Sea cucumber has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years, but they are relatively obscure in the U.S. This may be soon changing, however, as evidence mounts that sea cucumber extracts can kill cancer cells while stimulating the immune system.
As reported by Ethan Evers, author of The Eden Prescription, previous research on sea cucumber has demonstrated its ability to kill lung, breast, prostate, skin, colon, pancreatic, and liver cancer cells. These extracts have also proven effective in killing leukemia and gioblastoma cells. Looks like we can add yet another food to the list of anti-cancer foods.
Scientists believe a key compound known as frondoside A to be responsible. Frondoside A is a triterpenoid, diverse organic compounds found in the essential oils and oleoresins of plants.
This latest study, published in PLoS One, has confirmed just how powerful frondoside A truly is. Researchers found it to kill 95% of ER+ breast cancer cells, 95% of liver cancer cells, 90% of melanoma cells, and 85-88% of three different types of lung cancer.
As Evers reports:
But the benefits of this compound dont just stop at directly inducing programmed cell death (apoptosis). It also inhibits angiogenesis (the ability of tumors to grow new blood vessels to get their food) and stops cancer metastasizing by impeding cell migration and invasion. Even more intriguing is the ability of frondoside A to activate our immune systems natural killer cells to attack cancer cells. This has been shown for breast cancer in particular but may also apply to all cancers, because it involves the immune system and not cancer cells directly. This may partially explain why frondoside A was so effective at shrinking lung tumors in mice that it rivaled chemo drugs in performance.
When given to mice with non-small cell lung cancer, frondoside A was found to shrink tumors by 40% in only 10 days. Traditional chemo drugs shrunk the tumors by 47 percent, but the risks of chemo treatment are far greater than any side-effects or risks of sea cucumber. (Namely because there are no known risks associated with sea cucumbers). In addition, the amount of frondoside A needed to achieve such results was minisculeless than a single milligram for an adult weighing 165 pounds.
While sea cucumber extracts arent currently offered as a treatment for cancerat least not in your traditional doctors officeyou can find dried and powdered sea cucumber in health stores. It is packaged as a solution to arthritis and similar conditions because of its anti-inflammatory properties ( via naturalsociety.com ).