Sea Vegetables and Cancer


As stated above, sea vegetables have been used for centuries in Japanese and Chinese medicine for treatment of cancer. Recent scientific research has started to verify this traditional usage. For example, a study in 1995 demonstrated anti-tumor activity in kelp (Ascophyllum and Fucus ) against leukemia. Certain compounds in kombu (Laminaria japonica) and wakame (Undaria pinnatifida) have been shown to have anti-mutagenic activity. Fucons (sulfated polysaccharides) extracted from brownsea veggies – the “kelps” – have been shown to inhibit cell growth, which means they may be able to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. In fact, a Japanese investigation duplicated a traditional Chinese medicinal formula using kelp (Laminaria species) and achieved reduction in size and number of tumors in laboratory experiments.Dr.

Jane Teas, one of the top researches of seaweed in the world, and affiliated with the Interdisciplinary Programs and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, published a paper in 1981 which documented reasons why the consumption of seaweed, particularly the kelps, might be a factor in the lower rate of breast cancer found in postmenopausal women in Japan. Dr. Teas recently published a double blind trial with 15 postmenopausal women, which concluded that consumption of seaweed had a positive effect against the prevention of breast cancer.

A study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research International Conference on Frontiers in Basic Cancer Research has found a mechanism of action by which fucoidan(referenced in issue 12), a sulfated polysaccaride extracted from brown seaweeds, exerts chemopreventive effects. Fucoidan has been reported to exhibit anticancer activities in numerous other in-vitro and in vivo studies. In this study, fucoidan from Laminaria cichorioides, a type of brown algae, was shown to inhibit neoplastic cell transformation induced by epidermal growth factor or 12-Otetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (a tumor promoter), but had less cytotoxic effect on mouse epidermal cells. Extensive testing demonstrated that fucoidan directly interacted with epidermal growth factor, apparently preventing the binding of epidermal growth factor to its cellsurface receptor. This could explain fucoidan’s anticarcinogenic effect.

Fucoidan is an amazing compound of seaweed and has been extensively studied; this is just one study. A basic search on PubMed as of the date of this publication shows 854 studies on fucoidan. Dr. Ryan Drum, Ph.D. who got his Ph.D in Phycology (the study of plants), states that fucoidan, “is … extremely anti-proliferative against cancer cells. It also interferes with every stage of viral attack: cell attachment, cell penetration, and intracellular virion production. “Dr. Ryan also stated: “all human cells studied are found to have receptor sites for Fucose, the end-group sugar on fucoidan.”.


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