Health benefits – research & articles
BIOFILAM (aka. Modifilan) is a rich, natural, raw, whole-food source of naturally occurring, bio-available iodine, magnesium, calcium, antioxidants, vitamins, essential amino acids (high quality protein), and many other important minerals. It’s also a rich source of alginates and related substances, making it highly effective at helping the body eliminate toxic heavy metals and radioactive isotopes.
Beneficial substances found in Biofilam include:
Organic iodine: Organic iodine feeds the thyroid gland, promoting normal metabolism and glandular function.
Fucoidan: a polysaccharide that promotes cancer cell death (apoptosis) and stimulates the immune system in animal studies. 1 – 4
Laminarin: a polysaccharide that improves gut health in animal studies. 5
Fucoxanthin: a natural pigment in the carotenoid family, is a potent antioxidant. 6 – 11
Alginate: a natural polysaccharide that binds water and chelates radioactive toxins such as iodine-131 and strontium-90. 12 – 14
Biofilam is useful for:
- Boosting the immune system with anti-viral and anti-cancer properties. 1-4 & 15 – 21
- Helping lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. 22 – 23
- Detoxifying the body from heavy metals, radioactive elements, free radicals and toxins. 12 – 14
- Aiding weight loss by improving thyroid, metabolism and GI-tract function. 24 – 25
- Helping smokers detoxify from heavy metals including strontium and cadmium. 12 – 14
Go to the list of references
- Health Benefits of Biofilam by Leonid Gordin, M.D.
- About seaweed by Irene Yaychuk-Arabei, PhD, MH, RNC
- Alginate Research
(This article was original referring to this product as “Modifilan”. Modifilan was rebranded to Biofilam in 2008, and the article has been edited accordingly.)
Biofilam is a concentrated extract of the brown seaweed Laminaria japonica. Forty pounds of raw Laminaria japonica is needed to make just one pound of Biofilam. This unique patented technology “semi-digests” the tough outer layer of seaweed fibers to expose, concentrate, and make much more bioavailable the macro- and micro-nutrient-dense central vein of the Laminaria. Although the nutritional and medicinal powers of seaweeds have been known for thousands of years, the scientific basis of their health benefits has been established only recently. One of the most impressive aspects of Biofilam that sets it apart from other types of seaweed products is its very high content of soluble polysaccharides like Fucoidan, laminarin, and alginate. Fucoidan is particularly rich in simple sugars as glucuronic acid, mannose, and fucose that give Laminaria its distinctive taste. The ongoing research into Fucoidan has conclusively demonstrated its ability to induce cancer cell apoptosis (programmed cell death) in leukemia, stomach, and colon cancer cells. This biological data supports epidemiological observations that Laminaria is an important factor contributing to the relatively low breast cancer rates reported in Japan. The technology involved in processing Laminaria japonica preserves and concentrates this vulnerable thermolabile substance, thus making Biofilam one of the richest sources of cancer-fighting Fucoidan. Another polysaccharide in Biofilam that may have anti-cancer properties is Laminarin. It is known that tumor formation and growth require a highly charged extra-cellular matrix. Solid tumors provoke ongoing high-level fibrin leakage from surrounding capillaries. This fibrin clot gets invaded by various cells that are recruited by solid tumors, including fibroblasts and endothelial cells. The former cells lay down a heavily charged matrix throughout the tumor, and the latter cells participate in tumor angiogenesis (vascularization). Angiogenesis is a prerequisite for tumor expansion and metastasis. It has been shown that laminarin sulfate inhibits the binding of basic fibroblast growth factor (BFGF) to an extra-cellular matrix, leading to inhibition of fibrin clot invasion by tumor-recruited fibroblasts and endothelial cells. This suggests a novel approach to tumor therapy based on blocking angiogenesis. Cancer metastasis involves the tumor cell adhesion to host tissue basement membranes, followed by tissue invasion. Fucoidan interferes with cancer cells’ metastasis by inhibiting the physical interaction between tumor cells and basement membranes, as well as suppressing the proteolytic cascade of plasminogen activation. Interaction and organization of cells and tissue in general, and tumor and host cells in particular, may be mediated by the interactions between cell membrane polysaccharides and the corresponding protein receptor. Fucoidan, a sulfated fucopolysaccharide, inhibits the adhesion process (cell-to-cell interaction) by blocking lectin-like adhesion molecules (glycoproteins) on cell surfaces and thus interfering with tumor cell colonization (metastasis). Another mechanism of antiproliferative (anti-tumor) properties of Fucoidan was shown in vitro and in vivo on a cell line derived from a human bronchopulmonary carcinoma (a particularly chemo-resistant tumor). Fucoidan exerted antiproliferative activity, with a block observed in the G1 phase of the cell cycle. It has also been demonstrated that Fucoidan acts as a so-called activator of the reticulo-endothelial system, specifically as an enhancer of phagocytosis. This suggests another aspect of antitumor activity of Fucoidan related to the activation of macrophage-mediated tumor cell killing. There are also non-polysaccharide fractions from Laminaria that have been found to have significant cancer-preventative anti-mutagenic (anti-DNA damage) activity against typical genotoxic substances. Another promising use of the sulfated polysaccharides Fucoidan and laminarin is in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Several mechanisms are involved: the inhibition of smooth