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Squid & Cuttlefish Ink – a new class of medicines

After consuming a bowl of hand made squid ink pasta last night with a friend, I pondered about the medicinal properties of this substance. I’ve always believed that virtually every substance on earth has medicinal value so i thought to myself, surely there must be more to it than just colour?

I dug a bit today in some databases and found a few very interesting studies. It seems Sepia Ink Polysaccharide (SIP) is showing potential to have properties such as: anti cancer, chemopreventive, procagulant/anticoagulant.The high sulphate group is the one of interest not only for its anti coagulation activities but mainly for its potential to be developed into a anti tumor drug or used as a functional food in cancer protocols. A study on mice also showed that SIP decrease chemotherapy damage to sperm and reproductive function, which points to possible use in fertility treatments as well. It also seems to show great promise as an antioxidant agent, especially when used in conjunction with chemotherapy. Not only was it protective to reproductive function but it also increased levels of Superoxide Dismutate (SOD) and Catalase (CAT) , both of which are very important antioxidant enzymes that decrease during Chemo.

The medicinal potential of polysaccharides has always been fascinating to me. All the medicinal mushrooms “immunomodulators” (reishi, chaga, lions mane, turkey tail, etc) are very rich in polysacharrides So its not surprising to me to see SIP’s potential in this realm.

Another interesting study I found was the use of structurally modified Sepia Ink Oligopeptide (SIO). The results showcased significant inhibition of cell proliferation and induced apoptosis (cell death) of a a specific lung cancer cell line. Results were also seen against certain breast cancer lines. The study concluded that the results warrant further research into this promising area.

It seems the ink is not just limited to cancer which is really interesting. Another study I found mentions the antibacterial, anti fungal and anti biofilm properties of a particular crude extract.

This is a really interesting find for me! One that certainly leaves the gateways open for a lot of development.. Lets see where the science takes us..

Study links:






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