Fish Radio
November 28, 2013                                                         

Seafoods as medicines Credit:

Seafoods as medicines

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch… Everyone knows that eating fish is good for your health. But there’s so much more to seafood than just putting it in your mouth. More after this – 

 The At-sea Processors Association’s contributions to Alaskan universities represent the largest privately funded marine research program in Alaska’s history. Learn more at

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 At this time of giving thanks, let’s not overlook the miracles from the deep. Sponge Bob, for example, could be the next rage in fiber optics. Researchers at Bell Labs have found that a  certain type of sponge grows a network of glass fibers far more advanced than any  found in today’s telecommunications networks.  

New Zealand researchers have found that adding fish oil to animal feed reduces the release of methane gas by 25 to 40 percent in sheep.  More than 20 percent of global methane emissions come from farm animals. It is a potent greenhouse gas that traps nearly 20 times as much heat as carbon dioxide.

For hundreds of years Asian cultures have used jellyfish to treat arthritis, high blood pressure and back pain. Some jellyfish have a special bio-luminescence useful in medical research.              

Chitin, a substance found in the shells of crab, shrimp and other crustaceans, is packed with medical miracles. The carbohydrate that makes up chitin bonds with red blood cells to form an artificial clot, and seals massive bleeding wounds in just 30 seconds shrimp based bandages are now being used by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

Ground up shrimp shells stirred into a nasal spray are being tested in England as a treatment for allergies and hay fever.  

Russian researchers have created a product from enzymes in king crab shells that helps heal severe burns.  They say sea urchin pigment is remarkable for its anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.  From sea cucumbers comes the basis of a new immunity enhancing drug; another from brown seaweed reduces damage from radiation exposure.

  The venom of the cone snail is being used as the basis to treat severe chronic pain that doesn’t respond to other treatment.  Just a few micrograms is said to be one thousand times more potent than morphine.  A drug made from the snail toxin was approved a few years ago in the U.S.

Also from the ‘sea pharmacy’ — close to 15 drugs derived from marine organisms are in various stages of testing for cancer treatments. The lowly sea squirt appears to be especially promising.   Be thankful for the fish!  In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods.  Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.