Health Benefits of Ecklonia Cava: Is It The New ‘Superfood’?
Would you consider taking a form of brown seaweed to benefit your health? That’s what millions of Japanese people are consuming on a regular basis who also happen to have the longest human life expectancy in the world.
Coincidence or not, the scientific research is just coming out and one form of edible brown seaweed is leading the charge – Ecklonia Cava.
Ecklonia cava, or brown algae, is a superfood boasting many antioxidants and other wellness-boosting compounds, capable of treating everything from diabetes to hair loss and inflammation.
But what is it, and can it really deliver everything that it promises? Joseph Gregorio, the founder and editor of CheckMeowt takes a closer look and shares the facts to find out.
What is Ecklonia Cava?
Ecklonia cava is a species of algae found off the coasts of South East Asia, namely Japan, Korea, and China. It can also be consumed as a dietary supplement and is said to treat a variety of health problems.
Studies show that Ecklonia cava contains a number of compounds with antioxidant and antibacterial effects. Not only that, it also contains phlorotannins, a class of compounds that helps with inflammation and boasts medicinal properties.
Ecklonia Cava is often hailed as a natural remedy for the following health conditions:
- Hair Loss
But if that wasn’t enough,
Ecklonia Cava can also help enhance your performance both inside and outside of the gym, helping you reach your goals. This includes helping with the following:
- Increased Endurance
- Reducing Pain
- Boosting Testosterone
- Improving Sleep
Benefits of Ecklonia Cava
Ecklonia Cava is rich in polyphenols which have been shown to be effective at fighting multiple pathologies of diabetes.
In particular, Ecklonia Cava can reduce the symptoms of type 1 diabetes by activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and Protein Kinase B (Akt) pathways, where both play a key role in cellular energy homeostasis.
In one study, this powerful marine brown algae was found to reduce excess blood glucose, oxidative stress and normalise insulin levels associated with diabetes. This was down to isolating the compound dieckol which increases antioxidative enzyme activity in insulinoma cells.
Ecklonia Cava has impressive anti-inflammatory effects and may be used to help suppress negative or harmful pathways developing that can lead to inflammation. This is mainly due to containing phlorotannins which have antiseptic or therapeutic like properties.
In addition to phlorotannins, fucothanxin, a type of carotenoid found in brown seaweed like Ecklonia Cava is also shown to have good antioxidant properties that can offer protection to cells and protect against oxidation-induced damage.
Other studies have also confirmed seaweed extracts have good antioxidant activities that can benefit your overall health and well-being..
Ecklonia Cava can promote hair growth and may tackle hair loss. For example in one study, a control group were given 10 μg (or 0.01mg) of purified polyphenols from Ecklonia Cava which enhanced the proliferation of Human Dermal Papilla Cells (HDPCs) by 30%.
Additionally, purified polyphenols found in Ecklonia Cava were found to increase the human hair shaft over a 9 day period by more than 30%.
Nevertheless, when it comes to hair loss, 5-alpha reductase is an important enzyme to consider which is predominantly involved in steroid metabolism.
5-alpha reductase is present in small amounts in human muscle and converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Testosterone affects lean body tissue, muscle size, muscle strength, and sexual function in men.
However, excessive DHT in the body can lead to this enzyme interacting with hair follicles, making them weaker over time and eventually leading to hair loss in men (alopecia).
Studies have shown that Ecklonia Cava can significantly reduce the level of 5-alpha reductase activity in the body (due to high levels of dieckol) which can help stimulate hair growth and reduce alopecia.
Ecklonia Cava is an effective procirculatory agent that may contribute to improved endurance during high intensity exercise.
In one study, twenty men aged 18 – 23 participated in a trial with some being given an Ecklonia Cava supplemented-drink (ECS) and some given a placebo. Each group performed 2 endurance-based exercises with a 1 week break in between with the participants required to drink the ECS or the placebo 30 minutes prior.
Upon completion of the trial, with the researchers measuring time to completion, VO2 max and post-exercise blood glucose and lactate levels, they found that the group who drank the ECS increased their time to exhaustion compared with the placebo group as well had higher VO2 max, higher blood glucose levels and lower post-exercise blood lactate levels.
Ecklonia Cava may have pain-reducing effects and help those with injury to reduce or eliminate pain.
One study was carried out to investigate whether Ecklonina Cava extracts were effective in displaying analgesic effects in incisions and nerve injury post-surgery. After 15 days of continual treatment of 300mg/kg of Ecklonina Cava extracts, the treated group displayed a significant response to the treatment through alleviated SNI-induced hypersensitivity compared to the control group.
The study concluded that Ecklonia Cava extracts have potential analgesic effects in the case of post-operative and neuropathic pain.
When combined with Tribulus terrestris and water-soluble Chitosan, Ecklonia Cava can help improve erectile dysfunction and liido in men suffering from low testoserone
For instance, a study which looked at three groups of men aged between 18 – 45 years old (group A), 45 – 59 years old (group B) and 60 years + (group C) were treated with a combination of Ecklonia
bicyclis, Tribulus terrestris and water-soluble chitosan oligosaccharide who each displayed mild to low serum testosterone levels.
Each group was treated over a 30 day period.
After the treatment, each group displayed significantly higher levels serum testosterone where this combination might represent a safe and effective option on the improvement of libido and erectile
function in men with lower than average testosterone levels.
The polyphenols found in Ecklonia Cava are effective potentiators for inducing sleep.
In one study, the compound Triphlorethol A found in Ecklonia Cava was found to reduce sleep latency and increase the amount of non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREMS) without impacting rapid eye movement sleep (REMS). However, subjects would need to have at least 50 mg/kg of Triphlorethol A for this to take effect.
Additionally, in animal subjects, Triphlorethol A supplementation was also able to replicate the effects of traditional sleeping tablets (ambien), increasing the quantity of sleep without adversely effecting the quality of sleep.
Whilst a lot of the research is still in its infancy, the benefits of Ecklonia Cava are undeniable.
From reducing inflammation, diabetic symptoms and reversing hair loss as well as assisting athletic performance by boosting endurance and testosterone and promoting better sleep and reducing pain, Ecklonia Cava is certainly something worth taking on a daily basis to help you live a better life and move you one step closer towards your goals.