12 Amazing Health Benefits of Fucoidan – with Mechanisms
Fucoidan is a type of polysaccharide found in seaweeds that has been researched for its anticancer effects. It may benefit those with osteoarthritis and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
Fucoidan is a complex sulfated polysaccharide derived from rich sources such as bladderwrack, other brown algae, echinoderms, and seagrasses
- Anti-coagulant (prevents blood clotting)
- Anti-viral (anti-infectious) – Antibacterial / probiotic – Antitumor
- Wound healing
- Anti-angiogenic (reduces growth of new blood vessels)
- Anti-thrombotic (reduce formation of clots)
Research in marine food sources has helped reveal many potential remedies for an array of health issues – most being attributable to the presence of fucoidan.
Mechanisms of Action
Benefits of Fucoidan and Fucoidan-Rich Foods
In a pilot study of 12 people with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, 100 mg of a fucoidan supplement given for three months reduced symptoms of arthritis by 18% and 1,000 mg of fucoidan reduced symptoms by 52% .
2) Fucoidan May Help Fight Cancer
Fucoidan fight cancer by immune cell activation and increased production of anticancer cytokines . Fucoidan blocked cell growth, caused programmed cell death, and suppressed formation of new blood cells in thyroid cancer cells .
3) Fucoidan May Prevent
Clots In a cell study, fucoidan increased the activity of proteins that block the coagulation process .
4) Fucoidan May Fight Viruses
Fucoidans protect against many different species of viruses. Evidence for the effect of fucoidans against viruses include:
- Fucoidan strongly inhibited influenza A infection in mice .
- Fucoidans stop viruses from replicating and increase immune defense functions .
- Fucoidan blocked HTLV-1 (human T lymphotropic virus type-1) infection in cell studies .
- Fucoidan demonstrated potent antiviral activity against herpes of all types: simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), HSV-2, and human cytomegalovirus .
- In a rat brain model, fucoidan prevented the death of neurons caused by β-amyloid plaques, which are involved in Alzheimer’s disease .
- Treatment with fucoidan reduces the encephalitogenic response (brain swelling and spinal cord swelling) in encephalomyelitis .
7) Fucoidan May Protect Against Chemotherapy
9) Fucoidan Protect the Liver
Due to fucoidan, bladderwrack helps to protect against chemically-induced excess scarring of the liver .
10) Fucoidan May Fight Malaria
Fucoidan helped fight malaria infection in cell studies and in mice .
Mice exposed to a high-fat diet gained less weight when fucoidan was included in their diet .
Limitations and Caveats
Most of the studies on fucoidan are in animals or isolated cells and there is a lack of clinical trials to support the existing research. Further clinical trials are needed to confirm if fucoidan benefits humans. Caution should be taken when applying this research to use in humans.
Because fucoidan may be an anticoagulant (clot preventative), caution should be taken when using it with other anticoagulants such as warfarin or heparin . Dosage towards the higher end may be more effective as an adjuvant cancer therapy.