Gum Arabic Tree and Its Numerous Health Benefits

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A nail fungus infection when left untreated can cause a problem later on. A fungus may infect the nail, and it may also cause problems in the entire nail area including the nail bed and nail matrix. Nail tinea or onychomycosis may cause the nail to become deformed or misshapen. The nails become aesthetically unacceptable, and in some cases, they can cause discomfort. Nail fungal infections in the fingernails may hinder proper hand functions.

When it comes to toenail fungal infections, it is difficult for the person infected even to wear shoes. Nail tinea may also cause skin fungal infections. Fungal infection of the skin may serve as an entry point for bacteria. Patients who suffer from diabetes or peripheral vascular disease need more consideration. There are different types of organisms that may cause nail infections: yeasts, molds, and dermatophyte fungi.

The most common type of dermatophyte that causes nail fungal infection is Trichophytum rubrum. Such organism causes 90 percent of toenail infections and 50 percent of all fingernail infections.

Signs of Nail Fungus

The following are the most common signs of nail fungus infections: thickening of the nail plate, nail crumbling, yellowing or whitening in one or more nails, lifting of the nail from the nail bed, occurrence of nail pits and flakes, thickening and scaling underneath the nail, and discolored streaks on the nail surface.

Treating Nail Fungal Infections

A nail fungal infection can be diagnosed by a dermatologist. Through this, an appropriate nail fungus treatment plan can be formed. A couple of things have to be kept in mind when it comes to treating nail fungal infections: It’s easier to treat fingernail fungal infections than toenail infections. About 80 percent of mild nail infections can be treated with a topical nail infection. Infections that affect a significant portion of the nail plate are more likely to respond to oral treatments.

1What exactly is gum arabic?

Gum arabic is also called acacia powder or acacia gum. It is known as a fibrous product that is derived from the natural hardened sap of two species of acacia trees. One of these is the Acacia senegal tree belongs to the Leguminosae (Fabaceae) plant family. This is what is commonly used in many gum arabic products. Another species of acacia tree is Vachellia. A dried gum is produced in its branches and trunks. Such acacia trees grow in abundance in Sudan. Sudan is where 50 percent of the world’s Arabic gum is made, but gum arabic can also be found in several parts of Africa such as Senegal, Kenya, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria.

The most interesting aspect of the acacia tree is that it produces the most amount of gum arabic when the tree goes through adverse conditions like drought, poor soil, or extreme heat. All of these can damage the trees but also lead to an increase in Arabic gum production.

As an Antifungal or Antimicrobial

A published study showed that gum arabic has inhibitory effects against various S. aureus and E. coli strains. Moreover, this fiber also increases the antimicrobial activities of granulocytes and improves intracellular ROS production, possibly leading to phagocytosis and intracellular killing.

Another study was done on the antibacterial activity of the gum arabic extract. It was clear that the gum arabic extract has an inhibitory impact on E. coli and S. aureus bacteria when compared to the Amikacin being a positive control and distilled water as the negative control. The results from the study showed that Arabic gum aqueous extract may serve as an anti-inflammatory agent in the human body and work as an antibacterial agent against several pathogens.

Other Health Benefits

Gum arabic has been largely studied for its properties as a hydrocolloid that has multiple applications. It has also been the subject of more recent studies that focus more on its ability to improve human health. The following are some of the health benefits that the gum Arabic tree is known to offer:

Improves oral health

An acacia species known as Acacia catechu is added to dental products like mouthwash for gingivitis prevention. Powdered acacia may also be added into a natural toothpaste which can clean the teeth without resulting in a form of abrasion. Based on a 1999 study, this tooth powder can help clear plaque sufficiently.

Suppresses appetite

It takes more time to digest dietary fiber. This prolongs the feeling of being full. A 2021 published study how supplementation using acacia fiber helped suppress the appetite of a group of healthy individuals.

The participants in the study were given offered a glass of juice that contains zero, 20 grams, or 40 grams worth of acacia fiber along with a bagel with cream cheese after fasting for 12 hours. Researchers found out that consuming 40 grams of acacia fiber could suppress appetite for up to 4 hours long. The authors suggested that by adding gum arabic to food the fiber gap may be bridged and the appetite suppressed.

Helps ease IBS symptoms

In a 2022 published study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, it was discovered that yogurt with d Bifidobacterium lactis (B. lactis) could ease IBS symptoms as opposed to plain yogurt. However, this requires more research.

Supports gut health

Researchers investigated how acacia fiber may help improve good bacteria balance in your gut functioning as a probiotic. Currently, research is still limited to in vitro and animal studies. More human studies are required to establish this.

Acacia fiber is an FDA-approved food additive and it is generally recognized as safe (GRAS).

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