Fucoxanthin supplement - Does this product use lead to weight loss? Review of benefits and side effects, safety and dosage
March 25 2014

Fucoxanthin is a carotenoid found in edible brown seaweeds. There are some companies promoting it as a weight loss supplement, as are many promoting Acai Berry pills which do not seem to work well for this purpose. More human research needs to be done with it before this carotenoid can be recommended as a Weight Loss Pill. In fact, we have not come across any human research with a fucoxanthin supplement pill. In the meantime, consider Diet Pill Rx as an effective appetite suppressant.
   As of 2014, no significant human clinical studies could be found on Medline with fucoxanthin supplements.

Source
Fucoxanthin is found in brown algae or kelp. Two common species of brown seaweed that contain it include Undaria pinnatifida also known as wakame, and Fucus nodosus.

Side effects, safety, danger, caution
Since fucoxanthin is difficult to find in pure form, people who take a fucoxanthin supplement do so as part of brown seaweed or as a 5 percent or 10 percent extract of seaweed. One gram of seaweed has several times the amount of iodine that most adults require on a daily basis. Therefore, a potential side effect from a fucoxanthin containing product from seaweed could include changes in thyroid function due to iodine excess. It is difficult to specify what adverse effects it would have until ingredient suppliers are able to concentrate fucoxanthin from seaweed to a 90 percent plus extract concentration.

In vitro and in vivo evaluation of mutagenicity of fucoxanthin (FX) and its metabolite fucoxanthinol (FXOH).
J Toxicol Sci. 2009.
Based on the data of the present study it can be presumed that orally administered FX is a safe compound in terms of mutagenicity under the experimental conditions employed here.

Fucoxanthin products
Be careful when you buy a product promoted as fucoxanthin since you may be, in some cases, basically buying brown seaweed. Also, you have to consider the high amount of iodine in these products since excess iodine can cause goiters or other thyroid malfunctions. Also, just because a product claims it has a specific mg of fucoxanthin does not mean the information is reliable. Some companies may not be honest and their label may not reflect what is actually in the capsules.

FucoMax 200 mg capsules contain a 10% gucoxanthin extract (not a concentrate) made from edible Wakame Seaweed gathered from the Sea of Japan. Each FucoMax Capsule has 20 mg of pure gucoxanthin, most products on the market today only have 5 mg and are not made from edible brown seaweed. FucoMax also has a high concentration of Cha' de Bugre extract. The amount of sodium is not listed.

FucoTHIN 200 mg blend composed of brown seaweed (Undaria pinnatifida, Laminaria japonica) concentrate with 5 mg per serving. The label does not mention the amount of iodine or the amount of sodium.

FucoXanthin Plus by Nutrimatrix has a proprietary fucoxanthin blend 283mg: Brown Seaweed (Undaria Pinnatifida, Laminaria japonica) Concentrate (contains 5mg of fucoxanthin) Pomegranate Seed Oil, Green Tea Extract, Certified South African Hoodia Gordonii.

Fucoxanthin-Slim has a Proprietary blend 200 mg per capsule of Xanthigen Brown Seaweed (Undaria pinnatifida, Laminaria japonica) concentrate (contains 5 mg of fucoxanthin), Pomegranate Seed Oil.

Good'N Natural Fucoxanthin says on the middle panel of their product label "Fucoxanthin." However, when you read the supplement fact panel, there is 1000 mg of brown seaweed fucus nodosus and the label does not say how much fucoxanthin is present in the 1000 mg. We found one site with the identical product under a different label that says the 1000 mg of the seaweed has 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg of fucoxanthin. That's right. You are buying plain brown seaweed. Plus, there is 650 mcg of iodine in each capsule which is more than 400 percent of the daily value required by adults. Plus, this product has 35 milligrams of sodium. If anything, the label should say sodium on it since it appears to be the ingredient with the highest amount in this " Fucoidan " supplement.

inShape Fucoxanthin has Brown Seaweed 250mg (Undaria pinnatifida, Laminaria japonica) and there is no mention of the amount of fucoxanthin, sodium, or iodine in each capsule.

Fucoxanthin and weight loss - animal studies
Most of the time, when animal studies are done, the amount of herbs or drugs used is much higher per body weight than what is normally ingested by humans. Therefore, one has to be cautious interpreting studies and outcomes in animals.

