Please note: The following information is intended as a summary of scientific research regarding the treatment and prevention of cancer with seaweed for pets. We despise the practice of exploiting ill pets or people through the offering of “miracle cures”. It isn’t our intent to give anyone false hope, but rather to inform you of the proven potential of seaweed in the fight against cancer (references provided at the end of this post). If your pet is suffering from cancer, we encourage you to discuss the use of seaweed with your veterinarian before adding it to his or her diet, especially if there are other medical issues present.
To observe Pet Cancer Awareness Month, we’re sharing some of our extensive research into the anti-cancer properties of seaweed. Many studies have been done on both humans and animals to determine the effect of seaweed on cancer prevention and treatment. There has been no indication that the study results are species-dependent. The cancers humans suffer from are very similar in pets, and we respond to treatment in much the same way. In other words, if it works on humans it can work on pets and vice-versa. Pre-existing medical problems aside, seaweed is safe for all pets including dogs, cats, horses, cattle, sheep, most bird species, and fish.
Seaweed Science for Pet Cancer Prevention & Treatment
Japan has been a research leader and the subject of cancer research in regards to seaweed consumption. The Japanese consume large amounts of seaweed and have a low rate of cancer. Even with a higher number of smokers, lung cancer is considerably less prevalent in Japan. They also report markedly lower rates of other cancers. While many seaweed studies have been in Japan, the Harvard School of Public Health has also concluded that cancer growth can be prevented and quite often sent into remission when seaweed is 5% of the daily diet.
Several components found in various seaweed species have been found to protect against cancer, including lymphoma (common in dogs and cats). Each component tackles cancer in different ways, including:
- Inhibition of cancer-cell multiplication and attachment
- Preventing the production of blood vessels in tumors to arrest growth
- Prevention of free radical damage
- Immune system stimulation
- Preventing Metastasis
- Lowering blood glucose levels (sugar acts as a fuel for cancer growth)
- Helps to balance the body’s pH (cancer thrives in an acidic environment)
All seaweeds contain anti-cancer properties, while also providing premium nutrition and protection against bacterial and viral infections. However, each seaweed species or color group offers it’s own active components, while others share the same component but contain more of it.
- All seaweed species offer cancer-fighting selenium, but Nori (a red seaweed) is the best source of it.
- All seaweeds are a good source of anti-cancer alginates, but brown seaweeds (such as Kelp) are particularly high in algin.
- All seaweeds are excellent sources of lignans, which may prevent estrogen-dependent cancers, but brown seaweed is very high in lignans.
Most of the cancer research has been done using brown seaweed and its extracts. Therefore, many of the anti-cancer benefits are attributed to Kelp. There have been studies on other color groups, however, all with impressive results that the scientific community is only beginning to understand. It’s clear that ingesting a variety of seaweeds offers the most diverse protection.
Fighting Pet Cancer with Brown Seaweed
Brown seaweed species (such as Kelp, A. Nodosum, and Sargassum) have been extensively studied in the prevention and treatment of cancer. The primary anti-cancer properties identified in brown seaweeds are lignan, fucoidan, sulfated fucans, L-tryptophan, and iodine.
Brown seaweed has been found to increase macrophage activity to make cancer cells identifiable to the immune system. The fucoidan component has caused the most excitement because it boosts the immune system response so it can destroy the cancer and prevent new growth. In studies, cancer cells treated with fucoidan extract have been completely destroyed within 72 hours. Fucoidan has also demonstrated potential in preventing the spread of cancer by interfering with the replication of cancer cells.
Dr. Ando Yoshiro has worked extensively with fucoidan extracts in Japan at the National Kyushu Cancer Center. He has successfully treated well over 500 cancer patients with fucoidan, many diagnosed as terminal. The patients completely recovered in an average of two to four months with no side effects.
In studies, fucoidan had an impressive success rate of 75+% in the elimination of cancer or reduction in tumor size by a minimum of 50%. This rate includes tough cancers like lymphoma, ovarian and pancreatic. Fucoidan’s success rate with stomach, lung and esophageal cancer, as well as leukemia, was almost 85%.
Fighting Pet Cancer with Red Seaweed
P. hornaminyahae, a red seaweed, contains cancer-killing cytotoxin. C. serratus contains bromophycolide, which kills cancer cells by effectively triggering their natural death prematurely. The high selenium content in Nori has also been proven to prevent cancer.
