Ecklonia Cava Extract for Blood Circulation and Brain Health
What Is Ecklonia Cava?
So, what is Ecklonia cava extract? Ecklonia cava is an extraordinary alga that grows abundantly off the coasts of Japan and Korea, particularly around the island of Jeju in South Korea. It grows on the rocks in large underwater forests along the shallow coastlines in the Pacific ocean.
It is very popular in Japan and Korea and is often consumed as part of their diet. In fact, it is found whole in popular soups and salads. It may even form the basis of the diet of the legendary Japanese "ama" or "diving grannies," many of who are approaching their seventies and for whom it constitutes a nutritional fountain of youth. Ecklonia cava is now available to buy in supplement form at Supersmart.
While Asians naturally consume this alga as a part of their diet, the Western world prefers it as a supplement. Pure Ecklonia cava extract is more commonly used in powder or pill form outside of Asia.
The Ecklonia cava extract health benefits are a result of its high protein and fiber content, and the presence of several other key vitamins and minerals.
Let's take a closer look at what Ecklonia cava is, how it is used to promote better health and what side effects you can expect from taking the supplement.
Why take an Ecklonia Cava Extract Supplement?
In recent years, a growing number of scientific papers have documented the many biological activities of Ecklonia cava brown seaweed extract.
This edible alga from the laminaria family contains antioxidant polyphenols that are significantly more powerful than land-based antioxidants. Known as phlorotannins, these substances are only found in brown algae and are produced entirely by polymerization of phloroglucinol.
Like alpha-lipoic acid, these antioxidants have a key advantage in that they act equally well in both aqueous and lipid environments, making them particularly valuable for protecting nerve cells in the brain since they cross the blood-brain barrier easily.
Studies show the more content of benzene cyclic rings a molecule has, the greater its antioxidant potential. Compared with resveratrol, which contains two, and green tea catechins, which contain four, Ecklonia cava has eight benzene cyclic rings, earning it the nickname, "free radical killing machine!"
What Are the Health Benefits of Ecklonia Cava Extract?
What is Ecklonia cava used for? Many studies have been performed to show the Ecklonia cava extract benefits. Here are a few of the notable studies that have been completed recently.
- Studies show it maintains healthy blood pressure by inhibiting the activity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which plays a key role in regulating blood pressure. According to one study, the main phlorotannins responsible for this effect are phloroglucinol, triphlorethol-A, eckol, eckstolonol, dieckol and phlorofucofuroeckol (PFF).
- Its action is similar to that of certain "anti-ACE" fish peptides (sardine, herring, and mackerel) which also restrict production of a powerful vasoconstrictor, angiotensin II, thus maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
- Research shows it improves blood viscosity by balancing plasmin and reduces oxidation of LDL-cholesterol, one of the most specific risk factors for atherogenesis. It maintains the flexibility of the arterial wall and may improve circulation in blood vessels by more than 50% in only six weeks.
- As mentioned, the phlorotannins in Ecklonia cava are able to cross the blood-brain barrier with ease. Studies have demonstrated that they increase the concentration of acetylcholine in the brain by inhibiting cholinesterase, in a similar way to huperzine-A. Ecklonia cava thus helps support memory function.
- Other research has shown it reduced the formation of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain — responsible for memory problems in elderly individuals — by 40%. Ecklonia cava also increases alpha brain waves, creating feelings of calm and serenity, in a similar way to L-theanine.
- Studies show Ecklonia cava improves joint stiffness and relieves arthritis pain (in the knees) by reducing the formation of COX-2 and LOX enzymes, but without the digestive side effects of conventional non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), which inhibits the NF-kB pathway and therefore the MMP-9 enzyme that attacks collagen, the major constituent in cartilage.
- Other research suggests that taking Ecklonia cava helps lower blood glucose levels by inhibiting the aldose reductase enzyme. In this way, it restricts the production of sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that can alter the optic nerve and its surrounding nerve cells.
- It has also been shown in studies to be effective at reducing excess weight by regulating a key enzyme in lipid metabolism: DGAT, involved in intestinal fat absorption, regulation of plasma triglycerides, adipocyte fat storage and muscle energy metabolism.
- Other research indicates Ecklonia cava helps increase stamina during physical exertion and may benefit sexual health, particularly in the case of erectile dysfunction, since its dieckol content improves the release of nitric oxide (NO), facilitating blood vessel vasodilation.
- Ecklonia cava contains several active varieties of polysaccharides - fucoidans, which are particularly beneficial in cases of proven immune deficiency (cancer, viral epidemics, HIV) because they increase the number of natural killer (NK) cells. Some studies suggest this alga may also have a bactericide effect on salmonella and staphylococcus.
Some people also choose to use Ecklonia cava supplements for other health conditions, including:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Hair growth
- Reduce stress levels
Are There Any Ecklonia Cava Side Effects?
Ideally, you want to receive Ecklonia cava benefits without worrying about any side effects. Fortunately, studies haven't indicated any major Ecklonia cava extract side effects.
In fact, there was a 12-week human study performed that stated taking up to 144 mg of Ecklonia cava extract for high blood pressure was completely safe and didn't cause any side effects. Beyond this, animal studies have also been performed, which further back up the evidence.
This phytoceutical has no contraindications or side-effects and can be combined with any other supplementation, including medicinal supplements.
Still, there haven’t been many studies performed on pregnant women taking Ecklonia cava. In this case, it may be best to avoid taking the supplement to be on the safe side. While the alga is also found in some postpartum supplements, it's always wise to consult with a healthcare professional before taking it.
Additionally, if you take any medications, other supplements or have underlying medical conditions, you should speak to your healthcare professional before starting a new regimen. For example, Ecklonia cava has high levels of iodine. So, if you have a thyroid condition, you should talk to your healthcare provider as you may need to have your iodine levels checked more frequently while taking Ecklonia cava.
Directions for use
Ecklonia Cava Dosage and Directions
Determining the appropriate Ecklonia cava extract dosage depends on your circumstances. Our Ecklonia cava supplement contains a daily dose of 104 mg of extract, standardized to 15% phlorotannins. For optimal efficacy, a dose of 2 vegetarian capsules a day, for 2 to 3 months, is recommended.
There is no standard dosage recommendation. However, shouldn’t ever exceed the recommended dosage found on the package. Most supplements offer 50–400 mg of Ecklonia cava per serving.
It's also important to note that supplement dosage is often affected by additional factors, including:
- Overall health
- Chronic medical conditions
- Prescription medications
- Taken with or without food
If you are unsure how much to take, talk to your healthcare professional before you start an Ecklonia cava or any other supplement regimen.