Does the ocean hold the secret to stopping diabetic cataracts?

Volume 4    |    Issue 39

Ecklonia Cava, Seanol

On Saturday, I told you about the amazing ability of Ecklonia cava, or brown algae, to lower your blood pressure by a whopping 15%. One of the many causes of high blood pressure is diabetes. Of course, diabetes puts you at risk for a lot of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and cataracts. In fact, it raises your risk of cataracts by about 40%. Fortunately, cataract surgery has come a long way. But it's still better to avoid them altogether. And a recent study shows how Ecklonia cava can help.

In this study, the researchers used extracts from herbs and spices that were high in polyphenols. Phenols are powerful flavonoids that occur naturally in many plant foods. The researchers found that the higher the phenol activity of an extract, the better it worked to prevent cataracts.

The spices tend to have a higher phenol content, so cloves (phenolic levels up to 30% of dry weight) and cinnamon (up to 18%) were some of the most effective. Blueberries, by contrast, have only 5% phenolics by dry weight. This could help explain why cinnamon so effectively improves glucose tolerance. And now this study shows that it also protects you from high glucose damage.

The researchers used only a small number of spices and herbs in the study. But they should have expanded it just a little more to include Ecklonia cava. This powerful nutrient provides powerful protection for vascular disease, inflammation, lipids, glucose, and weight control. And the reason it's so powerful is because of its complex and rich phenolic structure. This nutrient is far richer in phenols than any other known flavonoid. That means it can protect you against diabetic complications, including cataracts, better than any of the other plants studied.

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How does it work so well? Inflammation is one of the biggest complications of diabetes. When you have high blood sugar, it damages your tissues. And damaged tissues become inflamed. Ecklonia cava can help heal those tissues and reduce inflammation. So its protection starts there.

Ecklonia cava also slows a process called glycation, when excess glucose links to proteins in your blood vessels and red cells. Glycation causes thickening, slowing circulation, and reduced oxygen delivery to your cells, including your eyes. So it can lead to cataract formation! Ecklonia cava can help stop this process. And it can do so far better than any of the spices and herbs used in this study.

Remember, the researchers found that the higher the phenol content, the better an extract will inhibit glycation. While I highly recommend taking the spices (cloves, ground Jamaican allspice, cinnamon) and herbs (sage, marjoram, tarragon, rosemary) used in the study, don't stop there. Make sure you're also taking Ecklonia cava. You can find it in Advanced Bionutritionals Alginol. Take two capsules daily.

Your insider for better health,

Steve Kroening

Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.

J Med Food. 2008 June;11(2):275-81.

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