The Potential Anti-Aging Effects of Seaweeds
In recent years, seaweeds have garnered attention for their numerous benefits, ranging from carbon storage and methane reduction to biofuels and renewable plastics. Additionally, seaweeds have shown potential in wound healing and anti-aging effects. A new study conducted at Flinders University in Adelaide highlights the anti-aging properties of extracts from two brown seaweeds.
Promising Findings from Skin Cell Experiments
In lab experiments using human-like skin cells, researchers found that extracts from brown seaweeds native to South Australia inhibit reactions associated with skin aging and enhance collagen levels. These findings suggest that seaweed extracts could potentially slow the effects of aging on the skin.
The Importance of Seaweeds and a Note of Caution
Seaweeds play a crucial ecological role and serve as a vital food source. While the potential benefits of seaweeds are intriguing, it is essential to approach claims with skepticism until proper evidence is presented.
The Role of Collagen and Anti-Glycation Activity
The study focused on collagen, one of the two proteins responsible for youthful skin’s plumpness. The two brown seaweeds, Ecklonia radiata and Cystophora moniliformis, were found to stimulate collagen production in lab-grown skin cell lines. In addition, the researchers tested the seaweed extracts’ impact on protein glycation, a process associated with aging skin. Encouragingly, the extracts inhibited glycation activity, suggesting their potential anti-aging properties.
Future Research and Clinical Trials
Further research and development are necessary to create a safe and effective product from seaweed extracts. To validate the purported benefits in humans, randomized clinical trials would be required. It is worth noting that past trials with seaweed extracts as dietary supplements for inflammatory skin conditions yielded mixed results, emphasizing the need for comprehensive testing.
Considerations and Expert Insights
Multiple factors, such as cultivation conditions and formulation methods, can significantly impact the efficacy of seaweed extracts. The appropriate application method, whether topical or oral, also needs to be determined. It is crucial to conduct further research to identify relevant compounds and establish safe concentration levels for human use.
Emma Beckett, a food and nutrition scientist at the University of Newcastle, advises that relying solely on supplements may not yield noticeable skin benefits. Instead, protecting the skin from sun damage, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding smoking are recommended.
The study showcasing the anti-aging properties of brown seaweed extracts has been published in Algal Research.