Looking beyond the terrestrial: The potential of seaweed derived bioactives to treat non-communicable diseases

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Collins, Kenneth G.
Fitzgerald, Gerald F.
Stanton, Catherine
Ross, R. Paul
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Seaweeds are a large and diverse group of marine organisms that are commonly found in the maritime regions of the world. They are an excellent source of biologically active secondary metabolites and have been shown to exhibit a wide range of therapeutic properties, including anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic activities. Several Asian cultures have a strong tradition of using different varieties of seaweed extensively in cooking as well as in herbal medicines preparations. As such, seaweeds have been used to treat a wide variety of health conditions such as cancer, digestive problems, and renal disorders. Today, increasing numbers of people are adopting a “westernised lifestyle” characterised by low levels of physical exercise and excessive calorific and saturated fat intake. This has led to an increase in numbers of chronic Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes mellitus, being reported. Recently, NCDs have replaced communicable infectious diseases as the number one cause of human mortality. Current medical treatments for NCDs rely mainly on drugs that have been obtained from the terrestrial regions of the world, with the oceans and seas remaining largely an untapped reservoir for exploration. This review focuses on the potential of using seaweed derived bioactives including polysaccharides, antioxidants and fatty acids, amongst others, to treat chronic NCDs such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus.
Seaweed , Bioactives , Non-communicable disease , Cancer , Diabetes , Cardiovascular disease , Fucoidan , Short-chain fatty acids , Prebiotics
Collins, K. G., Fitzgerald, G. F., Stanton, C. and Ross, R. P. (2016) 'Looking Beyond the Terrestrial: The Potential of Seaweed Derived Bioactives to Treat Non-Communicable Diseases', Marine Drugs, 14(3), 60 (31pp) doi: 10.3390/md14030060
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