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Medical potential for seaweed extract

Medical potential for seaweed extract
Photo: Medical potential for seaweed extract
A seaweed extract reduced symptoms of an inflammatory bowel disorder in mice study, say Tasmanian researchers.

A seaweed extract has the potential to combat inflammatory bowel disorders, say University of Tasmania researchers.

Their new mice study showed the oral use of fucoidan significantly reduced the symptoms and the pathology of acute colitis.

"Inflammatory bowel disorders such as ulcerative colitis can be debilitating and lead to a significantly decreased quality of life," the scientists said.

Their study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, said current treatments for ulcerative colitis are often costly and may have limited efficacy.

Fucoidan was found to significantly reduce underlying intestinal inflammation, and reduce weight loss, a common and often undesirable colitis side effect, by 50 per cent.
"Coupled with the possibility of oral delivery, these findings certainly justify further investigations into fucoidan as a therapeutic alternative for patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disorders," said the university's associate professor Nuri Guven.

The fucoidan compounds tested in the study were developed by Tasmanian biotechnology company Marinova Pty Ltd, which will now sponsor further gut-health studies over the next two years.

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