Can brown seaweed help with weight loss? Although proponents claim that Fucoxanthin can assist users with weight loss, the carotenoid is under-researched as a weight loss agent. It’s just too early to recommend it for substantial weight reduction.
Our research team helped us look deeper. They researched the entire list of ingredients, potential related side effects, and any clinical research that either supported or refuted claims of weight loss. We refined and summarized all of that information to present you with the facts you need about Fucoxanthin.
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What is Fucoxanthin?
Fucoxanthin is a carotenoid pigment contained in brown seaweed and other types of seaweed. It is said to have the capability of absorbing higher amounts of light in deep water hence its survival in deeper seas. For more than thousands of years, ancestors who lived in the coastal areas sought herbal medicines from the sea.
Brown seaweed was also used as an herbal remedy for inflammatory conditions. It is also known to have fat burning properties, anti-nociceptive properties, and antioxidant properties.
Chemically Fucoxanthin is categorized under Xanthophylls, and its chemical structure is considered unique. Its chemical formula is C42H58O6. It contains 5, 6-monoepoxide and an extraordinary allenic bond which is responsible for its unique structure.
How Did Fucoxanthin Start?
According to LiveStrong, even though Fucoxanthin was not known to man as a separate chemical which has multiple health benefits, brown seaweed was used for millennia by mainly the people living in coastal areas.
Ancient Chinese people used seafood and seaweed extensively in their day to day diet and their herbal medical remedies.
Seaweed is traditionally used for many health-related purposes in many countries. For example, in Korea, following childbirth mothers are fed with “mieok,” a soup made of a type of seaweed which is thought to provide the lost vitamins and minerals during pregnancy.
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Fucoxanthin supplement products are available in different product names and brands. These products claim to be effective in some health conditions and are said to promote weight loss. They also claim that these Fucoxanthin supplement products are effective in bringing about weight loss by way of burning fat and it is a reliable and steady effect.
Unlike other carotenoids, it is claimed that Fucoxanthin can scavenge oxygen free radicals. Also, it is said to have a skin protective action, especially from the harmful UV rays.
Many fucoxanthin supplement products also claim that these benefits are brought about without any side effects like sleep disturbances or jitteriness. However, all these claims are yet to be 100% proven by scientific studies.
Sources Of Fucoxanthin
Brown seaweed is considered the most abundant source of Fucoxanthin. However, there are other varieties of microalgae that contain high amounts of Fucoxanthin as well.
This seaweed and microalgae extracts are found in many Fucoxanthin supplement products. Some of the microalgae and seaweed species are:
Laminaria japonica (Ma-Kombu)
Fucus vesiculosus (Bladderwrack)
Phaeodactylum tricornutum (Microalgae form)
Ecklonia cava, Odontella aurita (Microalgae form)
Sargassum family (coreanum, hemiphyllum, fulvellum, horneri)
Nutritional Value Of Seaweed
Seaweeds absorb an abundance of minerals and naturally occurring elements from the sea. This makes them a very rich source of most of the vitamins and minerals required for nutrition.
Seaweed is thought to be one of the best sources of Calcium. It is said that a serving of seaweed contains more Calcium than a cup of fresh milk. Also, seaweeds contain potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron as minerals.
According to LiveStrong, seaweed is also a rich natural source of an abundance of vitamins. Vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folate are the most commonly found vitamins in seaweed.
It is also low in fat, a rich source of dietary fiber, and is considered one of the very few plant sources that contain vitamin B 12.
Fucoxanthin supplements usually come as an ingredient in combination with other compounds. These supplement products typically contain:
Brown Seaweed extract containing Fucoxanthin
Green tea extract
In addition to these ingredients, these products also claim to be free of:
Salt and sugar
Artificial colors and flavors
Does Fucoxanthin Work?
Brown seaweed extract containing Fucoxanthin is known to have potent weight loss promoting properties. It has been used for other health benefits for a very long time as well.
Some research and some user reviews suggest that Fucoxanthin supplement might be of use as a weight loss promoting agent.
However, to validate it as a scientifically proven product, there is no sufficient conclusive scientific research using human subjects.
According to Nutrition Research and Practice, one study conducted in 2013 found out that ingestion of Fucoxanthin extract is effective in enhancing cholesterol and lipid metabolism in mice who took a diet with high-fat content.
Another mice study, Molecular Medicine Reports claims, concluded that there is a nutritional and biochemical basis for the usage of Fucoxanthin supplements as an agent that promotes weight loss and prevents obesity-related disease conditions.
