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How Acacia May Benefit Gut Health, Metabolism, Heart Health, & More

Published on April 18, 2023


By Kristen Boye BS, Natural Health

Kristen Boye

Kristen Boye is a natural health expert, writer, copywriter, and editor. Kristen was raised on an organic farm in British Columbia which inspired her life’s work. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Health, is a Certified Natural Foods Chef, co-owner of a medicinal herb farm, and is a natural foods and children’s health advocate. Kristen lives with her husband and two children on their medicinal herb farm in Western North Carolina.

https://www.holisticwritingconcepts.com
How Acacia May Benefit Gut Health, Metabolism, Heart Health, & More
How Acacia May Benefit Gut Health, Metabolism, Heart Health, & More

From Maca lattes and Matcha-Ginger energy drinks to Lavender chocolates and Turmeric-infused skin care, it is clear that herbs have gone mainstream. 

Although Westerners have embraced herbs from various parts of the world, such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese medicine, most know very little about traditional African herbs—even those right under their noses.

One such herb is Acacia.

Acacia, also known as Gum Arabic, is most well-known in the Western Hemisphere as a thickening agent in foods.

However, Acacia has a rich history of traditional use in Africa for supporting health and addressing a variety of common ailments.*

In this article, we’ll share more about the lesser-known side of Acacia as a cherished traditional herb, including its history of use, the research behind its potential benefits, potential side effects, and how to use it safely.

What is Acacia?

Acacia is a leguminous perennial climbing shrub belonging to the Mimosaceae and pea family.REF#1313

Various species of Acacia are native to tropical and subtropical regions of the world, including Africa, Australia, middle America, the Middle East, and south Asia.

Different parts of the Acacia tree, such as the gum or fiber (known as Gum Arabic, Acacia seyal, Acacia Fiber, or Gum Acacia), extracts, roots, stems, berries, leaves, and bark have been used since ancient times for health, nutrition, and economic benefits.

African herbalists, for example, used Gum Acacia to bind pills, stabilize emulsions, and in aromatherapy products. 

Parts of the Acacia Tree have also been used to tan leather, as ink, as a dye, for lumber, and as animal feed.

Today, Acacia Gum, also known as Gum Arabic or Acacia Fiber, which is made from Acacia tree sap, is widely used in the food and supplement industry.

Its gummy texture acts as a thickener, stabilizer, binder, and flavor enhancer while adding valuable fiber and nutrients to foods and supplements.

Furthermore, scientists have identified various plant compounds in Acacia, including alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, and saponins, believed to be responsible for its beneficial properties.REF#1314

Historical Uses of Acacia in Traditional Herbalism

Traditional herbalists used Acaia for a variety of health concerns, in addition to its use as a binder and stabilizer, including:*REF#1313

Researchers have conducted various studies into Acacia's traditional uses and potential benefits.

Although they have yet to validate all of Acacia’s traditional uses, there is evidence to support many.*

6 Health Benefits Of Acacia/Gum Arabic/Acacia Fiber

Acacia’s popularity as a food ingredient, coupled with its rich history in African herbalism, has made it the subject of various studies.

Here, we’ll examine what research has confirmed about Acacia/Acacia Fiber/Gum Arabic’s potential health benefits.

#1: Acaia Can be Beneficial For Your Gut Microbiome

One of Acacia’s superpowers is its prebiotic properties.*

Prebiotics are certain types of fiber that resist digestion and ferment in the gut, providing essential food for good bacteria.

Think of prebiotics as fuel for probiotics. Without them, good gut bacteria cannot proliferate and thrive.

This is why high-quality probiotic supplements also contain prebiotics, such as inulin; they cannot be effective without prebiotic fiber.

A randomized controlled trial published in the British Journal of Nutrition entitled: “Gum arabic establishes prebiotic functionality in healthy human volunteers in a dose-dependent manner” found consumption of Gum Arabic significantly increased Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli (beneficial bacteria) better than the control group and better than inulin (another common prebiotic fiber).REF#1315

Given the gut microbiome's role in immunity, mood, inflammation, heart health, and more, Acacia’s prebiotic properties may have far-reaching benefits.REF#1316 

#2: Acacia May Promote Heart Health

Getting enough fiber has been shown essential to protecting your heart and promoting overall cardiovascular health.REF#1317

New research has also revealed the gut microbiome's role in supporting various aspects of heart health via the effects of specific gut microbiota on the inflammatory response.REF#1318

This is a significant discovery, given the role of inflammation in heart health.REF#1319

As a prebiotic, Acacia fiber/Gum Arabic has the potential to support heart health via its nourishing effects on beneficial gut microbiota.*

Studies have also shown it may help support normal cholesterol levels and blood pressure.REF#1320 REF#1321 REF#1322

The best fiber source comes from eating various plant-based foods. 

