What Is Fucoidan?
Fucoidan is a substance found in the cell walls of certain seaweed species that is used medicinally for a wide variety of health purposes. You might take fucoidan to help treat high blood pressure, infections or allergies. Consult your doctor before you begin using fucoidan to discuss the correct dosage, as well as the potential side effects, drug interactions and other health risks.
Fucoidan is a type of sulfated polysaccharide found in several different species of brown seaweed, including bladderwrack and kelp. Fucoidan contains galactose, glucoronic acid, xylose and several other major constituents that give the substance its potential health benefits, says the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Fucoidan is also called sulfated alpha-L-fucan.
Laminaria Extract & Weight Loss
Fucoidan appears to have anti-tumor, anti-cancer and neuroprotective actions, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Specifically, fucoidan acts to block cancer cells from developing and growing. Fucoidan also seems to provide anti-coagulant and anti-thrombotic effects that improve blood circulation. The substance offers actions that modulate the immune system and antioxidant actions as well.
- Fucoidan appears to have anti-tumor, anti-cancer and neuroprotective actions, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
- Fucoidan also seems to provide anti-coagulant and anti-thrombotic effects that improve blood circulation.
Like kelp, fucoidan is sometimes recommended to help treat hypertension or high blood pressure. Fucoidan may also help treat allergies, bacterial and viral infections, and inflammation, as well as help to stimulate your immune system, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Similarly, bladderwrack – a type of brown seaweed from which fucoidan is derived – can help to treat wounds and prevent infections, says the University of Michigan Health System. Kelp, another type of brown seaweed containing fucoidan, is sometimes recommended for treating viral infections like herpes, common colds and influenza, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Talk with your physician before using fucoidan or any type of brown seaweed for medicinal purposes.
- Like kelp, fucoidan is sometimes recommended to help treat hypertension or high blood pressure.
- Kelp, another type of brown seaweed containing fucoidan, is sometimes recommended for treating viral infections like herpes, common colds and influenza, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Side Effects of Limu
Because fucoidan is part of several kinds of brown seaweed, different types of seaweed offer additional medicinal uses due to their other constituents. For example, bladderwrack is also sometimes used to treat hypothyroidism, due to its high iodine content, as well as gastrointestinal disorders like diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, indigestion and gastritis, says the University of Michigan Health System. Kelp is sometimes recommended to help prevent cancer, support HIV treatments and promote weight loss, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. No conclusive medical research supports the use of brown seaweed or fucoidan to treat or prevent any health condition, however.
- Because fucoidan is part of several kinds of brown seaweed, different types of seaweed offer additional medicinal uses due to their other constituents.
- No conclusive medical research supports the use of brown seaweed or fucoidan to treat or prevent any health condition, however.
Although no major adverse reactions have been reported from using fucoidan, the substance may increase your bleeding risks if you’re also taking blood-thinning medications, warns the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. If you take large amounts of certain types of brown seaweed like kelp or bladderwrack, you could develop thyroid problems due to excessive iodine intake. Also, brown seaweed like kelp can contain possibly dangerous levels of toxic substances, like arsenic, that the plant absorbs from a contaminated water environment, potentially causing poisoning when you ingest it in large amounts, cautions the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Laminaria Extract & Weight Loss
Side Effects of Limu
What Is Hesperidin (Vitamin P)?
Role of Guggul Extract in Weight Loss
Black Walnut Extract Side Effects
How to Take Kelp Powder
What Are the Benefits of Bladderwrack?
Herbs for Spinal Stenosis
The Advantages & Disadvantages of Algae
Burdock Root Side Effects
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Fucoidan
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: Kelp
- Bu T, Kiu M, Zheng L, Guo Y, Lin X. α-Glucosidase inhibition and the in vivo hypoglycemic effect of butyl-isobutyl-phthalate derived from the Laminaria japonica rhizoid. Phytother Res. 2010 Nov;24(11):1588-91.
- Catarino Marcelo D, Silva Artur MS, Cardoso Susana M. Phycochemical Constituents and Biological Activities of Fucus spp. Mar Drugs. 2018 Aug; 16(8): 249.
- Chater PI, Wilcox M, Cherry P, Herford A, Mustar S, Wheater H, Brownlee I, Seal C, Pearson J. Inhibitory activity of extracts of Hebridean brown seaweeds on lipase activity. J. Appl. Phycol. 2016;28:1303–1313.
- Choi JS, et al. Effects of seaweed Laminaria japonica extracts on skin moisturizing activity in vivo. J Cosmet Sci. 2013 May-Jun;64(3):193-205.
- Cumashi A, Ushakova NA, Preobrazhenskaya ME, D'Incecco A, Piccoli A, Totani L, Tinari N, Morozevich GE, Berman AE, Bilan MI, Usov AI, Ustyuzhanina NE, Grachev AA, Sanderson CJ, Kelly M, Rabinovich GA, Iacobelli S, Nifantiev NE; Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale per la Bio-Oncologia, Italy. A comparative study of the anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, antiangiogenic, and antiadhesive activities of nine different fucoidans from brown seaweeds. Glycobiology. 2007 17(5):541-52.
- Fujimura T, et al. Treatment of human skin with an extract of Fucus vesiculosus changes its thickness and mechanical properties. J Cosmet Sci. 2002 Jan-Feb;53(1):1-9.
- Haskell-Ramsay Crystal F, et al. Acute Post-Prandial Cognitive Effects of Brown Seaweed Extract in Humans. Nutrients. 2018 Jan; 10(1): 85.
- Kim Jae-Young, et al. Effects of the Brown Seaweed Laminaria japonica Supplementation on Serum Concentrations of IgG, Triglycerides, and Cholesterol, and Intestinal Microbiota Composition in Rats. Front. Nutr., 12 April 2018.
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. About herbs: Bladder wrack.
- Myers Stephen P, et al. A combined phase I and II open label study on the effects of a seaweed extract nutrient complex on osteoarthritis. Biologics. 2010; 4: 33–44.
- National Institutes of Health. MedlinePlus Supplements. Fucus Vesiculosus.
- Paradis ME, Couture P, Lamarche B. A randomised crossover placebo-controlled trial investigating the effect of brown seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus) on post-challenge plasma glucose and insulin levels in men and women. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 2011;36:913–919.
- Romm, Aviva. "Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health."
- Sharifuddin Yussrizam, et al. Potential Bioactive Compounds from Seaweed for Diabetes Management. Mar Drugs. 2015 Aug; 13(8): 5447–5491.
- Skibola CF. The effect of Fucus vesiculosus, an edible brown seaweed, upon menstrual cycle length and hormonal status in three pre-menopausal women: a case report. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2004 4;4:10.
- Skibola Christine F, et al. Brown Kelp Modulates Endocrine Hormones in Female Sprague-Dawley Rats and in Human Luteinized Granulosa Cells. The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 135, Issue 2, February 2005, Pages 296–300.
- Ventura S, Rodrigues M, Falcao A, Alves G. Safety evidence on the administration of Fucus vesiculosus L. (bladderwrack) extract and lamotrigine: data from pharmacokinetic studies in the rat. Drug Chem Toxicol. 2018 Oct 18:1-7.
Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.