Undaria pinnatifida health benefit and fucoxanthin content

Undaria pinnatifida is a brown seaweed or kelp also known as wakame. Undaria pinnatifitida is the most commonly eaten seaweed in Japan, and contains sulphated polyanions and other components with potential anti-viral activity.

Effects of the brown seaweed Undaria pinnatifida on erythematous inflammation assessed using digital photo analysis.
Phytother Res. 2008. Khan MN, Lee MC, Kang JY, Park NG, Fujii H. Department of Biotechnology, Pukyong National University, Namku, Busan, South Korea.
Undaria pinnatifida methanol extract suppressed erythema by 50% when applied within 1 h before or 15 min after application of phorbol myristate acetate. Our reinforce the claims of the health care industry and indigenous medicine that Undaria pinnatifida can be used as a health food and remedy for inflammation-related symptoms.

Undaria pinnatifida nutritional content
Undaria pinnatifida has several ingredients including iodine, salt, fatty acids such as arachidonic acid, stearidonic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, and a carotenoid called fucoxanthin. The iodine content of Undaria pinnatifidacan range from 0.5 mg to 4 grams per gram.

Nutritional and toxicological importance of macro, trace, and ultra-trace elements in algae food products.
J Agric Food Chem. 2007. Dawczynski C, Schäfer U, Leiterer M. Institute of Nutrition, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany.
The content of 5 macro elements (Na, K, Ca, Mg, and P), 6 trace elements (Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Se, and I), and 4 ultra-trace elements (As, Pb, Cd, and Hg) in 34 edible dried seaweed products of brown algae (Laminaria sp., Undaria pinnatifida, and Hizikia fusiforme) and red algae (Porphyra sp.) originated from China, Japan, and Korea and bought by retail in Germany was determined. Assuming a daily intake with 5 g FM of algae, the contribution of the essential elements to the diet is low, with the exception of I. Brown algae contained as much as 1316 mg of Iodine per kg FM. More than 4000 mg of iodine /kg FM were found in several Laminaria sp. Moreover, some brown algae, such as Hizikia fusiforme, had high contents of total As (87 mg/kg FM).

Antioxidant benefit
Antioxidant activity of sulfated polysaccharide fractions extracted from Undaria pinnitafida in vitro.
Int J Biol Macromol. 2009. School of Life Sciences, Anhui University, Feixi Street, Hefei, PR China.
Two sulfated polysaccharide fractions (S1 and S2) were successfully isolated from seaweed Undaia pinnitafida and the chemical characteristics were determined. Antioxidant activities of the polysaccharide fractions were evaluated by assays of various antioxidants in vitro systems, including superoxide anion, 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), hydroxyl radical-scavenging activity and metal chelating ability. The results showed that the two sulfated polysaccharides contained rhamnose as the major neutral sugar and present high sulfate content (33.99-34.29%). Antioxidant assays suggested that the two sulfated polysaccharide fractions (S1 and S2) possessed good antioxidant properties and had stronger antioxidant abilities than de-sulfated polysaccharides (DS-1 and DS-2). Available data obtained by in vitro models suggested that the correlation between the sulfate content and antioxidant activity was positive. Copyright © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Fucoxanthin absorption and bioavailability from Undaria pinnatifida is low
Unlike other carotenoids, the absorption or availability of Fucoxanthin, when ingested from Undaria pinnatifida, is quite low.

Low bioavailability of dietary epoxyxanthophylls in humans.
Br J Nutr. 2008. Asai A, Yonekura L, Nagao A. National Food Research Institute, 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 such as Undaria pinnatifida. 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 Undaria pinnatifida. Even after 1 week of spinach intake (3 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 Undaria pinnatifida intake (6 mg fucoxanthin per day).

Undaria pinnatifida extract anti viral activity
GFS, a preparation of Tasmanian Undaria pinnatifida is associated with healing and inhibition of reactivation of Herpes.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2002; Cooper R, Dragar C, Elliot K, Fitton JH, Thompson K. Anubha Mountain Health Retreat, Kingston, Tasmania, Australia.
We sought to assess whether GFS, a proprietary preparation of Tasmanian Undaria pinnatifida, has effects on healing or re-emergence of Herpetic infections, and additionally, to assess effects of GFS in vitro. Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infections have lower reactivation rates and Herpes type 2 (HSV-2) infections have lower incidence in Japan than in the west. METHODS: Patients with active (15 subjects) or latent (6 subjects) Herpetic infections (HSV-1, 2, EBV, Zoster) were monitored for response to ingestion of GFS. GFS extract was tested in vitro for human T cell mitogenicity and anti-Herpes activity. Ingestion of GFS was associated with increased healing rates in patients with active infections. In addition, patients with latent infection remained asymptomatic whilst ingesting GFS. GFS extract inhibited Herpes viruses in vitro and was mitogenic to human T cells in vitro. Ingestion of GFS has inhibitory effects on reactivation and is associated with increased rate of healing after Herpetic outbreaks. GFS extract potently inhibited Herpes virus in vitro, and had mitogenic effects on human T cells.