Dietary Combination of Fucoxanthin and Fish Oil Attenuates the Weight Gain of White Adipose Tissue and Decreases Blood Glucose in Obese/Diabetic KK-A(y) Mice.
J Agric Food Chem. 2007. Faculty of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University, Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan, and Creative Research Institute, Hokkaido University, Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan
We previously reported that dietary fucoxanthin attenuates the weight gain of white adipose tissue (WAT) of diabetic/obese mice. In this study, to evaluate the antiobesity and antidiabetic effects of fucoxanthin and fish oil, we investigated the effect on the WAT weight, blood glucose, and insulin levels of mice. After 4 weeks of feeding, 0.2% fucoxanthin in the diet markedly attenuated the gain of WAT weight. The WAT weight of the mice fed 0.1% fucoxanthin and 6.9% fish oil was also significantly lower than that of the mice fed fucoxanthin alone. In addition, 0.2% fucoxanthin markedly decreased the blood glucose and plasma insulin concentrations. The mice fed with the combination diet of 0.1% fucoxanthin and fish oil also showed improvements similar to that of 0.2% fucoxanthin. Leptin and tumor necrosis factor (TNFalpha) mRNA expression in WAT were significantly down-regulated. These results suggest that dietary fucoxanthin decreases the blood glucose and plasma insulin concentration of KK- A (y) along with down-regulating TNFalpha mRNA. In addition, the combination of fucoxanthin and fish oil is more effective for attenuating the weight gain of WAT than feeding with fucoxanthin alone.

Fatty tissue
Fucoxanthin and its metabolite, fucoxanthinol, suppress adipocyte differentiation in 3T3-L1 cells.
Int J Mol Med. 2006. Maeda H, Hosokawa M, Sashima T, Kawada T, Miyashita K. Faculty of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University, Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan.
Fucoxanthin is a major carotenoid found in edible seaweed such as Undaria pinnatifida and Hijikia fusiformis. We investigated the suppressive effects of fucoxanthin and its metabolite, fucoxanthinol, on the differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes to adipocytes. Fucoxanthin inhibited intercellular lipid accumulation during adipocyte differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells. Furthermore, fucoxanthin was converted to fucoxanthino. Fucoxanthinol also exhibited suppressive effects on lipid accumulation and decreased glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase activity, an indicator of adipocyte differentiation.

Cancer
Growth inhibition of human hepatic carcinoma HepG2 cells by fucoxanthin is associated with down-regulation of cyclin D.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008. Das SK, Hashimoto T. Laboratory of Food and Nutritional Chemistry, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Kobe University, Nada, Hyogo, Japan.
Fucoxanthin, a major carotenoid in brown sea algae, has recently been demonstrated by us to inhibit the proliferation of colon cancer cells, and this effect was associated with growth arrest. The present study showed fucoxanthin was helpful as an inhibitor of a hepatic cancer cell line. These results, taken together with previous studies with fucoxanthin suggest that it may be useful in chemoprevention of other human malignancies.

Fucoxanthin absorption and bioavailability from food, distribution in the body
Unlike other carotenoids, the absorption or availability of fucoxanthin, when ingested from wakame source, is quite low.

Low bioavailability of dietary epoxyxanthophylls in humans.
Br J Nutr. 2008. Asai A, Yonekura L, Nagao A. National Food Research Institute, NARO, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.
Epoxyxanthophylls (epoxide-containing xanthophylls), a group of carotenoids, are ubiquitously distributed in edible plants. Among them, neoxanthin in green leafy vegetables and fucoxanthin in brown algae. To estimate the intestinal absorption of neoxanthin and fucoxanthin in humans, we evaluated the plasma epoxyxanthophyll concentrations before and after 1-week dietary interventions with spinach (Spinacia oleracea) and wakame (Undaria pinnatifida). Even after 1 week of spinach intake (3.0 mg neoxanthin per day), the plasma concentrations of neoxanthin and its metabolites (neochrome stereoisomers) remained very low, whereas those of beta-carotene and lutein were markedly increased. Similarly, the plasma concentration of fucoxanthinol, a gastrointestinal metabolite of fucoxanthin, was very low after 1 week of wakame intake (6 mg fucoxanthin per day).

The distribution and accumulation of fucoxanthin and its metabolites after oral administration in mice.
Br J Nutr. 2009: Hashimoto T, Ozaki Y, Taminato M, Das SK, Yoshimura K, Maoka T, Kanazawa K. Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Kobe University, Nada, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan.
In the present study, mice were orally administered fucoxanthin, and the distribution and accumulation of fucoxanthin and its metabolites fucoxanthinol and amarouciaxanthin A were measured in the plasma, erythrocytes, liver, lung, kidney, heart, spleen and adipose tissue. In a single oral administration of 160 nmol fucoxanthin, fucoxanthinol and amarouciaxanthin A were detectable in all specimens tested in the present study, but fucoxanthin was not. The time at maximum concentration (Tmax) of these metabolites in adipose tissue was 24 h, while the Tmax in the others was 4 h. Our results demonstrate that dietary fucoxanthin accumulates in the heart and liver as fucoxanthinol and in adipose tissue as amarouciaxanthin A.

