Sunday, December 4, 2011

Larix & Glyconutrients

There was some recent discussion on the Einstein-Syndrome list regarding the use of Glyconutrients. I have posted about Glyconutrients before (see here) and how I feel about their use. Personally, I feel Glyconutrients are not beneficial.

Some people were sharing that instead of using Mannatech/Ambrotose, they just used Larix (also known as Larch Arabinogalactan). I thought I would look into Larix.

First, what is Larix? I found a helpful PDF about Larch Arabinogalactan,

Larch arabinogalactan is a polysaccharide powder derived from the wood of the larch tree
(Larix species) and comprised of approximately 98 percent arabinogalactan.
A polysaccharide is a carbohydrate/sugar, which the body can have a hard time digesting.

Larch is reported to help the immune system, is a good source of fiber, help with cancer and several other health benefits. I have found very little to support this. It is FDA approved as a food additive and as dietary fiber.

The above PDF states,
Human studies on the pharmacokinetics of larch arabinogalactan are few and the amount absorbed following an oral dose remains unclear. Animal studies indicate that intravenous injection of purified larch arabinogalactan results in 52.5 percent of the dose being present in the liver and 30 percent in the urine 90 minutes after dosing.
I was not able to find any of these studies that would show the usefulness or helpfulness of Larch. An article on this site gives a little information regarding some studies,
In one laboratory study, researchers at the University of Minnesota concluded that larch arabinogalactan is a safe source of dietary fiber and may be effective in boosting the immune system. The research was sponsored, however, by the company that owns the patent to the extract. Another laboratory study done in Germany found that arabinogalactan from the Western larch stimulated the action of a type of white blood cell called natural killer cells.

More recently, a brief animal study looked at white blood cells that serve important immune functions. The researchers found that arabinogalactan actually seemed to suppress production of some of these white blood cells, seeming to contradict the results of the earlier study. With daily injections of arabinogalactan, the mice had fewer white blood cells in the bone marrow after a week. Levels of natural killer cells (a type of white blood cell) went back to normal after 2 weeks of injections. Immune cells in the spleen were mostly present in normal numbers, although the levels of some types of immune cells were lower in the spleen even when they were normal in the bone marrow. Further studies are necessary to determine whether arabinogalactan helps human immune function.

A 2004 human study compared larch arabinogalactan with rice starch to determine whether it improved cholesterol, triglycerides, and sugar levels. At the end of 6 months, there were no differences between the group that received rice starch and the group that received arabinogalactan.

Little scientific information is available on the effects of larch resin mixtures on human skin. It may have antiseptic, or germ-killing, properties.

Overall, I did not read anything that would encourage me to use Larch. There are a lot of other nutritional supplements which are proven to work well in boosting the immune system and they are not a sugar and carbohydrate. That's my biggest beef with using the Glyconutrients. Why supplement with something that has the potential to be pro-oxidant?

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