You might have heard sugar can fuel cancer in dogs ….
… but new research shows this one sugar can stop cancer in its tracks (and give your dog some other health-boosting benefits too).
Let’s take a look at Larch and why cancer researchers are so excited about it …
Arabinogalactan: The Good Sugar
Arabinogalactans are a type of soluble (digestible) fiber, which are long chains of sugars. Technically, they’re called polysaccharides (which means more than two sugars in a chain).
This special fiber can be found in a variety of plants and vegetables and it has a variety of health benefits in the body:
Supports Intestinal Bateria
“Arabinogalactan supplements come from an evergreen tree called the Western Larch (wood gum). Many of the cancer studies have been on this form of arabinogalactan because it’s much more highly concentrated than food or herb-based sources … and the good news is it’s a natural tree extract, not a drug.”
Arabinogalactans are well-known for their ability to feed and grow beneficial bacteria colonies in the gut. These special sugars are called prebiotics and they feed the probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, that live in your dog’s gut. Without prebiotics, probiotics would just starve and die.
The bacteria in your dog’s gut are critical to his health. They can talk to your dog’s brain, they manufacture many of his vitamins and they keep dangerous or pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi (like yeast) populations in check. This is why almost all of your dog’s immune system is in his gut … these little bacteria outnumber your dog’s own cells and live in harmony with your dog.
Protects The Intestinal Wall
Once arabinogalactan takes up residence in your dog’s gut, it begins to ferment. This fermentation produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate. SCFAs are critical to the health of your dog’s colon. They …
- Protect the intestinal lining against viruses and bacteria
- Fuel beneficial bacteria (probiotic) populations (including the gut-friendly bifidobacteria and lactobacillus bacteria).
- Help control diarrhea and digestive upset by supporting the colon (the colon determines how much water is in the feces)
- The SCFA butyrate is a powerful anti-inflammatory and can help treat diabetes
- Butyrate can prevent and treat inherited disorders, immune-mediated chronic disorders, and neurodegeneration
- Butyrate has been shown to cause apoptosis (cancer cell death) and prevent and slow cancer growth
Let’s take a closer look at the cancer-fight properties of arabinogalactan.
Arabinogalactan And Cancer In Dogs
Arabinogalactan not only produces cancer-fighting butyrate, but it’s been shown to stimulate the immune system and block the spread of cancer cells. It does this by activating two important immune cells: macrophages and natural killer (NK) cells.
Natural killer cells can kill virus-infected cells, bacteria, parasites, fungi and tumor cells. They kill these cells by forcing them to commit suicide.
Macrophages can also recognize cancer cells or cells that are damaged or old and eats them. Cells are supposed to die off and be replaced, but cancer is the result of cells that continue to grow out of control. Macrophages can prevent cancer by detecting and eating cells that are past their prime, or by eating existing cancer cells directly.
Because of its ability to activate the immune system and create a healthy gut environment, arabinogalactan has also been shown to help with:
- Autoimmune disease
- Inflammation and joint disease
- Viral and bacterial infections
- Ear infections (especially chronic ones)
So let’s take a look at how you can get Arabinogalactan into you dog’s diet …
Sources Of Arabinogalactan
Arabinogalactan can be naturally found in small amounts in some common foods, including:
But to get the same effects as found in many of these studies, your dog would need to eat a pound of these plants a day!
Arabinogalactan can also be found in many herbs … in fact, arabinogalactan is one of the active ingredients of common immune-boosting herbs including:
- Shitake mushrooms
By weight, these herbs when dried contain about 4% arabinogalactan.
But the source of arabinogalactan found in most cancer-fighting and prescription supplements is from a tree …
Arabinogalactan supplements come from an evergreen tree called the Western Larch (wood gum). Many of the cancer studies have been on this form of arabinogalactan because it’s much more highly concentrated than food or herb-based sources … and the good news is it’s a natural tree extract, not a drug.
Native Americans has used larch preparations for hundreds of years to treat wounds and illness. And now science shows that arabinogalactan can help prevent and even treat cancer, and provide many other health benefits for you dog such as fighting canine flu and kennel cough.
How To Give Your Dog Larch
There are many brands of larch arabinogalactan available. Ideally, you’ll also want to buy a product that also contains at least 10 billion CFU (colony forming units) of probiotics to go with it because those probiotics will ferment and produce cancer-fighting SCFAs.
You can add larch arabinogalactan to your dog’s meals daily and just follow the dose on the bottle. A medium sized dog would normally need about half a teaspoon.
Like any other immune-boosting substance, you should give your dog a rest from the larch from time to time. For example, you could give your dog the larch arabinogalactan supplement for 2 months on and give him 2 weeks off.
There are few known side effects of larch arabinogalactan and it’s non-toxic and approved by the FDA. Due to its fermentation, it might occasionally cause gas or bloating in some dogs but there really aren’t any contraindications.