Fighting Pet Cancer with Green Seaweed
Ulva lactuca (Sea Lettuce) was identified in a French study as a source of oligosaccharides, which inhibited the multiplication of cancer cells and prevented metastasis.
The Cancer-Fighting Properties in all Seaweed
All seaweeds may offer protection from cancer inadvertently. For example, the sodium alginate present in all seaweeds binds toxins and chemicals, which allows the body to rid itself of them before they can cause cancer. Proven enhancement of the immune system, bio-available nutrition, stabilizing the body’s pH, and lowering blood sugar are just a few of the other identified benefits of seaweed for cancer patients.
What about all of those heavy metals and arsenic?
Generally, the alarm bells are set off by those who don’t fully understand bio-availability and binding. If you ask anyone who does, they’ll tell you that just because seaweed contains substances, doesn’t mean a human or animal will digest and absorb them. Seaweed is it’s own detoxifier and it has all kinds of room to bind other toxins in your body along with it. Once bound, they leave the body along with other indigestible items, such as fiber.
It is virtually impossible to eat enough seaweed to reach toxic levels when it’s harvested from reasonably clean waters. It’s important to know where your seaweed comes from as some waters are more polluted than others, but if you’ve done that you have nothing to worry about. If you’re still concerned, you can enjoy some of the anti-cancer properties of brown seaweed with fucoidan extract (see below). To ensure total heavy metal and toxin elimination, add Calcium Montmorillonite Clay to the diet.
Feeding Seaweed to Pets
Seaweed can be mixed into wet food or baked into homemade treats. I have a spice shaker filled with mixed powdered seaweed and add a dash to food. If your pets object to the taste, mask it with their favorite foods and include attractants.
Where to Get It
It’s crucial to select reliable sources of top quality, human-grade seaweed that has been gently processed to preserve all active components.
Due to the potential of many unidentified cancer-fighting properties, we prefer to ingest and feed whole seaweed in a gently dried, high-quality form. We ingest the same mixed seaweed powder and flakes that our pets eat, usually mixed into other food. Most pets require very little, so a small bag lasts for a long time.
You can also purchase some seaweed extracts that provide single components such as fucoidan, if you prefer. If you’re treating cancer, you will want to purchase supplements that are at least 70% fucoidan, such as the popular Life Extension Organic Fucoidan (85%).
??? Have you explored natural treatments for pet cancer? Please share your experience in the comments below.
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Schechter, Steven R. Fighting Radiation and Chemical Pollutants With Foods, Herbs and Vitamins: Documented Natural Remedies That Boost Your Immunity and Detoxify. 1990.
Fucans, but not fucomannoglucuronans, determine the biological activities of sulfated polysaccharides from Laminaria saccharina brown seaweed. Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale per la Bio-Oncologia (CINBO), Italy. 2011.
Aceves, C. et al. Is Iodine a Gatekeeper of the Integrity of the Mammary Gland? 2005.
García-Ríos, Virginia. Polysaccharides Composition from Tropical Brown Seaweeds. 2012.
Arica, M.Y. et al. Alginates Bind Heavy Metals. 2004.
Itoh, H. et al. Immunological Analysis of Inhibition of Lung Metastases by Fucoidan prepared from Brown Seaweed Sargassum thunbergii. 1995.
Liu, J. M. et al. Fucoidan Studied in Breast Cancer. 2000.
Wang, Hui. Seaweed Polysaccharides with Anticancer Potential. 2008.
Lamela, M. et al. Hypoglycemic Activity of Several Seaweed Extracts. 1989.
Mytar, B. et al. Fucoidan’s Role in Macrophage Stimulation. 2004.
Brownlee, Iain. The Potential Health Benefits Of Seaweed And Seaweed Extract. 2012.
Okai, Y. et al. Identification of Anti-Mutagenic Substances in an Extract of Edible Red Algae, Porphyra tenera. 1996.
Tokudome, S. Seaweed and Cancer Prevention. Japanese Journal of Cancer Research. 2001.
Yamamoto, I. et al. Antitumor Effects of Seaweeds. 1974.
✔ You may also be interested in reading:
Double the Power of Seaweed by Mixing Species (Infographic)
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