint pine-like odour. It dissolves completely in water or juice, is low in viscosity and therefore easy to administer, even to children.
It a 6:1 ratio of galactose and arabinose molecules, with a small amount of glucuronic acid. Arabinogalactans are long, densely branched polysaccharides of varying molecular weights (10,000-120,000). Lower molecular weight polysaccharides typically exhibit an anti-inflammatory, anti-complement, anti-allergy effect, while those of higher weights stimulate natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity and reticuloendothelial cells. In the case of larch arabinogalactan, molecular weights of the two major fractions are 16,000 and 100,000, perhaps accounting for its wide range of therapeutic properties [Source].
Larch powder has been shown to support immune function, enhance SCFA levels, and acts as a prebiotic for gut bacteria particularly Bifidobacteria, It may be of potential benefit in those with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), hepatitis, and auto-immune conditions, as well as in middle ear infections (otitis media) in children.
Adults: Take 1/4 tsp daily. Slowly build up to a maximum of 1 tblsp twice daily
Children 2 years and above. Take 1/4 tsp daily. Up to 3 tsp daily as directed.
Can be taken mixed with water or juice, or mixed with food.
Possible Side Effects
Larch arabinogalactan powder has a long history of use, and appears to be safe. Studies suggest up to 4.5 g a day is safe in adults. However, it may cause mild gastrointestinal side effects in up to 3% of people, including:
- With overuse, diarrhoea
We recommend starting on a low dose and building up slowly.
- If you’re allergic to larch or pine trees, you may also be allergic to larch arabinogalactan. This is uncommon, though.
Not to be used in children under 2 years of age without guidance from your Health Care Practitioner
If symptoms persist, consult your healthcare professional.
Keep cool and dry
Keep all therapeutic substances out of the reach of children