Fucoidan the Miracle Nutrient

Fucoidan the “miracle nutrient”? is a sulfated polysaccharide found mainly in various species of brown seaweed such as kombu, limu moui, bladderwrack, wakame, mozuku, and hijiki (variant forms of fucoidan have also been found in animal species, including the sea cucumber)

Beginning around 1970 researchers began studying fucoidan, and since that time fucoidan has been cited in over 700 studies published in the National Library of Medicine’s data base. www.pubmed.com The overall findings of this body of research, coupled with evidence provided by a long history of use of the fucoidan-bearing seaweed in areas such as Tonga, Hawaii and Japan indicates that fucoidan might be used as a safe, nutritional answer to a wide variety of health complaints.

Historical medicinal uses of seaweed are vast and ranged from topical burn and goiter therapy to the softening of tumors. These ancient civilizations may not have known that it was the fucoidan contained in these plants that gave them their beneficial properties, but they did know the plants offered powerful healing benefits.

The renowned longevity and good health of the Tongan people, especially statistically lower incidences of cancers and other diseases that plague the Western world, has piqued the interest of the medical and scientific communities who are keen to unlock the secret of this gift from the sea.

By absorbing trace minerals and vitamins from the nourishing waters, limu moui contains no less than 77 nutrients, including C, E and multiple B vitamins, selenium, beta-carotene, protein, iodine, calcium and iron. But the key ingredient of limu that is attracting the most attention is an essential sugar compound?a polysaccharide or glyconutrient?called fucoidan.

Medical treatments today focus on drugs and surgery, but there is a growing awareness in the health community of the tremendous potential of natural alternatives, especially researched super nutrients like the fucoidan found in limu moui. Fucoidan contains all of the eight simple sugars. These simple sugars are necessary for cell-to-cell communication and a healthy immune system. Although these nutrients are essential, there lacking in most of our diets.

There are two studies out of Canada that show fucoidan may be a potential therapy for Alzheimer?s disease. One study showed that fucoidan inhibited the advancement of several chronic degenerative diseases, including hardening and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attack (myocardial infarction) and Alzheimer?s disease.

Fucoidan has potent anticoagulant and antithrombin activities that prevent harmful blood clots from forming in blood vessels. This is important because right now the drugs used to treat and prevent clot formation are difficult to use and can be downright dangerous if not monitored closely. This is one of the most studied areas for fucoidan with at least 50 studies on the subject as evidenced by a National Library of Medicine Pub Med search.

The use of fucoidan as a possible new cancer therapy is a key area of interest in the scientific and medical communities. There are more than 50 studies related to fucoidan and cancer. Glyconutrients are credited with combating breast, gastric and lung cancers, as well as leukemia. Most of the studies are still taking place in animal model, but the exploration is yielding some interesting and potentially therapeutic findings.

Fucoidan?s activity appears to be antiangiogenic. Antiangiogenesis is a hot topic in anti cancer therapy. To put it simply, fucoidan appears to stop the production of new blood vessels in cancerous tumors. We do not want cancerous tumor to make new blood vessels because that supplies them with the food to grow. With that in mind, consider what researchers at Fukuoka University in Japan found after they investigated whether fucoidan could counter cancerous tumors through antiangiogenesis. They found that both natural fucoidan and over-sulfated fucoidan both appear to block blood vessel formation “known as angiogenesis” which usually accompanies the growth of malignant tissue in cancerous tumors.

Cutting off a tumor?s blood supply is just one way of fighting cancer. Another way is to get the cancer cells to die through a process called apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Apoptosis occurs naturally in the live cycle of a cell, when cancer begins taking over cells and making them grow wildly out of control, or proliferate, rather than dying at their prescribed time. Fucoidan has been found in several studies to promote apoptosis in cancer cells.

Inflammation plays a role in many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, Alzheimers’s disease, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and many others. Swedish scientists from Lund University in Malmo found that fucoidan inhibits the adhesion molecules known as P and E selectins, appeared to improve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease in mice, and points to the crucial role that this type of selectin-inhibition, may play in the treatment of the disease in humans.

