I remember the day in 1993 when, as a full-time nutritional consultant, I first read about the alkylglycerols (AKGs) in Ecomer®, and their unique ability not only to support and improve immune function, but also to provide protection from the negative effects of ionizing radiation, such as that from X-rays, CT scans, radiation therapy for cancer, or from a nuclear source like Fukishima. (Author side note: It seems apparent to me that AKGs would also be protective against the effects of non-ionizing radiation such as that from cell phones, though there are no studies to back this up.)
Since, at the time I was consulting many people on what supplements they could use to support themselves through cancer treatments, I began recommending it for this purpose. Of course, when people are taking many things at the same time its impossible to assign cause and effect, but the reported results have been so consistently positive in terms of how well people tolerate their treatments, and how many using Ecomer have had good outcomes, particularly those undergoing radiation treatments, that I have continued to recommend it to this day.
And though sources of radiation contamination from Fukishima may seem unimportant, with hundreds of tons of radioactive water being dumped into the Pacific it becomes an ever greater concern. see: Japan Times
The relatively high concentrations of alkylglycerols in bone marrow, the spleen, and in human breast milk further point to their importance in developing proper immune function.One basis for the protective effects of AKG's has to do with their ability to support bone marrow function, and increase production of red and white blood cells. Specifically, AKG’s help develop and activate macrophages… immune cells that engulf invaders, and “chew them up”, thereby providing better protection against viruses, bacteria, etc. In this process, AKG's also appear to produce a shift towards effective cellular Th1-mediated immunity, and away from inflammatory and reactive Th2-mediated immunity, thereby providing further potential applications for AKG's in conditions such as asthma and allergies.
Lowering inflammation also makes the cellular environment less suitable for cancer, and studies have demonstrated an ability of alkylglycerols to compete with a substrate that cancer cells use to proliferate, thereby reducing tumours.
Alkylglycerols from shark liver oil have been used as an anti-cancer adjunct for decades in Europe. The majority of the research on AKGs was done by a Swedish doctor named named Astrid Brohult. Though his work largely dealt with the ability of AKGs to protect against radiation, and to improve outcomes in radiation therapy for cancer, it formed the basis for what has become a large body of literature, which elucidates many biological effects of AKGs, including their positive effects on cell membranes and cell-signalling, and even improved mercury excretion!
With another recent study providing evidence of a link between cell-phone use and increased incidence of brain tumours, see here, it is a very pertinent question to ask whether alkylglycerols, through their beneficial effects on cell membranes, may also provide protection from non-ionizing radiation that so many of us are exposed to on a daily basis from sources such as cell phones, and handheld cordless phones.
So why shouldn’t everyone on the planet use them? Well, until or unless a more viable source is found, the endangerment of sharks is a major concern, and presents a dilemma that is going to become more and more common, i.e. as a conscious species, where do we draw the line in terms of using the earth’s other species for our own benefit? According to the company that produces it, Ecomer® is harvested from stable populations of northern sharks of the dogfish family, (of which there are 119 species). But given that sharks in general are so threatened, is it worth it? Many would say “Of course it isn’t!!! But for those dealing with serious health challenges where AKGs may help, they may decide otherwise. It’s a tough question, and each has to make their own decision that they can live with.
After researching alkylglycerols intermittently for years, I find it interesting how many more recent and past studies on them are surfacing. Google searches on AKGs seem to change and expand almost weekly.
1. Multiple Beneficial Health Effects of Natural Alkylglycerols from Shark Liver Oil Mar. Drugs 2010, 8(7), 2175-2184; https://www.mdpi.com/1660-3397/8/7/2175/htm
2. Some biological actions of alkylglycerols from shark liver oil Peter T. Pugliese, Karin Jordan, Hokan Cederberg, and Johan Brohult. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Spring 1998, 4(1): 87-99. doi:10.1089/acm.1998.4.1-87. Read http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9553838
3. Alkylglycerols – A Novel Immune Boosting Nutrient with Anti-Aging Potential. Byron J. Richards, February 27, 2013 Read
4. Alkylglycerols and Cancer. Melvyn R. Werbach, M.D
5. Cytostatic and cytotoxic effects of alkylglycerols (Ecomer).Med Sci Monit. 2003 Nov;9(11)
6. An Update on the Therapeutic Role of Alkylglycerols. Mar Drugs. 2010; 8(8): 2267–2300 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2953404/