Arabinogalactan Supports NK Cell Activity for Healthy Immunity

August 24, 2020 | Dr. Linda J. Dobberstein, DC, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

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 Arabinogalactan Supports NK Cell Activity for Healthy Immunity
Arabinogalactan, a unique complex carbohydrate, is prized for its immune boosting activities and enhancement. This novel compound found in the western larch tree, some vegetables, and other plant sources provides valuable immune system support with front-line defense for natural killer cells and mucous membrane protection. Arabinogalactan offers powerful aid for daily, critical immune actions.

Natural Killer Cells on Guard 


When you breathe in or swallow germs from air particles or food, these compounds stick to the mucous membranes found in your respiratory or digestive tract. Constant immune surveillance manages these compounds. When your immune system is energized and balanced, these potential threats are met with opposition and cleaned up. However, if you are stressed, immune responders like natural killer cells may no longer function in an optimal manner and germs gain a foot hold.

Natural killer cells (NK) are a primary part of your innate immune system and to a lesser extent your adaptive immune system. They are responsible for targeting and killing cells that are stressed, infected, mutated, and damaged, hence the name “natural killer cells”. They are essential for keeping things in check.

NK cells also influence other immune cells like T and B cells that are involved with your immune system’s memory cells ability to remember immune challenges. This helps with the formation of some types of antibodies. Natural killer cells must be in adequate numbers and function for front-line immune function; otherwise it is like leaving the alarm system off and your house unlocked and open for a crime spree.

Insufficient Sleep, Emotional Stress, and Social Isolation Impair NK Cells


Three common concerns of today’s world substantially impact your body’s natural killer cell activity, function, and amount of these front-line soldiers. Insufficient sleep contributes to reduced number and disrupted natural killer (NK) cells and results in increased neuroimmune inflammation. Psychological or emotional stress diminishes NK cell activity causing higher oxidative stress and increased immune challenges and inflammation.

Social isolation also does not help natural killer cells. In research studies, animals are isolated for a period of time to induce stress and monitored for wellbeing. The length of isolation and at what point in the life cycle influences the overall response, but findings show unhealthy changes in the immune system, gut microbiome, and the brain and adrenals (HPA axis). This creates a stress reaction with NK cells that affects their activity and function with higher risks for health challenges.

Social isolation is especially challenging in the very young and elderly detrimental to immune and natural killer cell function and brain health. Research shows reduced natural killer cell activity, a weakened immune system along with diminished mental and cognitive health in elderly animal test subjects after social isolation. This has enormous implications and concerns with current pandemic mandates and in other situations too. You absolutely must find ways for yourself, your loved ones, and isolated neighbors to stay connected, get enough sleep, manage stress levels, and support your immune system. Everyone needs this.

Arabinogalactan Supports Natural Killer Cells


Arabinogalactan is a strong supporter of NK cell activity. Researchers found that arabinogalactan intake increased the release of interferon gamma (IFN gamma) and other helpful immune compounds that boost NK function.

Arabinogalactan has been shown “capable of enhancing natural killer cells” and other immune cells in defense against microorganisms. Research published in Nutrients June 2020 showed that arabinogalactan supplementation led to increased natural killer cell activity within the digestive tract and modulated cytokine activity in healthy adults.

In addition, arabinogalactan supports the beneficial gut flora bifidobacteria and lactobacilli along with short chain fatty acids in the intestinal tract. This builds vital communication links between your gut flora and immune system which affects the actions and fighting capacity of NK cells, T cells, and other immune defense cells. Arabinogalactan also helps your immune system build antibodies against germs.

Arabinogalactan Aids Mucous Membranes


Arabinogalactan has another helpful property. It can stick to your mucous membranes like a malleable adhesive, yet it allows your NK cells and other immune cells to function without competition. This action aids in blocking germs from adhering to mucous membranes such as those found your sinus, lungs, digestive tract, and eyes. An additional benefit unrelated to NK cells is that it helps eye mucous membranes with moisture.

Arabinogalactan is a plant-based compound widely used for upper respiratory, gastrointestinal, and immune support. We have used arabinogalactan within our product line since the mid-1990’s with fantastic results for people of all ages including very young infants and children with runny noses to the very elderly.

This carbohydrate aids the function and activity of natural killer cells and other essential immune cells. It supports your immune system’s ability to do its job in the management against germs, cells clean-up, and helps your immune system make antibodies for long-term protection. It feeds your beneficial bacteria and supports the mucosal linings in your eyes, respiratory and digestive tract. Arabinogalactan delivers an arsenal of stellar support suitable for all ages.

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