Sea Cucumbers, belonging to the class Holothuroide, are innocuous creatures that inhabit the seas worldwide. They live on the sandy seafloor and around coral reefs. There are more than one thousand species of sea cucumbers, ranging in size from a few centimetres (one inch) to two metres (several feet). As their name would suggest they have a soft body the shape and texture of a cucumber. Sea Cucumbers have no brain, but have developed a surprising defense mechanism called evisceration: they can expel most of their internal organs (which regrow) to ward off and confuse predators!
Deep Blue Health Sea Cucumber is sourced from the waters of the mighty Pacific Ocean. Our capsules contain 100% sea cucumber from the Holothuria atra family. Valued as a nutritious food source long before its healing properties were understood sea cucumber have been an integral part of Asian cuisine for centuries. Contrary to what their name suggests these invertebrate animals are sand dwelling creatures with extraordinary healing powers. Modern science now recognises that certain nutrients are essential for health. Glucosamine Sulphate and Chondroitin are naturally occurring compounds which are some of the building blocks of connective tissue, cartilage and synovial fluid in healthy joints. Triterpenoids are gaining much attention for therapeutic properties and being investigated for their potential in treating many chronic diseases.
Marine sources of Triterpenoids include marine sponges, marine algae and sea cucumbers. In a journal article published in Molecules (July 2013), entitled ‘Triterpenoids of Marine Origin as Anti-Cancer Agents’ the authors state that: “…triterpenoids are known to exhibit cytotoxicity against a variety of tumor cells…” Sea Cucumber in particular contains at least four different Triterpenoids which exhibit properties against breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and leukaemia.
From a nutritional view-point, sea cucumbers are an ideal tonic and have an impressive profile of high-value nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin), and minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
Sea cucumber protein, is rich in glycine, glutamic acid and arginine. Glycine can stimulate production and release of IL-2 and B cell antibody and thus contributes to enhancing phagocytosis. Glycine and glutamic acid are essential components for cells to synthesize glutathione which can stimulate activation and proliferation of NK cell. Arginine can enhance cell immunity by promoting activation and proliferation of T-cell. Due to these amino acid components, sea cucumbers have remarkable function in immune regulation. A major proportion of the sea cucumber body wall protein is comprised of collagen. Collagen is recognized as a valued component in the connective tissues, due to its usefulness and specific distribution.
Another group of functional substances namely, mucopolysaccharides and chondroitins, have also been identified in sea cucumbers. It has been seen that people suffering from arthritis and connective tissue disorders, are often devoid of these compounds. As such, sea cucumber-derived chondroitin sulphate can be used to ease joint-pain and arthritis like disorders. It is for this reason that about 3 g/day serving of the dried sea cucumbers is medicinally effective in reducing arthralgia to a significant level1. The mechanism of action of chondroitin sulphate is considered to be similar to that of glucosamine sulphate; the latter compound is currently in use as therapeutic agent for easing osteoarthritis.
In addition to having a high nutritious value, sea cucumbers have long been recognised in the folk medicine system of Asian countries. An impressive range of medicinal health functions, for example, nourishing the body, tonifying kidney, treatment of stomach ulcers, asthma, hypertension, rheumatism and wound healing have been associated with sea cucumber. Most importantly, the potential medicinal benefits and multiple biological properties of sea cucumbers are now gaining recognition in modern biomedical research. Scientists believe that sea cucumber extracts are beneficial for human health in different ways and can help reduce the growth of cancer cells. Although there are studies underway, nothing has been completed on humans at this stage. For more detailed information see the US Library of National Medicine web page.
In addition to health medicinal uses, interestingly, there is much demand for sea cucumber as aphrodisiac food to improve sexual performance.