What is Galectin-3 and Why Is It Important?

Posted on Nov 7, 2011 | 5 comments

What is Galectin-3 and Why Is It Important?

Reducing Levels of Elevated Galectin-3 is Critically Important

Normally, Galectin-3 is found in small amounts in our bodies. But scientific research shows that higher than average levels of this molecule can indicate the presence of a wide array of serious health concerns. Therefore, reducing the harmful effects of Galectin-3 is critically important in maintaining health and longevity.

Galectin-3 research is one of the fastest growing fields within medicine today. Epidemiology stats show that every few days, a new scientific paper is published directly linking excess levels of Galectin-3 in the body with the progression of numerous deadly and debilitating diseases, from metastatic cancer and chronic heart failure to ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes II and much more. This growing body of evidence demonstrates how Galectin-3 is involved in numerous degenerative processes within the body, most notably cancer proliferation/ metastasis, heart failure, chronic inflammation, fibrosis and related organ failure.

In May 2011, a groundbreaking Galectin-3 mortality study involving over 8,000 people was presented at a European conference. The results of this study showed that elevated serum Galectin-3 increased overall mortality three-fold in the general population (Figures 1a/ 1b below). Overall mortality was close to 15% in the highest quintile compared to only 3-4% in the lowest quintile.

Recognized as Important Biomarker

As research continues to highlight Galectin-3’s leading role in the development and advancement of inflammatory, fibrotic and oncogenetic diseases, this “rogue molecule” is earning the attention of scientists and doctors around the world. Galectin-3 is becoming the most informative new biomarker for our most serious health epidemics such as cancer and heart disease, for which early detection is critical to successful clinical prognosis. Even more promising, Galectin-3 is being recognized as one of the most important therapeutic targets for the treatment and management of numerous life-threatening illnesses, achievable through the administration of Galectin-3 antagonists such as Modified Citrus Pectin. Specifically, Modified Citrus Pectin is the only natural Galectin-3 inhibitor demonstrated in published research to decrease the expression of Galectin-3 and block the damage caused by excess Galectin-3 throughout the body.

Cancer & Heart Disease May Be Linked to Elevated Galectin-3

Another well characterized function of Galectin-3 is in the formation and metastasis of cancerous tumors. Galectin-3 is found to be over-expressed on the surface of cancer cells, acting as stick cell surface protein which allows the cancer cells to aggregate as well as disseminate throughout the circulatory system. It serves as the main mechanism by which cancers grow, proliferate, metastasize and advance angiogenesis (blood vessel formation) to feed active tumors.

Numerous published studies have demonstrated that the over-expression of Galectin-3 is directly involved in cancer proliferation and metastasis, as well as a variety of processes associated with heart failure, including myofibroblast proliferation, inflammation and fibrogenesis, tissue repair, and ventricular and tissue remodeling. Elevated levels of Galectin-3 in the blood have been found to be significantly associated with higher risk of death in acute decompensated heart failure as well as chronic heart failure populations. This Galectin-3-dependent link between numerous acute and chronic disease states is what gives Galectin-3 its important diagnostic and therapeutic implications, now becoming widely accepted in the medical community.

Your Thoughts
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  1. I was just tested high for this thru my Naturopath dr. This test, which tested for many things, showed favorable results for my heart but also tested high in inflammation…hs-CRP 5.1 but again other heart tests favorable. Crazy high on Galectin 3 @ 89.7. Battling vertigo and headaches after jogging.Any recommendations of further tests?
    Thank you!!

    • Hi Traci,
      Thank you for your questions. We are not able provide recommendations for medical conditions or comment on lab test results. However, you can have your Naturopathic Physican give a call to Dr. Eliaz’ clinic and talk with the Nurse Practitioner there. She can discuss your issue with the doctor and then he can make recommendations to you. Amitabha Medical Clinic phone number is 707-542-5900. The doctor should ask to speak with Elaine Weil, NP.

  2. This is information was very helpful to me I am currently working in a lab with galectin-3. I now have a better understanding how elevated levels signal a problem in one’s body.To add to what you were talking about using test like the elsia or western blot you can measure the levels of galectin-3 in human serum. If any information is needed on human body diseases or conditions check out my website.

  3. How it is different from Troponin I,T and NTProBNP.

    • These markers are specific for measures of cardiac cell damage and cardiac function. Galectin-3 does relate in the sense that has been shown to be elevated in people with heart failure and predicts progression. So when dealing with a cardiac issue, Galectin-3 levels in conjunction with the markers you mentioned would be useful to get a good picture. Galectin-3, however, has broader application and is involved in a wide range of disease processes in addition to cardiovascular disease.

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