U-Fucoidan: Anti-Cancer Substance
Konbu (Laminaria ssp.) contains a substance that causes cancer cells to self-destruct. It has only been recently discovered in Japan that this substance is U-fucoidan, a complex polysaccharide, one among many polysaccharides found in konbu. In research in Japan, U-fucoidan administered to cancer cells in a laboratory dish were virtually wiped out within 72 hours. The process by which these cells withered away was self-induced, in that the DNA within each of the cancer cells was broken down by digestive enzymes contained in the cells themselves. This process is known by the technical term "apoptosis".
Although U-fucoidan is found in other seaweeds and plants, konbu is particularly rich in this substance. And, very importantly, in order to consume fucoidan in its pure and effective form, one has to eat konbu raw or dried without heating. It is interesting to note that Okinawa, Japan has the lowest cancer mortality rate in Japan where the people eat their konbu mostly, versus other parts of Japan where it is used mostly in cooking.
(Reference: Takara Shuzo Co., Ltd. Biomedical Group, Otsu, Shiga, Japan)
Modifilan contains nothing but the central vein of Laminaria which has been gently dried without heating, and without any chemical sprays or preservatives. Modifilan, unlike plain dried seaweed, contains a much higher percentage of complex polysaccharides or alginates (40%), in which the U-fucoidan is contained.
Alginates are heteropolysaccharides made up of mannuronic and guluronic acids. Modifilan has 40-60% alginates. It is widely known that alginates from brown seaweed offer the best protection from radiation and environmental pollutants. Alginates bind with heavy metals such as lead, mercury and other; radioactive elements: strontium, barium, cesium etc. and are then excreted from the body. Alginates are non-toxic and are not reabsorbed into the rest of the body from the gastrointestinal tract. Alginates do not adversely effect the body’s ability to absorb calcium and other natural minerals.
Benefits of Modifilan
by Leonid Gordin, M.D.
SEAWEEDModifilan is a concentrated extract of the brown seaweed Laminaria japonica. This seaweed is gathered in the clean waters of the northwestern Pacific Ocean. Forty pounds of raw Laminaria japonica is needed to make just one pound of Modifilan. This unique patented technology "semidigests" the tough outerlayer of seaweed fibers exposing, concentrating and making much more bio-available the macro-and micronutrient-dense central vein of the Laminaria.
Although the nutritional and medicinal powers of seaweeds have been known for thousands of years the scientific basis of their health benefits has been established only recently.
One of the most impressive aspects of Modifilan that sets it apart from other types of seaweed products is its very high content of soluble polysaccharides like fucoidan, laminarin and alginate. The former compound is particularly rich in such simple sugars as glucuronic acid, mannose and fucose that give Laminaria its distinctive taste.
The ongoing research into fucoidan has conclusively demonstrated its ability to induce cancer cell apoptosis (programmed cell death) in leukemia, stomach and colon cancer cell lines. This biological data support epidemiological observations that Laminaria is an important factor contributing to the relatively low breast cancer rates reported in Japan.
The technology involved in processing Laminaria japonica preserves and at the same time concentrates this vulnerable thermolabile substance thus making Modifilan one of the richest sources of cancer-fighting fucoidan.
Another polysaccharide concentrated in Modifilan that may have anti-cancer properties is laminarin. It is known that tumor formation and growth require a highly charged extra-cellular matrix. Solid tumors provoke ongoing high-level fibrin leakage from surrounding capillaries. This fibrin clot gets invaded by various cells recruited by solid tumors including fibroblasts and endothelial cells. The former cells lay down a heavily charged matrix throughout the tumor and the later cells participate in tumor angiogenesis (vascularization). Angiogenesis is a prerequisite for tumor expansion and metastasis. It has been shown that laminarin sulfate and fucoidan inhibit the binding of basic fibroblast growth factor (BFGF) to an extra-cellular matrix leading to inhibition of fibrin clot invasion by tumor- recruited fibroblasts and endothelial cells suggesting a novel approach to tumor therapy based on blocking angiogenesis.
Cancer metastasis involves the tumor cell adhesion to host tissue basement membrane followed by tissue invasion facilitated by tumor cell surface and PA (urokinaze-type plasminogen activator) associated plasminogen activation. Fucoidan interferes with cancer cells metastasis (anti-metastatic activity) by inhibition of physical interaction between the tumor cells and basement membrane as well as suppression of the proteolytic cascade of plasminogen activation.
