Sea Cucumbers Are Incredibly Nutritious
Sea cucumbers are an excellent source of nutrients.
Four ounces (112 grams) of sea cucumber delivers (3):
Protein: 14 grams
Fat: less than one gram
Vitamin A: 8% of the RDI
B2 (Riboflavin): 60% of the RDI
B3 (Niacin): 16% of the RDI
Calcium: 4% of the RDI
Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
Sea cucumbers are very low in calories and fat and high in protein, making them a weight loss-friendly food.
They also contain many powerful substances, including antioxidants, which are good for your health.
Sea cucumbers are high in protein, with most species consisting of 41–63% protein (4, 5).
Adding protein sources to meals and snacks helps keep you full by slowing down the emptying of your stomach.
This can help you eat less and stabilize your blood sugar levels (6).
Foods rich in protein, such as sea cucumbers, may be especially beneficial for people with diabetes who are looking to control their blood sugar levels (7).
Plus, diets rich in protein may benefit heart health, help lower blood pressure and improve bone density (8, 9).
Potential Health Benefits
Sea cucumbers have been linked to a number of potential health benefits.
Sea cucumbers contain substances called cytotoxins, which have been shown to fight cancer cells.
For example, one test-tube study showed that triterpene diglycosides found in Vietnamese sea cucumbers had a toxic effect on five types of cancer cells, including breast cancer, prostate and skin cancer cells (19).
Another study found that Ds-echinoside, a type of triterpene derived from sea cucumbers, reduced the spread and growth of human liver cancer cells (20).
While these results are promising, more research is needed to determine the efficacy and safety of using sea cucumber to fight cancer cells.
A number of test-tube studies have demonstrated that sea cucumber extract inhibits the growth of bacteria, including E. coli, S. aureus and S. typhi, all of which can cause illnesses (21).
Another study showed sea cucumbers may fight Candida albicans, an opportunistic yeast that can cause infections if levels get out of control, especially in the immunocompromised (22).
In a one-week study in 17 elderly nursing home patients with oral Candida overgrowth, those who consumed a jelly containing sea cucumber extract showed a reduction in Candidaovergrowth, compared to those who did not consume the jelly (23).
Additionally, one study in rats showed that sea cucumber fought sepsis, a life-threatening complication associated with harmful bacteria (24).
Heart and Liver Health
Several animal studies have demonstrated that sea cucumber may improve heart and liver health.
For example, rats with high blood pressure that were fed sea cucumber extract showed significant reductions in blood pressure, compared to rats who were not fed the extract (25).
Another study in young rats demonstrated that a sea cucumber-rich diet significantly reduced total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins and triglycerides (26).
Furthermore, a study in rats with hepatorenal disease found that a single dose of sea cucumber extract significantly reduced oxidative stress and liver damage, as well as improved liver and kidney function (27).