muscle cell proliferation (monoclonal hyperplasia), which is an important step in atherogeneses; as well as activation of enzymes involved in the beta-oxidation of fatty acids, which can be useful in the prevention and treatment of hyperlipedemia. Laminarin has been shown to have a hypotensive effect. It also exhibits 30 percent of the anticoagulant activity of heparin. All of these properties of sulfated polysaccharides make Biofilam clinically applicable in the prevention and treatment of coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, atherosclerosis, cancerogenesis, and cancer metastasis. Another extremely important area of Biofilam application is in environmental medicine. The polysaccharide laminarin has been shown in four animal species (mice, guinea pigs, dogs, and monkeys) to prevent acute radiation sickness and death (about LD90) when administered within 24 hours after radiation exposure. This research suggests that the brown seaweed Laminaria can be clinically useful in the treatment and prevention of the adverse effects of ionizing radiation. The non-digestible polysaccharide alginate that comprises 50 percent of Biofilam’s total dry weight has the unique ability of binding heavy metals and radioactive substances to its own molecules. Because the alginate is non-digestible, it is excreted from the body together with toxic compounds. This is particularly important for cadmium and mercury, as these metals are found at dangerously high levels in air, water, and food. Alginate can also remove isotopes that have previously been absorbed by the human body from the environment. Even small amounts of radioactive pollution will expose surrounding cells to harmful radioactive emission. The way alginate facilitates the excretion of toxic substances that find their way into the body from the environment can be shown using, as an example, the elimination of radioactive strontium: Sr 2+ (food) Sr 2+ (in GI tract) + alginate = strontium alginate feces Sr 2+ (blood) Sr 2+ (bones) A percentage of Strontium molecules stored in the bone structure (or any other toxic substance stored in the tissue) is constantly released and traveling in the blood stream. Since the blood feeds the saliva and bile, part of the released strontium or other toxic metal ends up in the large intestine. Most of the liquid in the large intestine is reabsorbed by the body, including the radioactive isotopes and heavy metals which are redeposited back into the tissue. Alginate can break this process, because toxic substances are bound to the alginate molecules and released from the body with feces. Alginate binds to all heavy metals, including lead, mercury, cadmium, cobalt, copper, and radium. Biofilam should be consumed over at least a four-month period to expedite removal of toxic substances stored in the body. Another interesting potential application of Biofilam as one of the best sources of Fucoidan is for inflammatory conditions of the alimentary tract. The inflammation process involves elevated synthesis of the proinflammotory mediators like adhesion molecules, white cell infiltration of gastrointestinal mucosa, and altered mucosal integrity. Therapeutic use of heparin has produced clinical remission in the majority of patients with inflammatory bowel disorder. One of the mechanisms involved is restoration of the fibroblast growth factor activity that stimulates repair of the epithelium. Since Fucoidan shares many properties with heparin, including cell surfact activity, similar therapeutic benefit can be expected through the use of Fucoidan. Another mechanism of the beneficial effect of heparin, heparan sulphate, and potentially Fucoidan is their mucosal-protective properties as glycosaminoglycans. Gastrointestinal inflammation may cause alteration in the protective mucosal layer of glycosalminoglycans, and may cause substances like heparin and Fucoidan to become “conditionally essential” nutrients suitable for oral administration, because they can be absorbed across the GI mucosa
There are several hundred species of seaweed. Only a handful of these — kelp, nori, moss, and dulse — are familiar to North Americans. Seaweeds are nonpoisonous, although not always palatable. We assume that people living close to the sea (such as Japanese, Scandinavians, or Irish) consume seaweeds. They are not the only ones, however. Several decades ago, Dr. Weston Price, a dentist, found that natives of the high Andes carried a small bag attached to the neck. In it was a greenish-brown substance, a quantity of which was consumed everyday. The substance was seaweed obtained from coastal Indians. In spite of the difficulty in obtaining such seaweed, these extraordinarily healthy dwellers of the high Andes would not do without it. The sea contains in solution every element necessary to maintain healthy life. Thus, seaweeds are considered the most nutritious plants on earth. Their nutritive values greatly exceed those found in other food sources — and are in an organic form that humans can readily utilize. Seaweeds are especially rich in calcium and iodine. They also suppliy chromium (essential for glucose utilization), zinc (for collagen strength and healthy skin), iron, potassium, copper, sulphur, silver, tin, zirconium, phosphorous, and silicon (crucial to skin elasticity), magnesium, manganese, boron, bromides, and other trace minerals necessary for health. The most important nutrient provided by kelp is iodine. This is particularly crucial for inland, iodine-poor soil, such as that found in the Great Lakes area of North America and in central Europe. The amount of iodine in sea plants exceeds that found in inland plants by as much as 20,000 percent. Kelp iodine facilitates the passage of nutrients into the mitochondria (small components of cells). It also helps to nourish the thyroid gland and maintain good thyroxin balance.
