Seaweed extract found to prevent H1N1 infection

New research published in the journal PLoS ONE has found that a red seaweed-based compound known as Carrageenan is an effective treatment against the common cold, viruses and even H1N1 influenza. The substance works by binding directly to viruses and preventing them from attaching to cells and spreading throughout the body.

Carrageenan is commonly used as a food thickening additive because of its gel-like texture. Though technically derived from natural seaweed, the substance is actually not all that healthy to consume. Studies have found that it can cause gastrointestinal upset, and in many cases, the additive creates a form of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in food (http://www.naturalnews.com/025066.html).

But when used as a nasal spray, Carrageenan forms a physical barrier between nasal tissue and foreign invaders, which effectively protects healthy cells from harmful viruses. In fact, the recent study found that Carrageenan works just as well as the popular antiviral drug Tamiflu at preventing viral infections, except without all the harmful side effects.

“Influenza viruses still represent a substantial threat to public health on a global scale and with increasing viral resistance to Tamiflu, the need for alternatives has never been greater,” explained Dr. Andreas Grassauer, CEO and co-founder of Marinomed Biotechnologie, the company that funded the study. “This study confirms that iota-carrageenan can be used as an alternative to neuraminidase inhibitors and should be further tested for prevention and treatment of influenza A in clinical trials in humans.”

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