Fucoxanthin is a major antioxidant compound in seaweed, microalgae, and kelp. Although more research is needed to confirm its health benefits, some studies suggest that fucoxanthin may promote weight loss, reduce high blood sugar levels, decrease inflammation, maintain heart health, liver health and even help prevent cancer.
Mostly promoted as a weight loss pill, fucoxanthin is widely available online as a supplement, either in capsules or liquid form.
Based on studies conducted in animal models, fucoxanthin appears to promote weight loss by influencing several genes involved in fat metabolism.
One study in humans found that consuming fucoxanthin plus pomegranate oil helps reduce weight and body fat content in postmenopausal women with excess weight. These supplements increase the metabolic rate. Higher metabolic rate translates into burning fat more efficiently. It takes some time to notice weight loss. In this study, the results were evaluated after 16 weeks.
Diabetes affects millions of people worldwide and the prevalence of this condition is going to increase over the next decades. Fucoxanthin may help, as research shows it improves insulin sensitivity, and thus prevents diabetes — at least in animal models.
This anti-diabetes effect is explained in part by fucoxanthin’s ability to boost the metabolism of fat and promote a healthy weight.
Scientists believe that fucoxanthin from brown seaweed extracts is a promising compound for cancer prevention. Although research is limited and most studies were conducted in tube tests or on animal subjects, fucoxanthin shows the ability to inhibit the formation of cancerous tumors through several mechanisms.
Fucoxanthin has strong antioxidant qualities. Antioxidants fight free radicals that damage the cells and contribute to the development of virtually all chronic diseases, from heart diseases to osteoarthritis, cataracts, and cancer.
Some strains of Staphylococcus bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to standard antibiotics, and research is exploring new antimicrobials derived from natural sources.
Preliminary studies suggest fucoxanthin may have broad antibacterial effectsagainst various Gram-positive bacteria. It was found particularly effective to inhibit Streptococcus agalactiae, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Staphylococcus aureus, which are responsible for many infections.
Fucoxanthin may help decrease the levels of so-called C-reactive protein, a key marker of inflammation. Elevated C-reactive protein is associated with inflammatory conditions like Crohn's disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases. C-reactive proteins are also increased in people with heart diseases and infections.
Fucoxanthin has the potential to reduce elevated liver enzymes and excess fat associated with fatty liver. These effects may be at least in part due to fucoxanthin’s ability to optimize body weight. Studies offer hope for those with fatty liver, as no drugs are currently available to treat this condition.
Elevated blood pressure significantly increases the risk for heart diseases, strokes, kidney diseases, and many other health complications. Researchers found that the fucoxanthin and pomegranate oil combo may help improve blood pressure levels, at least in cases when high blood pressure is associated with excess weight and fatty liver disease.
Healthy levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood are essential for optimal heart function. A few studies conducted in animals found fucoxanthin may help improve triglyceride levels in the blood, even when the subjects were fed a high-fat diet.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of diseases that occur together and increases the risk for heart attacks, diabetes and strokes. It includes elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess body fat around the waistline, and abnormal triglyceride or cholesterol levels. Since fucoxanthin may help improve all these conditions, future studies may evaluate its benefits to manage metabolic syndrome.
Seaweed can be consumed as a food on salads, soups, or as a snack. Marine algae, kelp, and seaweed are not only a great source of fucoxanthin, but also other antioxidant compounds, vitamins, and minerals.
Consult a qualified healthcare provider to see if these fucoxanthin supplements and brown seaweed extracts are right for you, learn about the optimal dosage, and discuss any negative interactions with other prescriptions. Weight loss supplements work best when combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress management.
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