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Spirulina – A Superfood to Help Decrease Radiation Levels

While there is no doubt that the loss of life and immense destruction from last week’s (March 11, 2011) so-called “great”, magnitude 9.0 earthquake, and subsequent tsunami which hit near the east coast of Honshu, Japan is utterly tragic, the ongoing nuclear radiation threat makes the situation even more devastating.  I’m certainly not qualified to comment of the safety or otherwise of nuclear power plants, anyway, many others are having that discussion, so I will talk about something I do know. How superfoods can help out the people living in the contaminated areas.

To look at some history, on 26 April, 1986 a nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian SSR (now Ukraine). It is considered the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, and it is the only one classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

Even now, 25 years after the Chernobyl disaster, four million people in Ukraine and Belarus still live in dangerously
radioactive areas. The water, soil and food over an 11,000 square mile area remains contaminated. Over 160,000 children are victims of radiation poisoning, with birth defects, leukemia, cancer, thyroid disease, anemia, loss of vision and appetite and depressed immune system, now called “Chernobyl AIDS.”

Doctors reported spirulina’s health benefits for child victims of Chernobyl radiation. Spirulina reduced urine radioactivity levels by 50% in only 20 days. This result was achieved by giving 5 grams a day to children at the Minsk, Belarus Institute of Radiation Medicine. The Institute program treated 100 children every 20 days.

An unpublished 1993 report confirmed 1990-91 research, concluding “spirulina decreases radiation dose load received from food contaminated with radionucleides, Cesium-137 and Strontium-90. It is favorable for normalizing the adaptive potential of children’s bodies in conditions of long-lived low dose radiation.”71

Based on testing in 1990, the Belarus Ministry of Health concluded spirulina promotes the evacuation of radionucleides from the human body. No side effects were registered. The Ministry considered this food was advisable for the treatment of people subject to radiation effects, and requested additional donations from the Earthrise Company of California and Dainippon Ink & Chemicals of Japan.72 Previous research in China in 1989 demonstrated a natural polysaccharide extract of spirulina had a protective effect against gamma radiation in mice.74 Subsequent research showed phycocyanin and polysaccharides enhanced the reproduction of bone marrow and cellular immunity.26

In a 1991 study of 49 kindergarten children aged 3 to 7 years old in Beryozova, spirulina was given to 49 children for 45 days. Doctors found T-cell suppressors and beneficial hormones rose, and in 83% of the children, radioactivity of the urine decreased.73

A Russian patent was awarded in 1994 for the use of spirulina as a medical food to reduce allergic reactions from radiation sickness. The patent was based on a study of 270 children living in highly radioactive areas. They had chronic radiation sickness and elevated levels of Immunoglobulin (IgE), a marker for high allergy sensitivity. Thirty five were prescribed 20 tablets per day (about 5 grams) for 45 days. Consuming spirulina lowered the levels of IgE in the blood, which in turn, normalized allergic sensitivities in the body.75
Research continuing through 1999 in Belarus showed immune building, normalization of peroxide lipid oxidation and detoxifying effects of spirulina supplements in children and teenagers. Scientists theorized spirulina may form non-absorbable complexes of radionucleides through analogues such as calcium or potassium and promotes their excretion.

71. Loseva, L.P. and Dardynskaya, I.V. Spirulina- natural sorbent of radionucleides. Research Institute of Radiation Medicine, Minsk,
Belarus. 6th Intl Congress of Applied Algology, Czech Republic, Sep. 9, 1993.
72. Sokolovskiy, V. Corres. from the First Secretary BSSR Mission to the United Nations, May 20, 1991.
73. Belookaya, T. Corres. from Chairman of Byelorussian Committee “Children of Chernobyl” May 31, 1991.
74. Qishen, P. et. al. Radioprotective effect of extract from spirulina platensis in mouse bone marrow cells studied by using the micronucleus
test. Toxicology letters. 1989. 48:165-169.
75. Evets, P. et. al. Means to normalize the levels of immunoglobulin E, using the food supplement spirulina. Grodenski State Medical
Univ. Russian Fed Comm Patents and Trade. Patent (19)RU (11)2005486. Jan. 15, 1994.
76. Loseva, L.P. Spirulina platensis and specialties to support detoxifying pollutants and to strengthen the immune system. Research
Institute of Radiation Medicine, Minsk, Belarus. Presented at 8th Int’l Congress of Applied Algology, Italy Sep. 1999.