Seaweed Extract Seanol Improves Heart Health

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Mood & Memory
Last Reviewed 02/24/2014

Seaweed Extract Seanol Improves Heart Health

Have you ever wished for a wonder supplement? Many researchers consider the seaweed extract Seanol® to be as close as we’ve come. Why? Seanol is an antioxidant that’s about 100 times more powerful than other antioxidants. In fact, it’s one of the world’s top free-radical fighters, helping to rid your body of harmful free radicals that are at the root of aging and heart disease.

Seanol is a standardized seaweed extract of natural plant compounds, called phenols, from the edible Asian red-brown algae, Ecklonia cava. This form of seaweed extract grows deep in the waters off Japan and South Korea. Scientists carefully harvest the seaweed extract by hand then dry it naturally to protect its nutrient content. In fact, the name “Seanol” comes from the source of the compounds — the sea.

More than a decade of research has resulted in dozens of studies supporting Seanol’s powerful health-promoting benefits. Studies have shown that the seaweed extract helps to lower LDL cholesterol, increase protective HDL cholesterol, decrease triglycerides as much as 18 mg/dl, and enhance joint flexibility.

The Benefits of Seaweed Extract

I’ve personally experienced Seanol’s anti-inflammatory effect, noticing a reduction in pain after bouts of intense skiing. From the heart health perspective, the research demonstrates that Seanol inhibits antiplasmin, a protein associated with thick blood, and angiotensin-converting enzyme, which contributes to blood vessel constriction and hypertension.

What’s more, the seaweed extract’s antioxidant activity has been shown to pack a far greater effect against oxidative free-radical damage—which contributes to numerous chronic diseases—than land-based plant antioxidants.

One particular benefit, as seen in animal studies, relates to reduced free-radical damage generated by X-ray radiation. Such radiation damage is known to have a negative impact on DNA, RNA, and proteins.

When it comes to improving your circulation, Seanol effectively combats peroxynitrites, a class of free radicals that are toxic to endothelial and smooth muscle arterial cells. This is important because the cells in the endothelial lining generate nitric oxide, which is what keeps your arteries open, relaxed and healthy. Plus, it’s hypothesized that Seanol itself helps to regenerate nitric oxide.

How Does Seanol Work in the Body?

To understand how seaweed extract Seanol benefits your health, it’s important to understand the role of antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that protect your cells from the effects of free radicals in pollution, chemicals in our foods and sunlight. Even our bodies themselves produce harmful free radicals as a natural byproduct of our normal bodily functions.

The power of an antioxidant rests in its structure, which is made up of rings. Polyphenols use the rings to capture stray electrons from harmful free radicals and neutralize them. The more rings a polyphenol has, the better it works.

Most land-based antioxidants have three interconnected rings. But Seanol is a far more powerful “trapping machine” for disarming harmful free radicals—with a whopping eight interconnected rings. That's exactly why seaweed extract beats the free-radical scavenging ability of most antioxidants by 10-100 times.

Seanol also has other advantages over land-based antioxidants. Most antioxidants are water soluble so they work outside your cells, giving you just some of the protection you need. But because Seanol is 40% lipid (fat) soluble, it’s able to work inside the cells as well.  

What’s more, because Seanol seaweed extract is fat soluble it stays in your body longer. The half-life of Seanol compounds is up to 12 hours, compared with 30 minutes for water-soluble polyphenols.

What Scientific Studies Say About Seanol

More than $35 million research dollars and almost 20 years of study support the use of Seanol. An extensive battery of scientific tests (in-vitro, in-vivo animal model tests, and human clinical studies) offers evidence of the seaweed extract’s effectiveness.

For example, in one study, participants were given 600 mg of Seanol seaweed extract a day for eight weeks. At the end of the study, there was a significant drop in LDL, triglycerides and total cholesterol. Plus, levels of protective HDL cholesterol increased significantly.

A double-blind trial showed that those taking 600 mg of Seanol daily for 12 weeks experienced a greater reduction in everyday aches and pains than those taking the placebo.

How to Make Seaweed Extract Work for You

Clearly, there’s a lot to like about Seanol and the red-brown seaweed from which it comes. So, eat this tasty vegetable as often as you can. You may also want to consider supplementing with 720 to 1,440 mg of Seanol to maintain general heart health—and total body health.

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