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Mar. Drugs 2016, 14(3), 60; doi:10.3390/md14030060

Looking Beyond the Terrestrial: The Potential of Seaweed Derived Bioactives to Treat Non-Communicable Diseases

1
Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, Cork, Ireland
2
Department of Microbiology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
3
APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Keith B. Glaser
Received: 7 January 2016 / Revised: 19 February 2016 / Accepted: 10 March 2016 / Published: 18 March 2016
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Abstract

Seaweeds are a large and diverse group of marine organisms that are commonly found in the maritime regions of the world. They are an excellent source of biologically active secondary metabolites and have been shown to exhibit a wide range of therapeutic properties, including anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic activities. Several Asian cultures have a strong tradition of using different varieties of seaweed extensively in cooking as well as in herbal medicines preparations. As such, seaweeds have been used to treat a wide variety of health conditions such as cancer, digestive problems, and renal disorders. Today, increasing numbers of people are adopting a “westernised lifestyle” characterised by low levels of physical exercise and excessive calorific and saturated fat intake. This has led to an increase in numbers of chronic Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes mellitus, being reported. Recently, NCDs have replaced communicable infectious diseases as the number one cause of human mortality. Current medical treatments for NCDs rely mainly on drugs that have been obtained from the terrestrial regions of the world, with the oceans and seas remaining largely an untapped reservoir for exploration. This review focuses on the potential of using seaweed derived bioactives including polysaccharides, antioxidants and fatty acids, amongst others, to treat chronic NCDs such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus. View Full-Text
Keywords: seaweed; bioactives; non-communicable disease; cancer; diabetes; cardiovascular disease; fucoidan; short-chain fatty acids; prebiotics seaweed; bioactives; non-communicable disease; cancer; diabetes; cardiovascular disease; fucoidan; short-chain fatty acids; prebiotics
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Collins, K.G.; Fitzgerald, G.F.; Stanton, C.; Ross, R.P. Looking Beyond the Terrestrial: The Potential of Seaweed Derived Bioactives to Treat Non-Communicable Diseases. Mar. Drugs 2016, 14, 60.

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