The Effect of Gum Arabic (Acacia Senegal) on Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Adults at Risk of Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Abstract:

Gum Arabic (GA) is a widely-used additive in food processing but is also historically used in a number of traditional therapies. It has been shown to have a broad range of health benefits, particularly in improving important cardiovascular risk indicators.

Metabolic syndrome and its associated cardiac outcomes are a significant burden on modern healthcare systems, and complementary interventions to aid in its management are required.

We aimed to examine the effect of GA on those with, or at risk of, metabolic syndrome to identify an effect on improving important disease parameters related to cardiovascular outcomes. A single-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to identify the effects of daily GA supplementation on metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors. A total of 80 participants were randomized to receive 20 g of GA daily (n = 40) or placebo (1 g pectin, n = 40) for 12 weeks.

Key endpoints included body-anthropometric indices, diet, and physical activity assessment, and blood chemistry (HbA1c, fasting glucose, and blood lipids). Of the 80 enrolled, 61 completed the study (intervention: 31, control: 30) with 19 dropping out due to poor treatment compliance. After 12 weeks, the participants receiving the GA showed significant decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fat-free body mass, energy and carbohydrate consumption, and fasting plasma glucose, as well as increased intake of dietary fiber.

They also reported improvements in self-perceived bloating and quality of bowel movements, as well as a decreased appetite score following GA consumption. These results suggest that GA could be a safe and beneficial adjunct to other treatments for those with, or at risk of, metabolic syndrome.

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