Gum arabic, also known as acacia gum, is a natural gum made of the hardened sap of various species of the acacia tree. Originally, gum arabic was collected from Acacia nilotica which was called the “Gum arabic tree”; in the present day, gum arabic is predominantly collected from two related species, namely Acacia senegal and Vachellia (Acacia) seyal. Producers harvest the gum commercially from wild trees, mostly in Sudan (80%) and throughout the Sahel, from Senegal to Somalia—though it is historically cultivated in Arabia and West Asia.
Gum arabic is a complex mixture of glycoproteins and polysaccharides. It is the original source of the sugars arabinose and ribose, both of which were first discovered and isolated from it, and are named after it.
Gum arabic is used primarily in the food industry as a stabilizer. It is edible and has E number E414. Gum arabic is a key ingredient in traditional lithography and is used in printing, paint production, glue, cosmetics and various industrial applications, including viscosity control in inks and in textile industries, though less expensive materials compete with it for many of these roles.
While gum arabic is now produced throughout the African Sahel, it is still harvested and used in the Middle East. For example, Arab populations use the natural gum to make a chilled, sweetened, and flavored gelato-like dessert.
Benefits of Arabic Gum could use for many part of body. Arabic gum as soluble fiber may contributes benefits to human health. Below are the list of benefits that you can get from Arabic gum :
1. Promotes good digestion
The first health Benefits of Arabic Gum is for promotes good digestion. Arabic gum contains high amount of soluble fiber which can help digestion tract function and ease the bowel movement. A study also reported that the fiber in Arabic gum can increase intestinal absorption.
2. Alleviate constipation
Constipation is a condition which cause by unhealthy bowel movement. As mentioned before that Arabic gum promotes good digestion, it may also help to alleviate constipation by improving bowel movement.
Fiber contained in Arabic gum is consider as pro biotic. It is a substance which can promotes the growth of good bacteria or normal flora inside the gut. The good bacteria or normal flora will later fight and suppress the growth of pathogen bacteria. This may help immune system to work better.
4. Control blood sugar
Studies reported that fiber has important role in the management of blood glucose. As part of food, fiber is not digested and it doesn’t require insulin to break it down. This may explain why eating a lot of fiber will not increase your blood sugar level.
5. Lowering cholesterol lever
Fiber in Arabic gum is effective in lowering cholesterol level. The soluble fiber will attach and bind the cholesterol so it wont be absorbed by intestine. Later the cholesterol will be brought out of the body through excretion system.
6. Get rid of sore throat
Arabic gum is one ingredients which is present in cough syrup and lozenges. Arabic gum contains component which can relieve irritation especially in the mucosa layer of respiration tract especially in mouth and throat.
7. Keep healthy teeth
Have you heard that chewing gum can help you to maintain healthy teeth? Yes, it is not a hoax. Arabic gum contains some amount of anti-bacteria which can prevent the growth of bacteria in mouth that may cause gum bleeding and tooth decay.
8. Help in weight loss
Fiber is popular in weight loss management. It can make you feel full for longer time and prevent you to eat more by adding bulk to your stomach. Fiber also blocking fat absorption and it is a good news that Arabic gum provide this benefits.
9. Fight oxidative stress
Study reported that Arabic gum contains antioxidant which can help to fight free radicals. Those free radicals is the main cause of oxidative strees which lead to damage of cells and organ even further can cause cancer.
10. Improve kidney function
Arabic gum is also used in medication purpose such as renal therapy. Study by Al Mosawi in 2004 show that dietary supplementation of fiber in Arabic gum may reduce the need of dialysis in children who suffer End Stage Renal Disease ( ESRD )
11. Protect liver
Fiber contained in Arabic gum has hepatoprotection effect that may help protect liver by prevent lipid or fat cell attach to the liver. Study also reported that Arabic gum is considered used in treatment of chronic liver disease since it can improve the function of kupfer cells and help liver to detoxify body.
12. Cure diarrhea
According to a study, Arabic gum may has potential effect to inhibit the growth of S. Aureus bacteria which known as the cause of diarrhea.
Having Arabic gum as supplement is still uncommon and there is no suggestion to take arabic gum as food supplementation. The excessive usage of Arabic gum may cause several health problem. Sander et al found that Arabic gum may cause allergy and trigger the reaction such as shortness of breath, runny nose, itchy skin, red eye and other allergic reaction. This is based on the experience of pharmaceutical industry worker who was exposed to dust of Arabic gum in the factory.