Metabolic effect of Gum Arabic (Acacia Senegal) in patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM): Randomized, placebo controlled double blind trial


  • Rasha Babiker
  • Khalifa Elmusharaf
  • Michael B. Keogh
  • Amin S. I. Banaga
  • Amal M. Saeed



Background: Gum Arabic (GA) is a water-soluble dietary fiber, indigestible to both humans and animals. While GA currently does not have any therapeutic potential, it has nutritional value and some effects on metabolism of glucose and lipids. Thus, the aim of this study is to assess the effect of GA on serum level of glucose, lipids, and the BMI in type 2 diabetic patients.

Methods: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial took place at Academy Charity Teaching Hospital (ACTH) in Sudan between August 2014 to February 2015. The trial was conducted in type 2 diabetic patients who were on regular oral hypoglycemic drugs and had HbA1C ≥ 6.5%. Patients excluded from the study included those on insulin, any patient with a metabolic or gastrointestinal disease, and any patient with history of drug addiction and alcoholism. Other patients excluded were patients who had previous allergic reactions to GA in addition to patients who were pregnant or planned for conception within 6 months. 120 patients were invited to participate in this trial. 100 patients gave consent and were randomized to GA and placebo groups. The GA group was given 30 g of Acacia Senegaland the placebo group was given 5 g of placebo daily for 3 months. The outcomes assessed were primarily the effect of GA on glucose levels in addition to the effects on levels of lipids and the BMI in type 2 diabetic patients.

Results: The GA group showed significant reduction in fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and HbA1c (P<0.05) within the GA group. Moreover, GA supplementation improved lipid profiles; decreased LDL-Cholesterol by 5.95%, total Cholesterol by 8.28% and triglyceride by 10.95% from baseline levels. HDL-Cholesterol showed significant increase by 19.89% within GA group (P<0.05), BMI was decreased significantly by 2.06% (95% CI: −0.98; −0.16), P<0.05).

Conclusions: Gum Arabic is a dietary supplement for improving nutrition of type 2 diabetic patients; it has demonstrated a good effect on improving their poor glycemic control. It has also shown improvement in the levels of the lipids and the BMI. Further studies are needed in obese and pre-diabetic patients to evaluate GA therapeutic potentials. 

Keywords: Gum Arabic, Diabetes Mellitus type 2, Lipid profiles, Fasting Plasma Glucose, Dietary Fibers, HbA1c





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