For Patients & Caregivers
How It Works
Sea cucumber has not been shown to prevent or treat cancer.
Sea cucumber is a marine invertebrate related to sea urchins and star fish. It is dried and used in soups and other dishes and is considered a delicacy in Asian countries. Sea cucumber is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat fatigue, impotence, constipation, frequent urination, and joint pain. It is also a rich source of chondroitin sulfate, commonly used for arthritis. There are no reports of adverse effects from use of sea cucumber.
Laboratory experiments suggest a saponin component derived from sea cucumber may have antitumor effects by inhibiting formation of new blood vessels. This effect has not been studied in humans.
Sea cucumber is used in Chinese medicine to increase longevity, but there are no clinical data to support this use.
Although Sea cucumber in Chinese medicine used to treat impotence, there are no clinical data to back this use.
Sea cucumber is a rich source of chondroitin sulfate, shown to be effective for osteoarthritis.
Sea cucumber is used in Chinese medicine to treat urinary problems. However, clinical data to support this use are lacking.
Do Not Take If
For Healthcare Professionals
Sea cucumber is a marine invertebrate found all over the world. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat fatigue, impotence, constipation, frequent urination, and joint pain. It is also a rich source of mucopolysaccharides, especially chondroitin sulfate, commonly used for arthritis.
In vitro studies have shown that the saponins and fatty acids present in sea cucumber are responsible for its anti-angiogenic, anti-tumor (2), antiproliferative (1), and antiviral properties (4) (3). Preliminary findings suggest that sea cucumber extract is beneficial in treating chronic gingivitis (5).
Mechanism of Action
A branched-chain fatty acid known as 12-methyltetradecanoic acid, isolated from sea cucumber, is thought to inhibit prostate cancer cell proliferation by increasing caspase-3 activity (1). The proposed mechanism for the anti-angiogenic and antitumor effects of Philinopside A, a saponin derived from sea cucumber, is by inhibiting tyrosine kinase receptors (2). Frondoside A, a triterpenoid glycoside from Cucumaria frondosa, also has anti-angiogenic activity (9).