Thyroid function directly affects body metabolism. Native Hawaiians tend to be stocky and overweight, yet they experience little heart disease or other health problems. They attribute this to lima lip, their native kelp. Both Norwegians and traditional Japanese are healthy people who are also great consumers of sea vegetation. Often obesity and sub-clinical iodine deficiencies are related. That may be why some reducing diets encourage the use of algae. Calories in sea vegetables are also negligible, and fat content is only from one to eight per cent. Bladderwrack is often used in “slimming tea” formulas. A smoothly functioning thyroid also helps to balance estrogen levels. The dietary factor most often associated with breast cancer is the amount and quality of fat intake; however, seaweed may have a protective role in that regard. The Japanese have a very low incidence of breast cancer. However, migrant Japanese in Hawaii (who ate less then one fifth of the seaweed eaten by the Japanese living in Japan) had a significantly higher incidence of breast cancer. According to the Ebers Papyrus, ancient Egyptians gave seaweed to patients with breast cancer.
Beneficial Intestinal Flora
Nutrients in sea vegetation appear to help cleanse the colon and improve digestion and absorption. A study of fecal flora in the Japanese diet versus the Western diet showed significant differences in the numbers of beneficial aerobic (oxygen-loving) organisms in fecal flora. This is believed to be due to the antibiotic activity of seaweed that destroys harmful anaerobic bacteria. Seaweed provides organic chlorine compounds that are important in the manufacture of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. The mucilage in seaweeds is soothing to the intestinal tract and promotes peristalsis. The gels in sea vegetables are nutritious and provide roughage as well. Vitamins A, D, and C found in seaweed help to rebuild the mucous membranes of the intestinal tract. A 1946 Philippine Medical Journal reported the use of seaweed as an anti-helmintic, or destroyer of intestinal worms. During the war, anti-helmintic medication was unavailable, so powdered sea vegetation was used. It proved itself to be 73 percent effective, and non-toxic as well.
Antioxidants keep our cells young, protect us from cancer, and act as a preservative to keep fats from becoming rancid. Lipids from porphrya were analyzed and tested for antioxygenic activity. It was found that components of this seaweed have antioxidant activities similar to butylated hydroxytoluene, (BHT), a preservative used in vegetable oils. Another protector against cancer is the trace element selenium. Many seaweeds, notably porpyra, contain significant levels of selenium.
Seaweed is noted for its ability to bind heavy metals and radioactive pollutants. Dr. Yukio Tanaka of the Gastrointestinal Research Lab at McGill University demonstrated that kelp may inhibit the absorption of lead, cadmium, and radioactive strontium (one of the most hazardous pollutants). 80 to 90 percent of radioisotopes of Strontium 90 could be removed from the intestinal tract in the presence of seaweed. Sodium alginates actually chelate the remaining amount out of the bone structure. So much Strontium 90 has been released by nuclear explosions, power plants, and nuclear weapons facilities that it is believed that every person has detectable levels in their bone tissue. Many cancers are attributable to this contamination.
Scientific studies relating to alginates found in Biofilam have been published in the articles summarized here.
