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Seaweed Extracts Show Colon Cancer and Diabetes Prevention Benefits

Extracts taken from edible seaweeds show potential for reducing the risk of diabetes and colon cancer according to a recent study.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Scottish Crop Research Institute and the University of Abertay Dundee and published in the November issue of the journal Food Chemistry.

Edible seaweeds play an important role in the diet of many Eastern countries but are less common in Western dishes. They are high in powerful plant antioxidants called polyphenols and have a number of compounds which have been linked to potential health benefits.

For the study the researchers used extracts from four types of edible seaweed: Ulva, Ascophyllum, Alaria, and Palmaria.

Those extracts were then tested in a lab for their ability to inhibit the growth of cultured colon cancer cells and for their ability to inhibit digestive enzymes to achieve potential anti-diabetic effects.

The researchers found that all of the extracts were effective at inhibiting the colon cancer cells and all of the extracts except those from the ulva seaweed showed potential anti-diabetic properties.

These preliminary findings are promising and according to the researchers future studies will help dive deeper into the active ingredients in seaweed responsible for these benefits.

Research has also shown that seaweed con be effective for a wide range of health benefits beyond diabetes and colon cancer. Previous studies have linked seaweed extracts to boosting the immune system, weight loss and improving liver health.

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