Western Larch, also known as Mountain Larch or Western Tamarack, is an evergreen tree that loses its needles in the fall. It is native to the northwestern United States and British Columbia, Canada.
Larch arabinogalactan is a polysaccharide powder made of larch tree wood (Larix species), which is especially abundant in Larix occidentalis (Western Larch). The FDA has approved larch arabinogalactan as a dietary fiber. It has the benefits of immune stimulation and cancer treatment fighting properties.
Arabinogalactans have molecular weights (M.W.’s) from 10,000 to 120,000. The lower M.W. fractions are anti-inflammatory, anti-complement and anti-allergenic. The high M.W. fractions increase natural killer (NK) cell counts. Larch has both high and low M.W. fractions and is, therefore, anti-inflammatory and stimulates NK cells.
The larch arabinogalactans that are not absorbed into the blood ferment in the intestinal tract and benefit the growth of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus friendly bacteria. Bifidobacterium longum is especially benefited by larch fiber. By increasing the fermentation of the intestinal bacteria increased amounts of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, are produced. Butyrate helps protect the colon from cancer and is beneficial to colon health as the preferred source of energy for the epithelial cells which line the colon cavity.
Larch arabinogalactans decrease ammonia production in the body and this could be useful in patients in whom blood ammonia builds up because of liver failure. Larch fiber reduces the amount of metastases to the liver, most likely by blocking the lectin-like receptor sites, which are common in the liver tissue.
Larix arabinogalactans given to children reduce the frequency and severity of otitis media (middle ear infection). Larch fiber works as an antibacterial, especially against Klebsiella species and Escherichia coli.
A number of chronic diseases are found to be associated with reduced NK cells. Some of these diseases are chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and autoimmune disease. Some previous studies show the benefit that results from increased NK cells in these chronic diseases.
There are few side effects of Larch arabinogalactans, such as bloating or gas in some patients. The usual dose is 4-5 grams one to three times per day in juice or water and children take about 1/3 of the adult dose.
CONCLUSION: The arabinogalactans found in Larix wood fiber are beneficial in reducing inflammation and increasing natural killer cells. They support healthy bacteria in the bowel and reduce otitis media infections.
NOTE: Arabinogalactans exist widely in the plant world and other good sources, besides Larix, include Baptisia (Wild Indigo), Echinacea pallida, Acacia (gum resin), Chlorella pyrenoidosa and sage (Salvia officinalis). Read about echinacea arabinogalactans and natural killer cells.
HCC frequency is known to increase following hepatitis. This has been increased due to the spread world-wide of hepatitis. Marion Peters, M.D., in a lecture at the University of California in San Francisco, 08 Mar., 2007, stated that HCC is “a vaccine preventable disease.”