The sea cucumber is a marine creature that lives all over the world on the ocean floor and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years, but they are relatively obscure in America.
However, this may be soon changing, as evidence shows that sea cucumber extracts can kill cancer cells while stimulating the immune system.
Previous research on sea cucumber has demonstrated its ability to kill pancreatic, breast, prostate, lung, colon, skin, and liver cancer cells. These extracts have also proven effective in killing leukemia cells and glioblastoma cells.
Nutritionally, sea cucumber has an impressive profile of valuable nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron.
Scientists believe that the key compound responsible for the cancer-killing activity of sea cucumber is a triterpenoid compound called Frondoside A.
The latest study published in Plos One has confirmed just how powerful Frondoside A truly is.
Researchers found it to kill 95 percent of melanoma cells, 95 percent of ER+ breast cancer cells, 90 percent of liver cancer cells, and 85 to 88 percent of three different types of lung cancer cells.
The benefits of this anticancer compound don’t just stop at directly causing programmed cell death (apoptosis). It also inhibits the formation of blood vessels (angiogenesis) that supply nutrients to tumors and prevents it to metastasize.
Even more intriguing is that Frondoside A activates the immune system’s natural killer (Nk) cells to attack cancer cells. All this may explain why Frondoside A is so effective, at shrinking tumors.
When given to experimental animals with lung cancer, Frondoside was found to shrink tumors by 40 percent, in only 10 days. On the other site, traditional chemotherapeutic drugs shrink the tumors by 47 percent, but the risk of the treatments with chemotherapy is far greater than any side-effects or risks of sea cucumber (there are no known risks associated with sea cucumber).
While sea cucumber extracts aren’t currently offered as a treatment for cancer, you can find dried and powdered sea cucumber in health stores. It is packaged as a solution to arthritis and similar conditions because of its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Other health benefits of sea cucumber
Easing joint pain
Sea cucumber contains high levels of chondroitin sulfate, a major component of cartilage. The loss of chondroitin sulfate is associated with arthritis and taking sea cucumber extract may help to reduce the joint pain associated with this condition. Sea cucumber also contains natural anti-inflammatory compounds.
Improving gum disease
A toothpaste made with sea cucumber extract was shown to improve healing in patients with gum disease because of the wound-healing, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of sea cucumber.