Gum Arabic review and medical uses
October 1 2015

May be of benefit in liver health, kidney disease and loss of body weight.

Liver health, protection
Pathophysiology. 2015. Gum Arabic extracts protect against hepatic oxidative stress in alloxan induced diabetes in rats. Gum Arabic (GA) from Acacia seyal and Acacia senegal is a branched-chain polysaccharide which has strong antioxidant properties, and has been used to reduce the experimental toxicity. Yet, the effects of GA on oxidative stress in type I diabetic rats have not been reported. The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of GA on oxidative stress in Alloxan induced diabetes in rats. The rats were divided into 3 groups (n=20 of each): control group, diabetic group injected with allaoxan, and diabetic group given 15% GA in drinking water for 8 weeks. Oxidative damage to liver tissue was evaluated by measurement of key hepatic enzymes, lipid peroxidation, antioxidant enzymes and expression of oxidative stress genes. Activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) were significantly (P<0.05) increased in GA group compared to diabetic and control groups. Treatment of GA decreased liver malondialdehyde (MDA), and increased glutathione (GSH). In addition, GA was significantly (P<0.05) reduced the activities of key liver enzymes, including alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST). SOD, GPx and heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) mRNA were significantly increased in GA group compared to control and diabetic groups. Liver of all diabetic rats showed marked degeneration whereas slight degeneration was observed in GA treated rats compared to control. The results suggest that GA may protect liver by modulating the expression of oxidative stress genes, and thus can improve antioxidant status.

Kidney health
Exp Biol Med 2010.
Effects of Gum Arabic in rats with adenine-induced chronic renal failure. Department of Pharmacology, Sultan Qaboos University, Al-Khod, Sultanate of Oman.
Gum Arabic [Acacia senegal] is reputed, in Arabian medicinal practices, to be useful in treating patients with chronic renal failure (CRF), albeit without strong scientific evidence. We used an animal model of human CRF (feeding adenine) for four weeks) to test the effect of GA on CRF. Adenine feeding resulted in marked renal damage. GA (6%(w/v) and 12%(w/v) in drinking water for four consecutive weeks) significantly ameliorated the adverse biochemical alterations indicative of renal failure, abated the decrease in body weight and reduced the glomerular, tubular and interstitial lesions induced by adenine. The mechanism(s) of this nephroprotection is uncertain but may involve anti-oxidant and/or anti-inflammatory actions.

Nat Prod Res. 2008.
The effects of gum arabic oral treatment on the metabolic profile of chronic renal failure patients under regular haemodialysis in Central Sudan. Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, University of Gezira, Wad Medani, Sudan.
This study aimed at assessing the effect of Acacia senegal oral treatment on the metabolic profile of chronic renal failure (CRF) patients. A total of 36 CRF patients (under regular haemodialysis) and 10 normal subjects participated in this study. The patients were randomly allocated into three groups-group A: 12 CRF patients under low-protein diet (LPD) (<40 g day) and gum arabic (50 g day) treatment; group B: 14 CRF patients under LPD and gum arabic, iron (ferrous sulphate, 200 mg day) and folic acid (5 mg day) treatment; group C (control group): 10 CRF patients under LPD and iron and folic acid treatment and group D: 10 normal volunteers (on normal diet) under daily dose of 50 g gum arabic. Each of the above treatments was continued for three consecutive months. From this study, we conclude that oral administration of gum arabic could conceivably alleviate adverse effects of CRF.

Obesity
Nutr J. 2012. Effects of Gum Arabic ingestion on body mass index and body fat percentage in healthy adult females: two-arm randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind trial. Acacia Senegal is a complex polysaccharide indigestible to both humans and animals. It has been considered as a safe dietary fiber by the United States, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since the 1970s. Although its effects were extensively studied in animals, there is paucity of data regarding its quantified use in humans. This study was conducted to determine effects of regular Gum Arabic (GA) ingestion on body mass index and body fat percentage among healthy adult females. A two-arm randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind trial was conducted in the Department of Physiology at the Khartoum University. A total of 120 healthy females completed the study. They were divided to two groups: A test group of 60 volunteers receiving GA (30 gm /day) for 6 weeks and a placebo group of 60 volunteers receiving pectin (1 gm/day) for the same period of time. Weight and height were measured before and after intervention using standardized height and weight scales. Skin fold thickness was measured using Harpenden Skin fold caliper. Fat percentage was calculated using Jackson and Pollock 7 caliper method and Siri equation. Pre and post analysis among the study group showed significant reduction in BMI by 0.32 and body fat percentage by 2.18% following regular intake of 30 gm /day Gum Arabic for six weeks. Side effects caused by GA ingestion were experienced only in the first week. They included unfavorable viscous sensation in the mouth, early morning nausea, mild diarrhea and bloating abdomen. A ingestion causes significant reduction in BMI and body fat percentage among healthy adult females. The effect could be exploited in the treatment of obesity.