For millennia, people who have lived near the oceans have turned to the sea for solutions to their health needs. The ocean was almost a medicine cabinet for the ancient Chinese. To this day, because of their potency, remedies our predecessors discovered from the seas continue to provide ancient, alternative treatments for our ailments.
Fucoxanthin is a marine carotenoid derived from brown seaweed. Cartenoids are responsible for the color of many marine-based life. Fucoxnathin has been studied for its antioxidant properties, according to Dr. Julius Goepp, leading to evidence of its effectiveness in preventing strokes and reducing inflammation in animals. Goepp also notes that consuming fucoxanthins can lower your risk of heart disease without the unwanted side effects that other medications might bring.
In a 16-week study to determine the effects of fucoxanthin on weight loss, participants who ingested fucoxanthin supplements “lost an average of more than 15 pounds compared with just three pounds in their placebo-supplemented peers,” according to Goepp. The weight loss is attributed to fucoxanthin’s ability to help white adipose fat mimic brown fat, which burns energy rather than stores it.
According to Colin J. Barrow and Fereidoon Shahidi, authors of "Marine Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods," fucoxanthin was found to be the main constituent that inhibited production of cancerous cells in a study of seafood extracts on tumors. The experiment was conducted to test the effect of fucoxanthin on prostate cancer. Of all the present cartenoids, fucoxanthin showed the highest activity in reducing the growth of prostate cancer cells. Further studies indicated evidence of fucoxanthin's ability "to reduce the viability of other human colon cancer cells," according to the Barrow and Shahidi's book.
In a study using mice with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that those given doses of fucoxanthin "showed significant reductions in their blood glucose levels and plasma insulin concentrations," according to Goepp's article "Safely Burn Away Body Fat," in Life Extension magazine. Moreover, in his article "The Carotenoid Fucoxanthin from Brown Seaweed Affects Obesity," Kazuo Miyashita reports that fucoxanthin improved insulin resistance in tested animals.
Consuming Brown Seaweed
Brown seaweed is the largest occurring seaweed and one of the most commonly used in Asian cooking, particularly in soups. Edible forms can be found in most Asian markets in both dry or hydrated forms. Though you will get the most benefits from eating it raw, most people prefer to stir-fry or make a miso or Korean seaweed soup. Recipes for both cooked or uncooked forms can be found online.
- “Life Extension”; Safely Burn Away Body Fat; Julius Goepp, MD; March 2008
- “Marine Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods”; Colin J. Barrow and Fereidoon Shahidi; 2008
- "Lipid Technology”; The Carotenoid Fucoxanthin from Brown Seaweed Affects Obesity; Kazuo Miyashita; October 2009