Snail extract by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
March 1 2016


The name snail applies to most members of the molluscan class Gastropoda that have coiled shells. Snails are found in freshwater, marine, and terrestrial environments. Other gastropods, which lack a conspicuous shell, are commonly called slugs, and are scattered throughout groups that primarily include snails. While most people are familiar with only terrestrial snails, the majority of snails are not terrestrial.


White Jade Snail extract
An extract from China's white jade snail, used for years as a culinary delicacy, is now available as a food supplement. Part of the Helicidae family, Gastropoda class, the snail contains 20 types of essential amino acids and is low in fat (2 per cent). It has traditionally been used to boost the immune system, enhance sexual performance, and to prevent cardiac and cerebral vascular diseases. Cosmetically it has been used for its regenerative abilities to treat acne, acne scars, age spots and wrinkles, says its manufacturer, Iris Trade Inc. The company has been selling the ingredient in Brazil and is now introducing it to the North American market.


Snail and Meningitis

Eating raw or half-raw snails has led to almost 40 people in Beijing coming down with meningitis, and the same species is being blamed for destroying a huge swath of rice crops. Around half of the victims had eaten a dish made with Amazonian snails at a chain of Sichuan restaurants. The large, black snails are a hot-selling aquatic product in big Chinese cities like Beijing. Those falling sick had been infected by parasitic eel worms.


Health benefit from snails?
Toxin from a deadly sea snail found on Australia's Great Barrier Reef could revolutionize the treatment of chronic pain. These snails hunt things like fish and other snails and they sting them and they inject a really potent venom that paralyses the prey. "One of the components of the venom blocks the pain receptors which means it will block the pain response. A future drug developed from the toxin from the conus marmoreus marine snail could be highly successful as a pain killer for people who suffered side effects from conventional treatments such as morphine. Normal pain (relief) drugs such as morphine have a lot of side effects such as drowsiness, nausea and vision disturbances because they are not very specific. This toxin targets only pain, it doesn't affect anything else. The toxin is currently very expensive to produce as scientists must extract it from the sea snail which measures just 6 cm (2 inches).


Q. We produce escargots in Peru and sell concentrated snail extract. In case you are interested contact me,
Flavio Lavaggi, General Manager, Agroindustrial Churu.


Snail allergy can happen
Allergy. 1996. Asthma after consumption of snails in house-dust-mite-allergic patients: a case of IgE cross-reactivity. A group of 28 patients from Italy was studied who had asthma after consumption of snail. All patients also had asthma and/or rhinitis caused by house-dust mite. RAST analyses confirmed the combined sensitization to snail and mite. In a few sera, IgE antibodies reactive with other foods of invertebrate origin (mussel and shrimp) were detected. RAST inhibition showed that most IgE antibodies against snail were cross-reactive with house-dust mite. In contrast, the mite RAST was not significantly inhibited by snail. This indicates that house-dust mite was the sensitizing agent. Immunoblot analyses revealed multiple bands in snail extract recognized by IgE. In contrast to what has been described for cross-reactivity between shrimp and mite, tropomyosin played only a minor role as a cross-reactive allergen in these patients. The observations in this study indicate that snail consumption can cause severe asthmatic symptoms in house-dust-mite-allergic patients. It might, therefore, be advisable to screen mite-allergic asthma patients for allergy to snail and other invertebrate animal foods.