Benefits & Results
Fucoxanthin Benefits And Results
Fucoxanthin extract is known to have a multitude of health benefits. These include; anti-obesity and weight loss effects, skin protective effects, and gastric and hepatic protective effects.
Fucoxanthin supplement decreases the weight added by adipose tissue in a significant way. These effects have been shown to be beneficial in controlling and preventing obesity, and metabolic syndrome.
Fucoxanthin also has skin protective effects. Fucoxanthin extracted from the seaweed species L. japonica is known to inhibit the activity of tyrosinase in guinea pig irradiated with UVB and suppress melanogenesis in mice who were irradiated with UVB.
Also, oral ingestion of Fucoxanthin supplement has been associated with reduced expression of skin mRNA in melanogenesis.
Furthermore, Fucoxanthin is observed to have a photo-protective action in fibroblast cells through improved antioxidant response and suppression of DNA damage.
All these studies draw the conclusion that oral Fucoxanthin supplement may minimize or get rid of the negative outcomes of UV radiation.
The mechanism by which Fucoxanthin exerts its Liver protective properties were studied at a molecular level using human hepatoma cell lines (HepG2).
Details On Fucoxanthin And Weight Loss
Fucoxanthin extract is known to break down fat in the adipose tissue store of the human body. There are several mechanisms which are thought to be responsible for the fat burning action of Fucoxanthin.
The first is by way of increasing Adiponectin levels in the blood. A mice study showed that by consuming a diet supplemented with Fucoxanthin, there was a significant rise in Adiponectin (a hormone responsible for the breakdown of fat).
Also, researchers have noticed an elevation in the number of beta 3 adrenergic receptors of the rats that were given Fucoxanthin. When this happens, there is an increase in the mitochondrial respiration which elevates the metabolic rate of the body.
This, in turn, results in reduced fat stores in the body leading to weight loss.
Fucoxanthin And Blood Glucose Levels
Fucoxanthin extract has shown to be effective in lowering blood glucose levels. This is by way of catalyzing the secretion of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which increases the sensitivity of Insulin. It is also believed to regulate the Insulin levels in the blood and helps to control food and sugar cravings.
It is also thought that Fucoxanthin extract exerts its action with a decrease in blood glucose levels by enhancing the uptake of glucose from the skeletal muscles via increasing the expression of GLUT4 receptor action.
Fucoxanthin and Inflammatory Conditions
Seaweeds, especially the brown ones are known to have anti-inflammatory properties since ancient times, and it has been used as an herbal remedy in many traditional medical practices.
Fucoxanthin is the chemical compound which is responsible for this effect of the seaweeds. LPS (Lipopolysaccharides) induced inflammatory responses are what Fucoxanthin is most effective against. It is shown to bring about these effects by increasing the secretion of nitric oxide and cytokines.
Fucoxanthin is thought to be effective and potent as Prednisone in very high concentrations.
General Consumer Impression On Fucoxanthin
As with any other supplement, Fucoxanthin extract too has attracted widespread praise mainly as a weight loss promoting agent while getting some negative feedback in the meantime.
Many consumers have had concerns over the six week period which the Fucoxanthin supplement takes to start giving results. So, a lot of them have discontinued using the Fucoxanthin supplement after using it for two or three weeks and not have desired results.
In the meantime, there have been satisfied consumers who have not only lost weight but also felt energetic and refreshed.
Although the Fucoxanthin supplement is considered safe and side effect free, a few consumers have noted some changes like disturbances in bowel movements, stomach pains & gastrointestinal disturbances, headaches, etc.
So, as with any product, Fucoxanthin too has had positive and negative remarks owing to the reason that the individual factors, environmental and genetic factors can come into play when producing the outcome of Fucoxanthin therapy.
How To Use (Take) Fucoxanthin
Approximately 2.4-8 mg of 100% Fucoxanthin has proven to be effective in a few human studies conducted by researchers. However, higher doses than that have not been studied extensively, and there is no sufficient data to comment on the safety or effectiveness.
But, practically, small dosages of 100% Fucoxanthin is not accurately measurable. Therefore a 25% Fucoxanthin extract is available to be taken in a 9.6-32 mg dosage.
Taking 20 mg a day is considered a healthy starting dose. It is shown that there is increased absorption of Fucoxanthin when taken along with fatty acids (fish oil) or Linoleic acid in its conjugated form.
Potential Fucoxanthin Side Effects
Iodine is ingested into the body in excessive amounts when people consume lots of seaweed since there is no pure Fucoxanthin available.
It is always better to refrain from taking increased amounts of seaweed because of the above risk. Also, for people who have had allergies and hypersensitivities to Iodine, it is advised to refrain from seaweed.
