SABRI has partnered with Memorial University to research the potential use of Blue Mussels and Sea Cucumber in Nutraceuticals.  The Researchers are now working on the final phase of the study.  Dr. Cheema will be presenting at the Aquaculture Canada and Cold Harvest 2016 Conference held in St. John’s in September.  The following are some findings of the studies:

Dr. Sukhinder Cheema

Blue mussels have cholesterol lowering and anti-obesity effects in high fat diet fed C57BL/6 mice

We studied whether supplementing a high fat diet (HFD) with blue mussel (BM) powder will protect the animals from gaining weight. We further investigated whether HFD plus BM will also improve blood lipids. Mice were initially fed with HFD diets with 5% (w/w) BM for 4, 8 or 12 weeks. At four weeks, animals fed with BM reduced their food intake and started losing weight. Thus, animals were either switched to HFD or given a food choice of either HFD or 5% BM-HFD, and studied after 4 weeks. Although there were no signs of toxicity, no beneficial health effects were observed. Our observations suggested that 5% BM is not palatable and does not induce beneficial health effects.

We then conducted a second study where we fed HFD with 2.5% (w/w) BM for 12 weeks. Animals consumed this diet without any problem. There was a significant reduction in body weight without any change in food intake. There was also a significant reduction in body fat, blood glucose and cholesterol levels. The 2.5% BM diet had no toxicity effects. Our findings suggest that 5% w/w BM is not palatable, however a lower dose of BM (2.5% w/w) showed beneficial effects on body weight, body fat, blood glucose and cholesterol levels, thus could be used as a supplement to target obesity.

A high fat diet enriched in sea cucumber is protective against obesity and lowers plasma lipid levels in C57/BL6 mice

Newfoundland has the highest rate of obesity in all of Canada despite being a rich source of unique marine species, such as sea cucumber (SC) with potential health benefits. SC has long been considered as an effective dietary supplement for chronic diseases in Asian traditional medicine. Our lab has previously reported that SC inhibits fat accumulation and insulin resistance in 3T3-L1 cells. The present study investigated the effects of SC on obesity in high fat diet (HFD) fed animals. Four weeks old male C57BL/6 mice were fed either a HFD or HFD with 5% SC for 4, 8 or 12 weeks (n=8). Another group of C57BL/6 mice were fed a HFD with 7.5% SC for 12 weeks (n=8). Food intake was measured every 2 days, and mice were weighed once a week. Blood and tissue samples were collected at the end of the study periods after an overnight fast. The animals fed with 5% SC showed a significant decrease in body weight starting from week 9 up to 12 weeks, compared to the HFD fed animals. A decrease in food intake was observed at week 11 and 12; however there was no correlation between food intake and body weight. There was also a significant reduction in abdominal, renal and mesenteric fat at week 12.

Supplementing with 5% SC significantly decreased plasma glucose, triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC) and free cholesterol compared to HFD. Although mice fed a diet enriched in 7.5% SC also revealed a significant reduction in body weight at week 12, there was a significant increase in liver weight. Mice fed with the 7.5% SC diet also showed a significant decrease in plasma glucose and TG, however liver TG and TC was significantly higher compared HFD. There was no effect of SC supplementation (5 or 7.5%) on liver and plasma toxicity markers. Our results provide evidence that supplementation of SC is beneficial against obesity related complications (Supported by RDC and SABRI, NL).

St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc. is actively seeking Partnerships for Product Development.  If you would like more information please contact Christopher Mitchelmore at or by calling 709-454-3484