Animal study: nori contains life prolonging substance
Japanese and Chinese cooks use the seaweed nori in their cooking. They use this to make rolls containing rice, fish, vegetables and egg. Nori is made from the algae Porphyra – and according to a Chinese study this contains sugar chains that extend life span.
Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences published in Pharmacological Research the results of tests they did with fruit flies, where they fed the insects throughout their lives a medium that with galactose chains from Prophyra haitanensis added to it. The reason for doing the tests was that in the areas where large amounts of nori are consumed, the population claims that the seaweed has rejuvenating properties. Their claims are not unfounded, the study shows.
The figures below show how the chains affect the life span of males [first graph] and females [second graph].
P1 represents the heaviest chains, P3 the lightest. P2 is in the middle.
It is clear that P1 has life-extending characteristics. P3 is toxic to males. But when the researchers placed the flies in an unhealthy warm environment, P3 turned out to suddenly also have a protective effect.
The researchers also attempted to measure the effect of nori on vitality. To do this they brought the males and females together and recorded how often they mated. The presence of the sugar chains in the medium turned had a positive effect.
The Chinese did not study the mechanism that gives nori its life lengthening components. They put it down to the antioxidant effect of the sugar chains.
Results like this always make us, the compilers of Ergo-Log, a little suspicious. All too often we've seen studies go by in which, let's see, Sri Lankan researchers show the prosexual effects of Ceylon tea, [J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Aug 13;118(3):373-7.] Turkish researchers make similar stories up about Turkish pomegranate juice, Peruvian researchers prove that Maca from the Andes promotes erections [Andrologia. 2002 Dec;34(6):367-72.] and researchers from Florence, Italy stumble on the miraculous sex life of women who drink locally produced Chianti. [Sexologies Volume 17, Supplement 1, April 2008, Page S58 Abstracts of the 9th Congress of the European Federation of Sexology]
The Chinese study was sponsored by Shandong Province. Porphyra is of economic importance in Shandong.
Nutr Res. 2008 Jun;28(6):377-82.
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