Seaweed Extract Shows Promise For
Arthritis and Joint Related Symptoms
An extract from brown seaweed may reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis
by up to 52 per cent, suggests results from phase I and II clinical
trials from Australia.
Improvements in measures of pain, stiffness, difficulty with
physical activity and overall symptom severity were recorded following
12 weeks of supplementation with a blend of extracts from three
seaweeds, vitamin B6, zinc and manganese, according to findings
published in Biologics: Targets & Therapy.
The joint health market is dominated by glucosamine, which is
extracted from the shell of crabs, lobster and shrimps. Cargill
also markets a non-animal, non-shellfish derived product. The
ingredient is often used in combination with chondroitin sulphate,
extracted from animal cartilage, such as sharks.
According to the Nutrition Business Journal, US sales for these
combined supplements were $810 million (€563 million) in
However, conflicting results from various studies have led to
a questioning of glucosamines and chondroitins efficacy,
leading to the promotion of alternatives, including omega-3 fatty
acids, extracts from egg shell membranes, collagen, and extracts
from pine bark.
If results of the new study, which uses Marinovas Maritech
branded ingredient, are supported by future studies, including
a phase III clinical trial, it could see another alternative enter
the joint health market.
The Maritech ingredient is composed of extract of Fucus vesiculosis
(85 per cent), Macrocystis pyrifera (10 per cent) and Laminaria
japonica (5 per cent) plus vitamin B6, zinc and manganese. Marinova
funded the research.
The small study, which included 12 osteoarthritis sufferers with
an average age of 62, used two doses 100 mg or 1,000 mg
for 12 weeks. Using the internationally-validated COAT (Comprehensive
Osteoarthritis Test) assessment protocol, the researchers found
a dose-dependent response, with the lower dose associated with
an 18 per cent reduction in symptoms, while the higher dose was
associated with a 52 per cent reduction in symptoms.
In addition to the apparent efficacy to reduce the symptoms of
osteoarthritis in a dose-dependent manner, the researchers noted
that the ingredient was also well tolerated.
The efficacy of the preparation now needs to be demonstrated
in a phase III randomized controlled trial (RCT), they concluded.
Commenting on the findings, study co-author and Marinovas
senior scientist Dr Helen Fitton said: A particularly exciting
finding from this trial is that both groups of patients who took
the Maritech seaweed extract felt a significant reduction in pain
after just one week of treatment. These clinical findings have
now created an opportunity for osteoarthritis sufferers to reduce
or replace their drug intake.
Source: Biologics: Targets & Therapy
February 16, 2010