Seaweed extract may help people with inflammatory bowel disorders
According to research conducted at the University of Tasmania, the seaweed extract fucoidan may be useful in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disorders like ulcerative colitis. These debilitating disorders can significantly impact patients' quality of life, making it difficult to go about daily activities, and many of the medications used to treat them are associated with negative side effects.
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, examined the effect of treating mice suffering from colitis with fucoidan. The researchers found that the animals who were given fucoidan extract lost about 50 percent less weight than a control group, showing that they were better able to process the food that they consumed.
"We fed these extracts to animals that have an inflamed colon and we were actually quite surprised to see to what extent these extracts were able to normalise the pathology in these animals," said author Professor Nuri Guven in a statement. "We observed that not only were the symptoms in these diseases significantly reduced, we also observed that a large number of bio-markers were normalised."
The next step in the study process will be to test the treatment on humans to work out exactly how the compounds in fucoidan work to reduce gut inflammation.
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