Acacia is a gum that comes from the acacia tree, a type of tree found in the tropics and subtropics. Acacia, also known as gum arabic, comes from the dried sap of the tree. Gum arabic has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years and is used in nutraceuticals for a variety of purposes.
Gum arabic is high in fiber content, which benefits digestion. It's also prebiotic, meaning it provides a food source for probiotics. (1) The combination of the two can greatly improve your gut health.
Potential Health Benefits of Acacia (Gum Arabic)
Acacia is becoming a popular ingredient in fiber supplements, as it's a great source of prebiotic fiber. There are quite a few health benefits of acacia that can potentially improve your digestive and overall health too.
1) Acacia Fiber Encourages Growth of Probiotics
The good thing is that you can promote the growth of probiotics by providing them nourishment with prebiotics like you find in acacia fiber. One study found that participants who took an acacia fiber supplement over a month-long period had 'significantly higher' amounts of bifidobacterium and lactobacillus probiotics in their microbiome. (1)
Threats to Probiotics
There are all sorts of factors that can harm the healthy bacteria in your body, three of the major ones are:
Going through a treatment of antibiotics can virtually wipe out your whole microbiome (the collection of microorganisms that are found throughout the gut), including the good stuff. Unhealthy/processed foods can harm the microbiome as well and even feed harmful bacteria.
Overuse of antibacterial cleaners makes it so we don’t come into contact with some of the good bacteria that we used to in past generations.
Stress can weaken our immune system and have harmful effects on the microbiome as well.
The food available to us in a typical grocery store is usually highly processed and filled with antibiotics and preservatives. All of these kill our healthy probiotics and feed harmful bacteria.
2) Improves Digestion
Acacia is a potent source of fiber, which as most people know, is essential for healthy digestion. What you may not know, however, is just how many people don’t get enough fiber in their diet.
It's estimated that less than 3% of Americans meet the daily recommended amount of fiber and that on average, most adults and children get less than half the recommended amount. (2) Because the deficiency is so widespread across the population, nutritionists refer to it as the 'fiber intake gap'. (3)
Given that information, the majority of us should be getting significantly more fiber.
As you may know, fiber has numerous health benefits. People who have higher fiber intakes are at '...significantly lower risk for developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases'. (4)
Some additional health benefits of fiber include:
- Lowers blood pressure (4)
- Lowers serum cholesterol levels (cholesterol is a type of fat that can build up in your arteries and restrict blood flow, which can cause heart disease) (4)
- It can promote weight loss (4)
- Improves glycemia and insulin sensitivity (4)
- Prebiotic fiber may improve immune function (4)
- Higher fiber intake is associated with improvements to gastrointestinal disorders (4)
3) Helps With Weight Management
In a study in healthy adult women, researchers found that acacia caused significant reductions in body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage among the participants who took it*. (5) One way acacia promotes weight management is by increasing feelings of fullness so you tend to eat less.
4) May Keep Cholesterol in Check
A study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology found that acacia appears to reduce cholesterol levels in rats. (6) Studies in humans also indicate that acacia may help to lower certain types of cholesterol*. (7) (8)
5) May Promote Liver Health
Some animal studies indicate that acacia may have a protective effect of the liver against damage caused by acetaminophen, a common over-the-counter medicine taken for pain and fevers*. (9) (10)
6) May Help Relieve IBS Symptoms
Some research indicates that acacia provides some relief from the symptoms of IBS*. For example, one study found that participants who ate yogurt enriched with acacia twice daily for two months showed improvement of their IBS symptoms. (11) IBS symptoms may include diarrhea, constipation, gas/bloating, pain/cramping, and more.
7) Fecal Incontinence
Some studies indicate that supplementing with acacia may be beneficial for those who have fecal incontinence issues. (12) (13)
One study found that acacia decreased blood pressure and proteinuria (the presence of protein in the urine, which could indicate kidney damage) in diabetic mice*. (14)
Are There Side Effects?
Although there are no major side effects of acacia fiber, some people may experience gas and bloating — which can be alleviated by the digestive enzyme alpha-galactosidase*.
The Bottom Line
Acacia/gum arabic is an excellent source of prebiotic fiber that has numerous potential health benefits. It's a prebiotic, so it feeds the good microorganisms in your microbiome (probiotics). It's a fiber, so it helps with digestion, weight management, and numerous other health benefits.
Our prebiotic product, BlueBiology Prebiotic is made with organic gum arabic. We didn't stop there though—we wanted our prebiotic supplement to work synergistically with our probiotic supplement, BlueBiotics Ultimate Care.
That’s why we made BlueBiology Prebiotic with organic chicory root powder, lentil root powder, organic gum arabic flour, and alpha-galactosidase. We chose these ingredients to be broad-spectrum, meaning each probiotic strain has a prebiotic that they can feed on, as probiotic strains have certain prebiotics that they prefer.
*An acacia supplement is not a substitute for standard medical care recommended by your doctor. This product is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease or illness.