Scientists believe that a commercial red algae could help to counteract food allergies. Using mice, they’ve isolated compounds that seem to neutralize the worst effects of shellfish allergy.

The study, published in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, details the researchers’ findings. Research in the past has shown that some seaweed strains have anti-asthmatic and anti-allergy effects, but none were readily available commercially.

Gracilaria lemaneiformis to the rescue.

This commercial variety of red algae is used extensively in Asia. The researchers isolated polysaccharides from the algae and fed them to a group of mice who are sensitive to a protein that is associated with shellfish allergy. Allergy symptoms were reduced compared to control groups of mice not given the seaweed.

The scientists believe that further study could help lead to a better understanding of the processes involved in the reduction of symptoms and an improvement on the seaweed as a potential source for treatment.

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