Sea cucumber may seem like a new ingredient, but Asian cultures have known about (and prized) its health benefits for thousands of years.
A sought-after luxury food in Chinese cuisine, sea cucumber is typically eaten in soups and stir-fries. And it’s not only enjoyed for culinary reasons. Sea cucumber is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for daily nourishment and to protect from disease.
For those who want the health benefits but aren’t up to cooking it, sea cucumber supplements are a convenient alternative.
But first, what exactly is sea cucumber?
Despite its name, sea cucumber is not an underwater vegetable (though it does resemble the cucumbers you’d find in the garden or produce aisle). In fact, sea cucumbers are not plants at all. They are marine animals belonging to a group called echinoderms, which includes sea urchins and starfish.
Where does sea cucumber come from?
Different species of sea cucumber are found in oceans around the globe, including throughout Asia. However, pollution, warmer sea temperatures, and aquatic farming practices in these regions can lead to lower nutritional quality and potentially harmful levels of toxins.
In the North Atlantic, off the coast of Nova Scotia, is a species called Cucumaria frondosa. Canadian 100% wild-caught sea cucumber is gaining popularity as a premium ingredient. The cold waters of the Atlantic ocean produce a slower growing sea cucumber that is more nutrient dense.
Plus, Canada is known for the highest natural health product standards worldwide in terms of manufacturing best practices, quality standards, and the need for supporting scientific evidence.
What are the health benefits of sea cucumber supplements?
Sea cucumber is so highly valued as a health food that in one Chinese dialect, its name (hǎishēn) directly translates to “ginseng of the sea.” (A nod to ginseng’s widely known antioxidant effects.) In the same way, sea cucumber has helps repair and defend against oxidative damage in the body at the cellular level.
Sea cucumber is naturally low in fat and packed with protein, minerals, amino acids, collagen, and other active compounds known to protect from disease.
Learn more about the health benefits of sea cucumber supplements:
Sea Cucumber as an Antioxidant
Antioxidants have an important job: repairing and preventing cell damage from free radicals. Left unchecked, these molecules can cause oxidative damage that can lead to illness and imbalance. A nutritious diet high in antioxidants is a simple way to naturally build your defenses.
Sea cucumber is an exceptionally rich source of antioxidants. According to scientific research, key compounds found naturally in sea cucumber scavenge free radicals and limit oxidative damage. This has whole-body benefits including in the skin.
Sea Cucumber as a Source of Amino Acids
Considered the building blocks of life, amino acids are used by our bodies to build proteins and other vital compounds like hormones. Sea cucumber supplements are rich in amino acids to help nourish the body and build strength.
Daily sea cucumber supplementation is a convenient way to make sure you’re getting enough amino acids for optimal health and wellness.
Sea Cucumber as a Source of Minerals
Sea cucumber is a nutritional powerhouse. Its vast profile of essential nutrients and minerals goes a long way for optimal wellness. Analysis has shown high concentrations of minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc – all of which are needed for the body to function at its best.
Sea Cucumber and Collagen
Sea cucumber naturally contains high amounts of collagen, an ingredient found in our body’s connective tissues. Collagen supports healthy joint functioning and is well known for its skin health benefits.
New Frontiers in Sea Cucumber Research: Immunity, Anti-Viral, and Anti-Cancer
Scientists are actively researching sea cucumber to uncover additional health benefits. Promising areas include immune support, anti-viral properties, and anti-cancer.
The amino acids found in sea cucumber—namely glycine, glutamic acid, and arginine—have been shown to stimulate the creation of immune cells. These cells boost immunity and aid in the cellular response to invading infection or disease.
Sea cucumber also contains a rich variety of other proteins that have demonstrated the unique ability to energize the immune system and boost immunity. Another promising area is the potential anti-viral properties of sea cucumber bioactives.
One of the most amazing benefits of sea cucumber is thanks to bioactive compounds called saponins. Saponins are molecules making up the structural wall of sea cucumbers. Research has revealed potential anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties of saponins, making sea cucumber a promising health ingredient.
As research continues, we could see sea cucumber as an immune supplement in the future!
What to look for in a sea cucumber supplement
When shopping for a sea cucumber supplement, be sure to check that it is:
- Of premium quality with no unnecessary fillers or bulking ingredients (hint: a bargain price point is a strong indicator of low quality!)
- Made from Canadian Atlantic sea cucumber, which is higher quality, more nutrient-rich, and free of harmful pollutants and toxins
- 100% sustainably wild caught in Canada (never farmed)
- Made and manufactured in Canada
- Supported by scientific research
- Tested for quality and purity
- Approved by Canadian government authorities (look for the 8-digit Natural Product Number which signifies the product has been approved by Health Canada)
Clearly, deep sea nutrition has never been so accessible. It’s time to energize your daily health and wellness practice with premium quality, sustainable, and remarkably beneficial sea cucumber supplements.
Look for Nova Sea Atlantic sea cucumber supplements, available on Amazon in the U.S. and Canada. It provides antioxidants to help fight/protect cells against the oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Nova Sea Atlantic is also a source of amino acids.