Ecklonia cava is a special seaweed that grows about 100 feet under the sea off the coasts of Korea and Japan. Scientists in Japan, Korea, and the United States have been studying this marine plant for more than a decade and have found that its extracts offer a variety of health benefits. These benefits are attributed to substances called phlorotannins, which are a type of polyphenol, a potent natural antioxidant derived from plants. Phlorotannins, which are found exclusively in brown seaweed (or brown algae), also have the ability to kill bacteria.
Benefits of Ecklonia cava
Researchers have found that Ecklonia cava extract has a unique molecular structure that makes it much more potent than many other polyphenol extracts. Its structure also allows it to pass through the blood-brain barrier, which means it can reach the brain and have a positive impact on its function. With that in mind, some of the benefits of Ecklonia cava extract include:
- Reduces total cholesterol levels, and in some cases may raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels (the “good” cholesterol)
- Improves blood circulation to the brain and the body
- Enhances mental acuity and memory. The ability of the extract to cross the blood-brain barrier is the key to this benefit. Some experts believe the polyphenols in the extract may help improve memory in several neurodegenerative disorders.
- Helps reduce joint pain and thus improves joint function and mobility
- May help boost the immune system and fight bacterial infections
- May help fight skin cancer, as demonstrated in research performed in mice in an Ohio State University study
- May provide relief for allergies and/or asthma, as shown in recent animal studies in which Ecklonia cava extracts reduced inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in animals with asthma
- Protects against accumulation of beta amyloid plaque in the brain, which is a classic sign of Alzheimer’s disease. The ability of the extract to cross the blood-brain barrier makes this benefit possible.
Taking Ecklonia cava
Extracts of Ecklonia cava are available in supplement form under the trade name Seanol®, which is the standardized natural complex of molecules derived from this brown algae. Currently it is sold as capsules, liquid, and tablets. A typical daily dose is 1,200 mg, although you should follow the dosage recommendations on the label. Always consult with your physician before starting treatment with Ecklonia cava or any other supplements.