Fucoxanthin in sea urchin
The major pigments detected in the gut wall of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus are breakdown products of fucoxanthin, namely fucoxanthinol and amarouciaxanthin.

Fucoxanthin distribution after ingestion
The distribution and accumulation of fucoxanthin and its metabolites after oral administration in mice.
Br J Nutr. 2009.
The pharmacokinetics of dietary fucoxanthin, one of the xanthophylls in brown sea algae, is little understood. In the present study, mice were orally administered fucoxanthin, and the distribution and accumulation of fucoxanthin and its metabolites fucoxanthinol and amarouciaxanthin A were measured in the plasma, erythrocytes, liver, lung, kidney, heart, spleen and adipose tissue. In a single oral administration of 160 nmol fucoxanthin, fucoxanthinol and amarouciaxanthin A were detectable in all specimens tested in the present study, but fucoxanthin was not. The time at maximum concentration (Tmax) of these metabolites in adipose tissue was 24 h, while the Tmax in the others was 4 h. These results demonstrate that dietary fucoxanthin accumulates in the heart and liver as fucoxanthinol and in adipose tissue as amarouciaxanthin A.

Additional seaweeds and seaweed supplement extracts
Aquamin has several minerals from the sea
Ascophyllum nodosum is a large, common, brown alga seaweed that has fucoxanthin.
Laminaria japonica has a substance known as fucoidan.
Sargassum fulvellum is a brown seaweed.

Questions
Q. Hello, We are a retail store and would like information and whole sale price on fucoxanthin product, we have been getting requests for this product and would like to know more about it.

Q. I eat all natural, work out 3-4 times per week. My weight won't budge...I have plenty of fat on my belly, thighs, arms, sides. I tried fucoxanthin for 3 days....I as very hungry and had trouble sleeping because I tried to eat what I normally would but was hungry and therefore irritable..... I have tried thermogenics with ephedra in the past I don't consume caffeine at all....bc I have trouble sleeping in general...I want to know if I took less than recommended fucoxanthin FucoThin by Garden of Life was what I was taking) would it still be beneficial.
   A. Fucoxanthin is new to the market and we don't have much experience with it yet. We are not familiar with the Garden of Life fucoxanthin product, but a search on the internet reveals that Garden of Life has a product called FucoThin, FucoThin has a brown seaweed extract (Undaria pinnatifida, Laminaria japonica). FucoThin has 5 mg of fucoxanthin in this product. We have not seen any research for weight loss with FucoThin so we don't know if it is effective.

Q. I am a health food store owner and recently got an email that said this: Fucoxanthin allows the body to burn fat specific to the belly. It is not new, if you have had Miso Soup, or Japanese Seaweed Salad, then you have had it. It is what is in the brown seaweed that gives it its distinctive color. But recent studies been published which have really peeked the interest of the scientific community. What they have determined is a high potency extract of the Fucoxanthin contained within the Wakame Seaweed has vast potential world-wide to combat obesity and associated diseases, such as Type II Diabetes. What makes Fucoxanthin so unique it has been scientifically proven to burn fat (particularly abdominal fat) by adaptive thermogenesis within white adipose tissue. This approach has never been explored before. Fucoxanthin works by breaking apart protein families and allowing the body to naturally metabolize fat, which is usually the last thing the body burns when expending energy. It's a totally new, totally innovative approach to weight loss." What are your thoughts on these claims?
   A. WeI have not seen any human studies regarding the role of a fucoxanthin supplement in weight loss.

Q. Would fucoxanthin worsen hypoglycemia or cause insulin resistance?
   A. We have not seen such studies in humans to determine if it has an effect on blood sugar or insulin resistance.

Q. I take Fucoxanthin-slim by Life Extension. It takes 6 weeks to see results of fat loss. Can Diet RX also help?
   A. The majority of Diet Rx users notice appetite suppression within 2 to 3 days. We don't have any reports of people using the combination of Fucoxanthin-Slim by Life Extension along with Diet Rx. Diet Rx is potent by itself and we suggest, if you are planning to take it, to use it by itself rather than combining it with other diet pills.