Apart from this, there have been reports of minor side effects experienced by some users. These include:
According to Examine.com, fucoxanthin extract is known to interact with nutrients in the diet like fatty acids and some chemical compounds. Only one human study has been published with no conclusive data, so we urge caution.
The inclusion of fish oil and other medium chain triglycerides have shown to increase the percentage of absorption into the bloodstream. Linoleic acid in its conjugated form is proven to have an assistive effect on the anti-obesity action on mice.
Fucoxanthin Product Warnings
When using Fucoxanthin supplement products, even though minimal side effects have been reported, it is advisable to proceed with some degree of caution.
Also, it is essential to consider any medications that you are currently taking and any drug or food allergies that you have had in the past.
Consulting your doctor or your pharmacist is recommended in the above situations. Also, it is advisable to refrain from taking Fucoxanthin supplement products during pregnancy and lactation as there is no sufficient scientific evidence or information to prove its safety.
Although Fucoxanthin is thought to be contained in higher amounts in Brown seaweed and Brown seaweed extract is thought to be the go-to source for Fucoxanthin, there are many other alternative sources of Fucoxanthin as well.
Ma-Kombu (Laminaria japonica) is a healthy alternative to brown seaweed as a source of Fucoxanthin. It grows in tropical climates and is famously grown in Japan and Korea. It is a salty flavored algae which can grow up to 80 meters in height.
The whole plant is used in herbal medical remedies, and it is known as a rich source of Sodium, Calcium, and dietary fiber as well.
Ma-Kombu is considered effective in treating some disease conditions and health issues.
As a source of Fucoxanthin extract, it obviously is effective in anti-obesity treatment.
Turbinaria turbinate is a form of algae which is known to be an effective alternative source of Fucoxanthin extract. It is a marine carotenoid with a central column with triangular blades in its branches.
It is brownish cream in color and has dark brown spots all over. It commonly grows in shallow seas and found extensively in the Bahamas, the Caribbean island, and Florida.
Fucus vesiculosus (Bladderwrack) is another alternative plant source of Fucoxanthin extract.
In addition to Fucoxanthin and Iodine, Bladderwrack also contains algin which has laxative properties making it a good choice for people with constipation to attain sufficient bowel movement.
What Users Are Saying
“I’ve only been taking Fucoxanthin for three weeks now. I know that it takes a whole six weeks to completely kick in for weight loss, but I’m starting to feel a lot more energetic. I am able to wake up refreshed and feel awake the entire day! That’s amazing. Hopefully this, along with my proper diet and exercise, will help me lose some excess weight too. I would definitely recommend this product.”
“I’ve used it as instructed, but don’t see much difference.”
“This done nothing fo is to give me energy. I waited for BETTER results. But I appear more tired than usual. I’m very disappointed!!!”
The Bottom Line on Fucoxanthin
So, the moment you’ve been waiting for: our final thoughts on Fucoxanthin. Well, we like that it’s readily available and that we found some favorable customer comments, but the lack of research supporting the weight-loss claims leaves us a bit concerned.
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Fucoxanthin is a dietary supplement that is made with green tea extract, a vitamin and mineral blend, pomegranate extract, caffeine, brown seaweed, and South African hoddia powder.
What are the side effects of Fucoxanthin?
Common side effects of consuming Fucoxanthin dietary supplements include temporary constipation, upset stomach, gas, discolored stool, and excitability.
How do I know if Fucoxanthin is right for me?
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Does Fucoxanthin work?
Dieters who have consumed Fucoxanthin on a consistent basis have reported weight loss and increased energy as benefits of the supplements, along with diet and exercise changes.
What is the price of Fucoxanthin ?
Fucoxanthin supplements can be purchased in a container that holds 30 caplets for 20 USD or a container that holds 60 caplets for 30 USD.
How should I take Fucoxanthin ?
Fucoxanthin should be consumed on a daily basis with a meal. It should also be consumed at the same time each day, if possible.
How do I contact Fucoxanthin customer service?
Customer service for Fucoxanthin dietary supplements can be reached through the retailer where the supplement was purchased.
Can I return Fucoxanthin ?
Fucoxanthin may or may not be returned depending upon the retailer through which it was purchased. Unopened containers of the supplements will likely be the only suitable item for return.
What are the most common complaints about Fucoxanthin ?
Common complaints about Fucoxanthin include the supplement’s after taste, problems with the digestive system, the supplement’s ineffectiveness in certain individuals, headaches, upset stomach, and frequent nausea when the supplement is taken on an empty stomach.