A recent study reveals the anti-inflammatory potential of sea cucumbers. The study is published in the Journal PharmaNutrition. It examined the anti-inflammatory activities of the bio-active compounds found in sea cucumbers. The respective research proved the potential use of sea cucumbers as a treatment for inflammation-related diseases.
Inflammation is a normal body response against foreign invaders. It is a part of the body’s immune response. It indicates that the body is either fighting pathogens or repairing the damage. It is a short-lived condition and diminishes as an injury or infection passes or is healed.
However, inflammation, if lasts longer, becomes a problem. When it persists even after its cause has gone, the condition is said to be chronic. This type of inflammation is called chronic inflammation. It is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and depression etc.
In such a case, the immune system starts to attack the body’s healthy, normal cells because the pathogens have already been killed. Chronic inflammation is also called a silent killer because it doesn’t express obvious symptoms.
Sea cucumbers, specifically, Isostichopus badionotus are used extensively as food. It serves as a popular ingredient in traditional East Asian medicines and offers a variety of potential health benefits.
Sea cucumbers are unusual sea animals with a varying concentration of biologically active compounds. The effects of these components depend upon the species of sea cucumbers and their growth conditions.
The researchers of the study investigated the effects of sea cucumbers, on human health, harvested specifically from the Yucatan coast.
After harvest, the researchers separated the body walls of the animals from the rest of its body parts. These body walls were then processed to obtain sea cucumber extract. The researchers freeze-dried the body walls, ground them into powder, and collected the extract.
These extracts were tested using,
- A hen’s egg test-chorioallantoic membrane (HET-CAM) assay
- A rat feeding trial
- A mouse ear inflammation test
These three methods not only confirmed the anti-inflammatory activity of the extract but also determined its safety and potential as an irritant.
All of the assays proved strong anti-inflammatory activity in the sea cucumber extract. They showed that the extract,
- Suppressed the expression of pro-inflammatory genes
- Disrupted the effects of inflammation on bodily tissues
- Enhanced the expression of anti-inflammatory genes
The results of the study led the researchers to confirm that sea cucumbers from the Yucatan Peninsula have a strong anti-inflammatory capacity. They help to control the inflammatory responses and minimize their effects on the body’s healthy cells.
Sea cucumbers are found in almost all parts of the world. They are not vegetables but sea animals. They usually feed on plankton, algae, and decaying matter. They have tentacles, for feeding, found around their mouths. Sea cucumbers use tube feet for movement. Moreover, they release a sticky substance to stick to surfaces, through their feet. These animals have nerves that allow them to receive information through their skin.
Sea cucumbers exist in both sexes. In order to escape from potential predators, they throw up their internal organs, including their gonads, digestive system, and respiratory organs. However, these body parts have a potential to re-grow.