However, a natural supplement with Acacia Gum may offer additional benefits for those looking to increase fiber.

#3: Acaia Supports Healthy Metabolism

Metabolic health involves many organs and systems, such as the thyroid, hypothalamus, pancreas, liver, chemical messengers within the digestive system, and cardiovascular system.REF#1323

Therefore, when metabolic health becomes imbalanced, it can have a cascade effect resulting in various confusing symptoms.

One of the best ways to support metabolic health is by focusing on blood sugar balance.

This process can include avoiding eating excess sugar and processed foods, exercising regularly, managing stress, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep.

Fiber also plays a role in metabolic health by slowing the digestion of sugars and starches, which reduces blood sugar spikes.

Research has shown Acacia fiber may help support metabolic health by promoting balanced blood sugar,REF#1324 reducing carbohydrate consumption,REF#1325 and supporting various aspects of weight loss.REF#1326 REF#1327 

Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplement that may affect your blood sugar.

#4: Acacia May Help in Aiding Weight Loss

Fiber is a not-so-secret weapon for promoting weight loss. It helps you feel full, supports optimal digestion and elimination, and can even help with food cravings.

Prebiotic fiber has also been associated with weight loss via its effects on gut microbiota and butyrate production (a beneficial fatty acid produced by good gut bacteria) associated with inflammatory response and weight gain.REF#1328

This makes Acacia a potentially helpful herbal ally in weight loss and optimal weight maintenance.

Research has shown Acacia fiber may provide the following benefits for weight loss:REF#1329

  • Reducing calorie consumption
  • Reducing carb consumption
  • Supporting balanced blood sugar
  • Reducing non-fat body mass

Ultimately, there is no magic herbal bullet for weight loss. 

However, Acacia Gum may help support weight loss efforts when combined with a healthy diet, exercise, and lifestyle program.

#5: Acacia May Relieve Occasional Constipation

Despite the constant reminders of how important fiber is for good health, research has shown as little as 5 percent of Americans get enough fiber.REF#1330

These low amounts can result in various digestive health issues, including occasional constipation.

Occasional constipation can even occur in those who do eat plenty of fiber, in which case, you’ll want a gentle and natural solution that works.

Natural fibers, like Acacia Gum, are excellent alternatives to more aggressive stimulant laxatives.*

Acacia Gum’s combination of soluble fiber and prebiotics helps soften stool while relieving gas, and bloating and giving good gut flora a healthy boost.

#6: Acaia Supports Wound Healing

Traditional cultures have relied on various herbs, plants, and spices to promote wound healing.

In the tropical regions of Africa and south Asia, the application of Acacia Gum has been widely used for these purposes.

Animal research suggests this traditional use is valid. 

Researchers believe that bacterial balancing and antioxidant activity help with wound contraction and healing.REF#1330

To learn more about herbs that may support wound healing of superficial cuts and scrapes, check out:


    Is Acacia Safe For Everyone?

    Acacia Gum/Gum Arabic has been granted GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status by the Food and Drug Administration as a food additive.REF#1329

    This means it is considered safe to consume for most people and has a stellar safety record.

    Large amounts of Acacia Fiber/Gum Arabic, up to 30,000 mg of Acacia Gum/per person per day, have been associated with flatulence in some people.REF#1330

    No other significant safety concerns have been observed.

    Is Acacia Right For You?

    Most of us have unknowingly reaped the potential benefits of Acacia Gum/Gum Arabic through prepared foods and beverages throughout our lifetimes.

    However, an Acacia supplement may prove helpful if you’re seeking natural support for cardiovascular health, weight loss, cholesterol, occasional constipation, gut microbiome health, food cravings, or metabolic health.

    Acacia fiber is available in various natural fiber and prebiotic/probiotics supplements, such as Gaia Herbs Microbiome Food, a combination of organic Acacia, Larch, Fenugreek, Cinnamon, and Marshmallow.

    Discover more about the fascinating benefits of prebiotic fiber in: Prebiotics: What Are They, Their Sources, And Benefits.

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