Science News
from research organizations

Seaweed could potentially help fight food allergies

Date:
June 1, 2016
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Seaweed has long been a staple food in many Asian countries and has recently caught on as a snack food in America as a healthful alternative to chips. The edible algae that fall in the category of seaweed are low-calorie and packed with nutrients. In addition, now scientists have found that a type of commercial red algae could help counteract food allergies.
Share:
FULL STORY

Seaweed has long been a staple food in many Asian countries and has recently caught on as a snack food in America as a healthful alternative to chips. The edible algae that fall in the category of seaweed are low-calorie and packed with nutrients. In addition, now scientists have found that a type of commercial red algae could help counteract food allergies. They report their findings in mice in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Food allergies are a major global health issue that can be life threatening in some cases. One 2014 study by researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital estimates that the condition affects about 8 percent of children and 5 percent of adults worldwide. In people who are allergic, certain compounds in food trigger a cascade of immune system reactions that lead to symptoms such as hives, wheezing and dizziness -- and in the worst cases, anaphylactic shock. Previous research has suggested that certain seaweed varieties contain polysaccharides with anti-asthmatic and anti-allergy effects. But no one had investigated whether similar molecules in Gracilaria lemaneiformis, a commercial variety of red algae, might have similar properties. Guang-Ming Liu and colleagues wanted to find out.

The researchers isolated polysaccharides from G. lemaneiformis and fed them to a group of mice sensitive to tropomyosin, a protein that is a major shellfish allergen. Another group of mice, also sensitive to tropomyosin, did not get the polysaccharides. After both groups were given the allergen, allergy symptoms in the treated mice were reduced compared to the untreated animals. Further studying polysaccharides from G. lemaneiformis could help lead to a better understanding of food allergies and their prevention, the researchers say.


Story Source:

Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Qing-Mei Liu, Yang Yang, Soheila J. Maleki, Marcos Alcocer, Sha-Sha Xu, Chao-Lan Shi, Min-Jie Cao, Guang-Ming Liu. Anti-Food Allergic Activity of Sulfated Polysaccharide fromGracilaria lemaneiformisis Dependent on Immunosuppression and Inhibition of p38 MAPK. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2016; DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.6b01086

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Seaweed could potentially help fight food allergies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160601112607.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2016, June 1). Seaweed could potentially help fight food allergies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160601112607.htm
American Chemical Society. "Seaweed could potentially help fight food allergies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160601112607.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

RELATED STORIES