Seaweed Extract May Be A Treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

March 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Health


Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system and is classified into Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s types, which are then further classified into B-cell and T-cell groups. Unfortunately some forms of B-cell lymphoma are especially resistant to standard treatment and so the search has been on for new therapies.

Research underway at the Hashemite University in Jordan to see whether seaweed extract could hold the key has evolved into trials with a commercially available seaweed extract at the University of California, Berkeley, and Royal Hobart Hospital in Australia.

They are investigating active compounds derived from a natural source seaweed treated as they contain fucoidan. This is a sulfated polysaccharide that is similar to heparin in chemical structure and that has been reported to have anti-tumour activity in mice. They found that

the extract did inhibit the the growth of lymphoma cell lines, while leaving the control healthy cells intact. The researchers also noted a significant pattern of activity in the genes known to be linked with apoptosis, or cell death, in lymphoma.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is where this result was aired and they have called for more study and phase II or III clinical trials involving seaweed extract.

Leukaemia and lymphoma link to Nutrasweet


My regular readers will know I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners, mostly because of the side effects linked to them and the fact that because the body does not recognise them as sugar, it is more inclined to seek it out in other forms – in other words it won’t help you lose weight and keep it off.

Since 2005 we have known that there is a link between lymphoma, leukaemia and aspartame and it has had FDA approval since 1981. You will find it in literally thousands of products from food and soft drinks through less likely items like vitamins. You will find it on the supermarket shelves under several different brand names including NutraSweet, Equal Measure, and Spoonful. Since it was first approved there have been a string of complaints from consumers over symptoms such as migraines, dizziness, insomnia, joint pain, memory loss, hives, rash, abdominal cramping, hallucinations, and seizures. There were also some deaths reported related to aspartame

Earlier this year the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reported that aspartame showed no carcinogenic potential at the allowable daily intake (ADI) of 40/mg/kg but personally I think the wisest course is to avoid it altogether. To date there are over 900 studies done, with the most recent in May 2009 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which investigated the link between formaldehyde and lymph cancer. You may only associate its use in embalming bodies, but a 2007 study showed that it linked to aspartame intake.

Aspartame turns into formaldehyde in the body, but it was previously thought that this was then quickly eliminated until a 1998 study showed that dietary aspartame binds to tissues in protein. It was found in liver, kidney, and blood and the report suggested that the build up of aspartame was cumulative and it is this that causes more damage over time.

Since 1987 formaldehyde has been listed by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a probable human carcinogen and is also linked to birth defects, and environmental allergies. In fact if you are thinking of starting a family you might want to pay attention to James Bowen, MD who wrote a provocative article entitled ‘Aspartame Murders Infants’ and who has said that it is destructive of the fertility process as it both inhibits female sexual response and induces male sexual dysfunction.

Natural alternatives for sweetness such as Perfect Sweet mentioned above, honey and Stevia, which is sold as a supplement, are worth seeking out.