Q. I'm a health food store owner and received an email promotion regarding FucoPure. It said, "FucoPure Fucoxanthin from Japanese Wakame Seaweed. Japanese Wakame seaweed, thought to be one of the first types of marine vegetation originating on the planet over one billion years ago, may hold the key to staying slim and healthy. New scientific studies are suggesting that a pigment in this Japanese Wakame seaweed found in the form of a carotenoid called fucoxanthin, may hold answers to targeting and reducing abdominal fat. This brings to light a completely new theory in weight loss and combating obesity. Until recently, this has never been thought possible.
   A. We would like to see a few human studies before giving an opinion on the benefit of fucoxanthin for weight loss.

Trademarked products
FucoPure - Nutraceuticals International has trademarked a 10 percent fucoxanthin extract called FucoPure. Nutraceuticals says their extract comes from Wakame seaweed from the Sea of Japan!
LipoxanThin - National Bioscience USA has a proprietary concentrate of fucoxanthin called LipoxanThin.

Brown Marine Vegetables
Brown marine vegetables have been used in the Oriental and Russian diet since ancient times. Epidemiological studies suggest that the high consumption of marine vegetable derived products may be a contributing factor in their well-established, low incidence of breast cancer, prostate cancer and mortality rate related to obesity in these countries as compared to Americans.

Fucoxanthin supplement review
Fucoxanthin is a carotenoid found in edible brown seaweeds. There are some companies promoting fucoxanthin as a weight loss supplement. A search on Medline did not reveal human studies with fucoxanthin regarding weight loss.

Side effects
Since fucoxanthin is difficult to find in pure form, people who take a fucoxanthin supplement do so as normally present in brown seaweed or as a 5 percent or 10 percent extract of seaweed. Brown seaweed has a very small amount of natural fucoxanthin, on average about 0. 2 to 0.3 mg per 1000 mg. Please keep in mind that one gram of seaweed has several times the amount of iodine that most adults require on a daily basis. Therefore, a potential fucoxanthin side effect could include changes in thyroid function due to iodine excess. It is difficult to specify what side effects fucoxanthin would have until ingredient suppliers are able to concentrate fucoxanthin from seaweed to a 90 percent plus extract concentration.

Products
Be careful when you buy a product promoted as fucoxanthin since you may be, in some cases, basically buying brown seaweed. Also, you have to consider the high amount of iodine in these products since excess iodine can cause thyroid malfunction. Also, just because a product claims it has a specific mg of fucoxanthin does not mean the information is reliable. Some companies may not be honest and their label may not reflect what is actually in the capsules.
   A few fucoxanthin products list that their product has 1000 mg of brown seaweed which contains about 0.2 to 0.3 mg of fucoxanthin. Other companies market products that have 5 mg of fucoxanthin in each 200 mg capsule.

Fucoxanthin and weight loss - animal studies
Most of the time, when animal studies are done, the amount of herbs or drugs given to them is much higher per body weight than what is normally ingested by humans. Therefore, one has to be cautious interpreting studies and outcomes in animals.

Dietary Combination of Fucoxanthin and Fish Oil Attenuates the Weight Gain of White Adipose Tissue and Decreases Blood Glucose in Obese / Diabetic Mice.
J Agric Food Chem. 2007.
In this Japanese study, fucoxanthin was given to mice at an amount of 0.2 percent of their diet. The Fucoxanthin decreased blood glucose and plasma insulin concentration and helped the mice lose weight.
   You might think that this study confirms that fucoxanthin supplement use could lead to weight loss. Before you jump to conclusions, please read what respected nutrition and medical expert Dr. Sahelian has to say:

The amount of fucoxanthin fed to these mice was 0.2 percent of their diet. Let's say a person on average eats 1000 grams of food a day (humans eat more than this but we'll use 1000 grams to make calculations easier). If 0.2 percent of the diet given to the mice was fucoxanthin, this would mean that a person would have to consume 2 grams of fucoxanthin daily to have a similar effect as occurred in the mice. Two grams equals 2000 mg. The highest fucoxanthin containing product on the market we could find during an internet search was 10 mg per capsule. If one were to take even a few fucoxanthin capsules a day, iodine toxicity could likely occur and there is no way one would even come close to ingesting 2000 mg of fucoxanthin a day.

Bottom line
At this time we do not believe there is any evidence that fucoxanthin is effective for weight loss. However, it is a carotenoid and carotenoids have excellent antioxidant activity. The concern with taking a fucoxanthin supplement is that people could be exposed to very high levels of iodine.

Q. I'd like to supply you with Wakame, Konbu, Mozuku for extracting Fucoxanthin supplements. Nobuyasu Yamamoto, Nishimoto Trading Co. Ltd, Santa Fe Springs CA.