Biochem Mol Biol Int 1996 Jul;39(4):789-95. Development of a metallothionein-based heavy metal biosorbent. Pazirandeh M. Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC 20375, USA
The potential utility of a recombinant E. coli expressing the Neurospora crassa metallothionein gene (NCP) as a heavy metal biosorbent was investigated. It was shown that the NCP was capable of efficiently removing low levels of several metals (including cadmium, lead, and mercury) from solutions. The reusability of the NCP was demonstrated through five cycles of metal binding, stripping with dilute acid, and regeneration of the binding sites with out any adverse effect on the metal binding activity. The NCP was successfully encapsulated in alginate and acrylamide without any inhibitory effect on its metal uptake activity. Furthermore, the metal uptake activity of the NCP was shown to be metabolism-independent and resistant to solvents and other compounds (e.g. polyaromatic hydrocarbons) which are often present along with heavy metals in waste waters, thereby creating the potential for non-viable, encapsulated cells to be used.
Radiats Biol Radioecol 1996 May-Jun;36(3):427-33 The effect of algisorb on the level of the accumulation of zirconium, ruthenium, iodine and cesium radioactive isotopes in the body of rats. [Article in Russian]. Ivannikov AT, Altukhova GA, Parfenova IM, Popov BA
The sorption effect of Algisorbum has been studied in rats following single and multiple intragastric administration. Algisorbum doses of 250-2000 mg/kg decrease the absorption of 106Ru and 95Zr by 50 percent, that of 137Cs by 15 percent and have no effect on 131I absorption. Application of a complex of agents to protect the body from nuclear fission products is discussed.
Lebensm Unters Forsch 1992 Nov;195(5):455-8. Application of polyuronides for removing heavy metals from vegetable oils. III. Application of alginic acid, pectic and pectinic acids for demetalization of hydrogenated sunflower oil. Ivanov K, Popova M, Denev P, Kratchanov C. Hochschule fur Lebensmittelindustrie, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Laboratory experiments have been carried out for the removal of heavy metals from hydrogenated vegetable oils using hydrated polyuronides (degree of swelling from 4 to 12.8 ml/g) such as alginic acid, pectic, and pectinic acids. The effect of the type of polyuronide, degree of esterification, and oil treatment on the degree of demetalization has been studied. It has been shown that with increase in the degree of esterification of the polyuronide, the efficiency of demetalization decreases. The second and third treatment of the hydrogenated oil with pectinic acid resulted in a high degree of heavy metal removal. The possibility of efficient demetalization of hydrogenated oils by treatment with water solutions of pectinic acids has also been demonstrated
- Funahashi H, Imai T, Mase T, et al. Seaweed prevents breast cancer? Japan Cancer Res. 2001;92(5):483-487.
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- Itoh H, Noda H, Amano H, et al. Antitumor activity and immunological properties of marine algal polysaccharides, especially fucoidan, prepared from Sargassum thunbergii of Phaeophyceae. Anticancer Res. 1993;13(6A):2045-2052.
- Go H, Hwang HJ, Nam TJ. A glycoprotein from Laminaria japonica induces apoptosis in HT-29 colon cancer cells. Toxicol In Vitro. 2010 Sep;24(6):1546-53. Epub 2010 Jul 6.
- Lynch MB, Sweeney T, Callan JJ, O’Sullivan JT, O’Doherty JV. The effect of dietary Laminaria-derived laminarin and fucoidan on nutrient digestibility, nitrogen utilisation, intestinal microflora and volatile fatty acid concentration in pigs. J Sci Food Agric. 2010 Feb;90(3):430-7.
- Park PJ, Kim EK, Lee SJ, Park SY, Kang DS, Jung BM, Kim KS, Je JY, Ahn CB. Protective effects against H2O2-induced damage by enzymatic hydrolysates of an edible brown seaweed, sea tangle (Laminaria japonica). J Med Food. 2009 Feb;12(1):159-66.
- Wang J, Zhang Q, Zhang Z, Li Z. Antioxidant activity of sulfated polysaccharide fractions extracted from Laminaria japonica. Int J Biol Macromol. 2008 Mar 1;42(2):127-32. Epub 2007 Oct 9.
- Wang J, Wang F, Zhang Q, Zhang Z, Shi X, Li P. Synthesized different derivatives of low molecular fucoidan extracted from Laminaria japonica and their potential antioxidant activity in vitro. Int J Biol Macromol. 2009 Jun 1;44(5):379-84. Epub 2009 Feb 13.
- Wang J, Zhang Q, Zhang Z, Song H, Li P. Potential antioxidant and anticoagulant capacity of low molecular weight fucoidan fractions extracted from Laminaria japonica. Int J Biol Macromol. 2010 Jan 1;46(1):6-12. Epub 2009 Oct 31.
