Several studies have been done and they have identified several Fucoxanthin benefits. Fucoxanthin refers to a carotenoid that grows in some edible seaweed types naturally. It usually occurs in form of a chloroplast pigment in the brown algae giving them their brown color. Fucoxanthin is basically a xanthophyll. This is a molecule with a structure that is similar to that of vitamin A and beta-carotene. The benefits of using Fucoxanthin include weight loss, anti-diabetes effects, and anti-tumor effects. However, it is difficult to get Fucoxanthin in its pure form although it is available in wakame as well as other brown seeds and in form of a purified dietary supplement. Generally, most people take brown seaweed or its extract to get this substance. As such, there is a possibility of suffering the side effects of Fucoxanthin since they do not take the recommended dosage. Such side effects include changes in the functions of thyroid because of excess iodine.
Advantages of taking Fucoxanthin over traditional medicine
Compared to traditional medicine that is taken for similar purposes, Fucoxanthin has several advantages. For instance, Fucoxanthin does not act as a stimulant such as caffeine, bitter orange or ephedra which are taken as anti-obesity supplements. It also promotes DHA formation which increases insulin sensitivity. There are no known supplements that can be taken with Fucoxanthin to enhance its effectiveness.
Fucoxanthin for weight loss
A study published by the University of Michigan showed that among the major Fucoxanthin benefits is that it can be used as a weight loss supplement. This is because it reduces abdominal fat while inhibiting the growth or formation of fat tissue. Another study done by Japanese researchers in Hokkaido University also showed that Fucoxanthin promotes abdominal fat loss in rats. The mechanism behind this activity is that Fucoxanthin targets UCP1 which is a protein that enhances burning of abdominal fat.
Fucoxanthin for diabetes
A journal of the National Institute of Health reported in July 2013 that Fucoxanthin shows anti-diabetes effects in mice. The mechanism behind this is that Fucoxanthin decreases the levels of blood glucose and insulin. According to researchers, the anti-diabetes effects of Fucoxanthin might be due to its ability to promote DHA formation. This is an omega-3 fatty acid that increases insulin sensitivity. It also reduces bad cholesterol while improving triglycerides.
Dealing with cancer
In Vivo studies that were conducted in November 2004 and published by the US National Library of Medicine, Fucoxanthin was found to inhibit skin and duodenal carcinogenesis as well as liver tumorigenesis. The mechanisms behind this activity of Fucoxanthin are thought to include arresting cell cycle and apoptosis induction. However, the real molecular mechanism behind this anti-cancer effect is not known.
Potential side effects
Despite the fact that there are many Fucoxanthin benefits, no adequate research has been done on Fucoxanthin. Therefore, there are only few side effects that it is known to cause. For instance, when taken in inappropriate dosage, Fucoxanthin changes the functioning of thyroid since it causes excess iodine in the body. To avoid such side effects, Fucoxanthin should be taken in the right dosage whether in its natural form or as a pure dietary supplement. Pregnant and nursing women, children, people with medical conditions and those taking medication should also avoid taking Fucoxanthin because its safety to them is yet to be established. Fucoxanthin side effects can also be avoided by consulting a healthcare provider before using it as a treatment.