Acacia gum (also known as gum Arabic) comes from the sap of acacia trees. Gum acacia is a natural water soluble hydrocolloid, a polysaccharide, belonging to the complex arabinogalactan family. For decades, gum acacia has been widely used by the food and the beverage industries for its functional properties. Currently, the natural foods industry has also sought acacia gum for its nutritional properties, highlighting its numerous health benefits.
What is acacia gum?
Acacia Gum is considered to be an excellent natural Prebiotic. By now many people have realized the importance of Prebiotics to support our beneficial bacteria (Probiotics) in the gut. Individuals having trouble with lactose intolerance, antibiotic-associated diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome may want to try eating some bacteria! Probiotics alone, however, are not enough. You must provide those Probiotics with food—in the form of non-digestible carbohydrates, otherwise known as Prebiotics. Probiotic bacteria, and the Prebiotic non-digestible carbohydrates on which they feed, create what is known as a symbiotic—a self-supported protective layer of bacteria as a natural and powerful immune defense. Prebiotics for good digestive health are best obtained by eating the healthy foods that naturally contain them, like Acacia gum.
Arabic Gum — As a Prebiotic:
Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates; they pass through your digestive system without being broken down by your digestive enzymes. Once these non-digestible carbohydrates pass into your intestines, they serve as a feast for the Probiotic bacteria that live there. According to the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, several factors are necessary to ensure that a substance makes a good Prebiotic: 1) It must resist break-down from stomach acid, yet succumb to breakdown by beneficial intestinal microbes; 2) it must stimulate the growth and activity of those microbes. Prebiotic fibers are found in natural foods. The special characteristics of Gum Arabic make it an excellent candidate. In fact, it is listed as a “better” Prebiotic, naturally supporting the growth of healthy bacteria in the stomach.
Arabic Gum – Other Benefits
By contributing to a symbiotic state, it helps regulate the bowel movement in cases of constipation. Its high content of calcium is beneficial for bone and tooth development in children. Woman experiencing pregnancy, lactation and post-menopausal periods will certainly benefit from its rich mineral content. It has been effective in skin disease/eczema treatment as well as weight management, and has even been proven to be functional in renal failure and liver diseases.