Interaction and organization of cells and tissue in general and tumor and host cells in particular may be mediated by the interactions between cell membrane polysaccharides and the corresponding protein receptor. Fucoidan, a sulfated fucopolysaccharide, inhibits the adhesion process (cell-cell interaction) by blocking lectin-like adhesion molecules (glycoproteins) on cell surfaces and therefore interfering with tumor cell colonization (metastasis).
Another mechanism of antiproliferative (anti-tumor) properties of fucoidan was shown in vitro and in vivo on a cell line derived from a nonsmall-cell human bronchopulmonary carcinoma (particularly chemoresistant tumor). Fucoidan exerted antiproliferative activity with a block observed in the G1 phase of the cell cycle.
It has also been demonstrated that fucoidan acts as a so-called activator of the reticulo-endothelial system, specifically as an enhancer of phagocytosis. This suggests another aspect of antitumor activity of fucoidan related to the activation of macrophage-mediated tumor cell killing.
There are also non-polysaccharide fractions from Laminaria that have been found to have a significant cancer-preventative anti-mutagenic (anti-DNA damage) activity against typical genotoxic substances.
Another promising use of the sulfated polysaccharides fucoidan and laminarin is in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Several mechanisms are involved: the inhibition of smooth muscle cell proliferation (monoclonal hyperplasia) which is an important step in atherogeneses; activation of enzymes involved in the beta-oxidation of fatty acids which can be useful in the prevention and treatment of hyperlipedemia. Laminarin has been shown to have a hypotensive effect. It also exhibits 30% of the anticoagulant activity of heparin.
All of these properties of sulfated polysaccharides make Modifilan clinically applicable in the prevention and treatment of coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, atherosclerosis, cancerogenesis and cancer metastasis.
Another extremely important area of Modifilan application is in the environmental medicine. Polysaccharide laminarin has been shown in four animal species (mice, guineapigs, dogs, and monkeys) to prevent acute radiation sickness and death (about LD90) when administered within 24 hours after radiation exposure. This research suggests that the brown seaweed Laminaria can be clinically useful in the treatment and prevention of the adverse effects of ionizing radiation.
The non-digestible polysaccharide alginate that comprises 50% of Modifilan's total dry weight has the unique ability of binding heavy metals and radioactive substances to its own molecules. As the alginate is non-digestible it is excreted from the body together with toxic compounds. This is particularly important for cadmium and mercury, as these metals are found at dangerously high levels in air, water and food. Alginate can also remove isotopes that have previously been absorbed by the human body from the environment. Even small amounts of radioactive pollution will expose surrounding cells to harmful radioactive emission. The way alginate facilitates the excretion of toxic substances that find their way into the body from the environment can be shown using, as an example, the elimination of radioactive strontium:
Sr 2+ (food)
Sr 2+ (in GI tract) + alginate = strontium alginate feces
Sr 2+ (blood)
Sr 2+ (bones)
A percentage of Strontium molecules stored in the bone structure (or any other toxic substance stored in the tissue) is constantly released and is traveling with the blood stream. As the blood feeds the saliva and bile, part of the released strontium or other toxic metal ends up in the large intestine. Most of the liquid in the large intestine is reabsorbed by the body including the radioactive isotopes and heavy metals which are re-deposited back into the tissue. Alginate can break this process, as toxic substances are bound to the alginate molecules and released from the body with feces. Alginate binds to all heavy metals including lead, mercury, cadmium, cobalt, copper and radium.
Modifilan should be consumed over at least a four-month period to expedite removal of toxic substances stored in the body as a result of previous exposures.
Modifilan is an excellent bio-available source of organic iodine which is extremely helpful in treating thyroid disorders. Also in bio-available forms are the B vitamins, calcium, selenium, chromium, amino acids and many more trace elements. Clinical studies of Modifilan also show it can be effective in lowering cholesterol, triglyceride levels and high blood sugar, aiding digestion and elimination, strengthening hair and nails (including hair re-growth after radiation), and increasing energy.
Vladimir P. Shurlan, M.D.
Orthopaedics, Sport Medicine, And Rehabilitation
July 10, 1999
Pacific Standard Distributors, Inc.