- Yan X, Chuda Y, Suzuki M, Nagata T. Fucoxanthin as the major antioxidant in Hijikia fusiformis, a common edible seaweed.Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1999;63:605–7.
- Sachindra NM, Sato E, Maeda H, et al. Radical scavenging and singlet oxygen quenching activity of marine carotenoid fucoxanthin and its metabolites. J Agric Food Chem 2007;55:8516–22.
- Davis TA, Volesky B, Mucci A. A review of the biochemistry of heavy metal biosorption by brown algae. Water Res. 2003 Nov;37(18):4311-30.
- Sutton, A., Harrison, G. E., Carr, T. E., and Barltrop, D. Reduction in the absorption of dietary strontium in children by an alginate derivative. Br. J.Radiol. 44, 567. 1971.
- Sutton, A., Harrison, B. E., Carr, T. E., and Barltrop, D. Reduction in the absorption of dietary strontium in children by an alginate derivative. Int.J.Radiat.Biol.Relat Stud.Phys.Chem.Med. 19, 79-85. 1971
- [No authors listed][Production of cytokines by murine bone marrow dendritic cells in vitro mediated by sulfated polysaccharides obtained from sea brown algae].Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol. 2010 Sep-Oct;(5):34-9. [Article in Russian]
- Damonte EB, Matulewicz MC, Cerezo AS. Sulfated seaweed polysaccharides as antiviral agents. Curr Med Chem. 2004 Sep;11(18):2399-419.
- Gerasimenko NI, Chaĭkina EL, Busarova NG, Anisimov MM. [Antimicrobic and hemolytic activity of low-molecular metabolits of brown seaweed Laminaria cichorioides Miyabe].Prikl Biokhim Mikrobiol. 2010 Jul-Aug;46(4):467-71. [Article in Russian]
- Ishikawa C, Tafuku S, Kadekaru T, Sawada S, Tomita M, Okudaira T, Nakazato T, Toda T, Uchihara JN, Taira N, Ohshiro K, Yasumoto T, Ohta T, Mori N. Anti-adult T-cell leukemia effects of brown algae fucoxanthin and its deacetylated product, fucoxanthinol. Int J Cancer. 2008 Dec 1;123(11):2702-12.
- Kim KN, Heo SJ, Kang SM, Ahn G, Jeon YJ. Fucoxanthin induces apoptosis in human leukemia HL-60 cells through a ROS-mediated Bcl-xL pathway. Toxicol In Vitro. 2010 Sep;24(6):1648-54. Epub 2010 Jun 8.
- Makarenkova ID, Deriabin PG, L’vov DK, Zviagintseva TN, Besednova NN. [Antiviral activity of sulfated polysaccharide from the brown algae Laminaria japonica against avian influenza A (H5N1) virus infection in the cultured cells]. Vopr Virusol. 2010 Jan-Feb;55(1):41-5. [Article in Russian].
- Yamamoto K, Ishikawa C, Katano H, Yasumoto T, Mori N. Fucoxanthin and its deacetylated product, fucoxanthinol, induce apoptosis of primary effusion lymphomas. Cancer Lett. 2010 Nov 13. [Epub ahead of print]
- Bu T, Liu M, Zheng L, Guo Y, Lin X. α-Glucosidase inhibition and the in vivo hypoglycemic effect of butyl-isobutyl-phthalate derived from the Laminaria japonica rhizoid. Phytother Res. 2010 Nov;24(11):1588-91. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3139.
- Woo MN, Jeon SM, Kim HJ, Lee MK, Shin SK, Shin YC, Park YB, Choi MS. Fucoxanthin supplementation improves plasma and hepatic lipid metabolism and blood glucose concentration in high-fat fed C57BL/6N mice. Chem Biol Interact. 2010 Aug 5;186(3):316-22. Epub 2010 May 16.
- Woo MN, Jeon SM, Shin YC, Lee MK, Kang MA, Choi MS. Anti-obese property of fucoxanthin is partly mediated by altering lipid-regulating enzymes and uncoupling proteins of visceral adipose tissue in mice. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 Dec;53(12):1603-11.
- You JS, Sung MJ, Chang KJ. Evaluation of 8-week body weight control program including sea tangle (Laminaria japonica) supplementation in Korean female college students. Nutr Res Pract. 2009 Winter;3(4):307-14. Epub 2009 Dec 31.