Excerpts from the book: Fucoidan
Fucoidan, The Ocean's Gift: Many people donít fully understand the extreme importance of controlling free radical cellular damage in the body. A free radical is an unstable oxygen molecule that must find another electron to make itself complete. In order to do this, the free radical begins randomly bombarding the bodyís cells, resulting in injury to the surrounding cell tissue.
The damage from free radicals can be countered by antioxidants. Antioxidants stop free radical damage by donating an electron without becoming a damaging free radical themselves. The problem in todayís society is that because of the lack of proper nutrition and moderate exercise, the number of free radicals in our bodies vastly outnumbers the number of antioxidants. This leads to premature aging and chronic disease.
The answer to this dilemma is to supplement our diets with plant-derived substances that contain antioxidants. However, not all supplements are made the same. Some supplements contain mostly filler or they contain impure plant products. Sometimes, the plants from which the supplements are made were grown in soil that lacks the necessary vitamins and minerals to create a plant rich in antioxidants. Again, Limu Moui does not suffer from soil deficiencies. It contains the antioxidants necessary to help prevent the negative effects sustained from free radical damage. Researchers in Madrid, Spain, showed that ingredients in brown seaweed exhibited great capacity as a natural antioxidant-even greater than extracts from green and red sea plants.
Fucoidan in Limu Moui
Limu Moui has been a vital source of food and commerce for many coastal peoples. Not surprisingly, some of these people credit the plant for their long lives. Many Tongans, for instance, stay robust, full of life and vigor, without suffering the effects of disease normally associated with aging. If you were to ask for their secret, chances are the Tongan people would direct you to Limu Moui as the reason for their good health.
In Japan, sea plant dishes like kombu and wakame are well known, but a lesser known dish call mozuku shares a common characteristic with Limu Moui. The people in the regions of Japan where mozuku is used enjoy longer lives and lower incidences of cancer when compared to counterparts in other parts of Japan.
Recent studies actually verify these phenomenona. Japanese scientists have isolated a substance in Limu Moui that promotes healthy living, seems to slow down the aging process, and fights a myriad of diseases. This substance is called fucoidan. A large number of recent scientific studies have shown fucoidan fights against cancer formation, development, and growth. Other research also indicates that fucoidan can be used for many other ailments common in todayís world.
What is Fucoidan?
Fucoidan is a complex polysaccharide composed largely of fucopyranoside and natural sulphate. Fucoidan also has trace elements of galactose, xylose, and glucuronic acid-three different types of sugar molecules.
But what does that mean? Simply pt, fucoidan is a member of the carbohydrate family. Gucoidan is a polysaccharide. That means it is made up of several different polymers that can be broken down by hydrolysis. Fucoidan molecules also demonstrate a tendency to bond with sulphate groups. Research indicates that the higher the sulphate group-count in a plant, the higher its therapeutic potential.
Found in the cell walls of Limu Moui, fucoidan gives the sea plant its slippery texture. This moisture barrier protects the algae, even when it is exposed to strong sunlight. This barrier allows the brown sea plant to survive in itís harsh environment.
It just so happens that the body uses the different parts of fucoidan regularly. One of its components, galactose, for example is a sugar. Other of its components, such as xylose and glucuronic acid, are found in the make-up of cell walls. In fact, the components of fucoidan are so good for the body that Dr. Kyosuke Owa, a Japanese research scientist, compares it to motherís milk for its healing anti-bodies.
For the infant, a motherís breast milk provides an inexperienced immune system with the more experienced defense cells borrowed from the motherís immune system. This exposure to the experienced defense cells helps newborn babies to develop a strong immune system to fight off the diseases.
According to Dr. Owa, fucoidan contains the same types of antibodies found in human motherís milk. This makeup provides essential nutrients to boost the immune system. Dr. Owaís research explains that fucoidan stimulates the production of immune cells, providing the body with a stronger defense against invading bodies like bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and even cancer.
The traditional use of Limu Moui for its curative powers attests to fucoidanís abilities. Island and coastal inhabitants have used this sea plant as a topical ointment and as an ingested treatment for illness. Fucoidan has been shown to help with the following functions:
- Enhance immunity
- Relieve stomach disorders
- Fight allergies
- Improve and support liver function
- Inhibit blood clotting
- Fight against free radicals
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Promote healthy skin
- Decrease high blood pressure
- Stabilize blood sugar levels
Reaching a definitive consensus concerning the precise nature of fucoidan has proved difficult. Fucoidanís complex nature, and the difficulty of obtaining pure samples, have contributed to the prevention of reaching such a consensus. However, the Biomedical Research Laboratories of Takara Shuzo and the Research Institute for Glycotechnology Advancement have overcome the obstacle of obtaining pure strains of fucoidan, thus enabling studies of its healing properties. About 4 percent of the total dry weight of Limu Moui is fucoidan. Once it has been extracted, fucoidan looks like an off-white to yellow powder.
Diabetes and Kidney Disease
Diabetes is a disease in which the human body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert food into energy. Beta cells in the pancreas make the insulin. The exact cause of diabetes is a mystery. What is not a mystery is that modern lifestyles aggravate the disease, due to the lack of proper diets and exercise. There is also a genetic diabetic factor that there is no way of preventing or predicting.
There are tow major types of diabetes-Type 1 and Type 2. In the body of a Type 1 diabetic, the pancreas does not produce any insulin. This type of diabetes is seen most often in children and young adults. People with Type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections to stay alive. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5 to 10 percent of diabetics. In the body of a Type 2 diabetic, the pancreas is unable to make enough, or properly use insulin. This is the most common form of the disease. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of diabetics. The number of people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes is on the rise.
The complications form both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are numerous. The disease can affect nearly every system in the body. For example, diabetics have a higher risk of eye damage, feet and skin problems, heart and blood vessel malfunction, kidney disease, nervous system problems, and dental decay.
The complications arise from the fact that a diabeticís blood sugar levels are never consistent. The best way to control diabetes is to try and keep blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. This is usually accomplished through insulin shots and diet control. The use of a supplement such as fucoidan that promotes normal blood sugar levels may also help. Any diabetic using any type of health supplement should always do so under the supervision of his or her physician.
French researchers have discovered that polysaccharides (from fucoidan) in sea plants found in fucoidan positively impact blood sugar and insulin responses in laboratory animals. By treating the animals with these polysaccharides they were able to observe a ďdramatically reduced glucose absorption.Ē This study suggest that fucoidan slowed the absorption of glucose from the intestines into the blood stream. This information may indicate the use of fucoidan in dealing with blood sugar-related diseases such as diabetes.
As mentioned earlier, kidney disease is greatly aggravated by diabetes. Increases in the number of people developing kidney failure appear to parallel the rise in diabetes, which is the leading cause of kidney failure. More then 8 million Americans have seriously reduced kidney function. Sadly, the number diagnosed with kidney failure has doubled each decade for the last two decades and will likely continue to do so.
Healthy kidneys help clean the bodyís blood supply and help to ensure overall health in the body. The Department of Medicine at the Medical University of Warsaw, Poland, conducted a study on acute renal failure. They discovered that the administration of fucoidan significantly increase postishemic renal blood flow. This increased blood flow shows that fucoidan may have a renoprotective, kidney-protecting, activity.