Table of Contents > Herbs & Supplements > Arabinoxylan Print



Related terms

Related Terms
  • Arabinoxylane, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, AX, BioBran®, cinnaman AX, Cinnamomum cassia, Ganoderma lucidum, Hyphomycetes mycelia, kawaratake mushroom, MGN-3, rice bran, shiitake mushroom, suehirotake mushroom.

  • Altering the outer shell of rice bran using enzymes from Hyphomycetes mycelia mushroom extract produces Arabinoxylan compound. The product called MGN-3 (or BioBran® in Japan) is a complex containing arabinoxylan as a major component.
  • Arabinoxylan has been found to improve immune reactions in diabetes and cancer patients. MGN-3 may also be of potential value in treating AIDS patients or those patients undergoing chemotherapy. However, there is currently a lack of strong human scientific evidence to support the use of arabinoxylan for any indication.
  • Although presented by manufacturers as a generally safe substance without side effects at recommended doses, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered a permanent court order in 2004 against the marketing of MGN-3, charging that it has been promoted as a drug treatment for cancer, diabetes and HIV.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *

Arabinoxylan has been studied in the treatment of cancer. Additional study is needed in this area.


There is currently a lack of scientific evidence investigating the role of arabinoxylan in diabetics. More study is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.

* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)

Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Asthma, cardiovascular disease, chemotherapy adverse effects (adriamycin chemotherapy gastroprotection, cisplatin chemotherapy gastroprotection), chemotherapy-induced leucopenia (abnormally low white blood cell count), chronic fatigue syndrome, hepatitis, herpes zoster, high cholesterol, HIV, hypertension (high blood pressure), immune system deficiencies, insomnia, neurasthenia (nervous exhaustion), poisoning, post-herpetic neuralgia (nerve pain), respiratory disease, stress reduction, tonic (kidney), ulcers.


Adults (18 years and older)

  • In general, 600 milligrams a day in a divided dose has been used for daily health maintenance. The following doses have been used in scientific study, but are not proven effective or safe. For cancer, 3 grams of MGN-3 has been taken daily for up to six months in patients with different types of malignancies (such as multiple myeloma, leukemia, and cancers of the prostate, breast, cervix). Doses of 15, 30, and 45 milligrams per kilogram of MGN-3 have also been taken daily for two months.
  • For diabetes, 1-12 grams of arabinoxylan-rich fiber has been used daily.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • There is currently a lack of available scientific evidence to recommend the use of arabinoxylan in children.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.


  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to arabinoxylan, mushrooms, yeast or rice bran.
  • Users of MGN-3 (BioBran®) should be aware of other constituents (cornstarch, dextrin, tricalcium phosphate, silicon dioxide). Patients with allergies to other constituents should not take MGN-3.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • In general, safety data are lacking; however, arabinoxylan has been well tolerated in clinical practice in Japan at recommended doses for short periods of time.
  • Arabinoxylan products like MGN-3 (BioBran®) may contain high calcium and phosphorus levels, which may be harmful for patients with compromised renal (kidney) function.
  • Patients with diabetes and those taking blood sugar lowering medications should use arabinoylan cautiously because arabinoxylan may lower blood sugar.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Arabinoxylan is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.


Interactions with Drugs

  • MGN-3 may be safely and advantageously used with chemotherapy and radiation to increase the cytotoxic effect of the therapy and to decrease adverse side effects. A qualified healthcare practitioner, including a pharmacist, should be consulted before combining arabinoxylan with other medications or therapies.
  • Arabinoxylan may reduce blood sugar levels, and could theoretically interact with blood sugar lowering medications taken by mouth or insulin.
  • Arabinoxylan may possess immuno-stimulant properties, and could theoretically interact with other drugs that alter the immune system. Caution is advised.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Preparations of MGN-3 (BioBran®) arabinoxylan product contain unclear amounts of calcium and phosphorous.
  • Arabinoxylan may reduce blood sugar levels, and could theoretically interact with blood sugar lowering herbs and supplements.
  • Arabinoxylan may possess immuno-stimulant properties, and could theoretically interact with other herbs and supplements that alter the immune system. Caution is advised.

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

  1. Anonymous. Clinical Research Using MGN-3. Cancer: the interface between basic and applied research 2001.
  2. Ghoneum M, Jewett A. Synergistic effect of modified arabinoxylane (MGN-3) and low dose of recombinant IL-2 on human NK cell activity and TNF-a production. American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, Education Conference 1998.
  3. Ghoneum M, Maeda H. MGN-3 immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer [abstract]. First International Symposium on Disease Prevention by IP-6 and other Rice Components 1998.
  4. Ghoneum M, Namatalla G. NK Immunomodulatory function in 27 cancer patients by MGN-3, a modified arabinoxylane from rice bran. 87th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research 1996.
  5. Ghoneum M, Namatalia G, Kim C. Effect of MGN-3 on human natural killer cell activity and interferon-y synthesis in vitro. FASEB 1996;10(6):26-32.
  6. Ghoneum M. Enhancement of human natural killer cell activity by modified arabinoxylane from rice bran (MGN-3). Int J Immunotherapy 1998;14:89-99.
  7. Ghoneum M. NK immunorestoration of cancer patients by MGN-3, a modified arabinoxylan rice bran (study of 32 patients followed up to four years). 6th International Congress on Anti-Aging and Bio-Medical Technologies 1998.
  8. Ghoneum MH. Immunomodulatory and anti-cancer properties of (MGN-3), a modified xylose from rice bran, in five patients with breast cancer. American Association for Cancer Research Special Conference: The interface between basic and applied research 1995.
  9. Ghoneum MH. One sizeable step for immunology, one giant leap for cancer patients. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients 2000;58-62.
  10. Ghoneum M. Anti-HIV activity in vitro of MGN-3, an activated arabinoxylane from rice bran. Biochem Biophys.Res Commun. 2-4-1998;243(1):25-29.
  11. Ghoneum M, Vojdani A, Banionis A, et al. The effects of carcinogenic methylcholanthrene on carbohydrate residues of NK cells. Toxicol.Ind Health 1997;13(6):727-741.
  12. Jacoby H, Wnorowski G, Sakata K, et al. The effect of MGN-3 on cisplatin and adriamycin induced toxicity in the rat [abstract]. Supplement to Gastroenterology 2000;18(4):4962.
  13. Kanari M, Tomoda M, Gonda R, et al. A reticuloendothelial system-activating arabinoxylan from the bark of Cinnamomum cassia. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1989;37(12):3191-3194.
  14. Lu ZX, Walker KZ, Muir JG, et al. Arabinoxylan fiber, a byproduct of wheat flour processing, reduces the postprandial glucose response in normoglycemic subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71(5):1123-1128.
  15. Uyemura K, Tarchiki K, Ghoneum M, et al. MGN-3, a novel antitumor agent. 92nd Annual Meeting, American Association for Cancer Research 2001;42:24-28.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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