This article is a review of the ways that fucoxanthin can benefit human health. Fucoxanthin from brown sea weed (such as U. pinnatifida), algae and diatoms is a part of the family of chemicals called carotenoids. Edible brown macroalgae are commonly eaten in parts of Asia. Fucoxanthin has shown many properties, including antioxidant, antimalarial, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-obesity, antidiabetic, and anti-angiogenisis. It protects the liver, blood vessels of the brain, bones, skin and eyes.
Bioavailability of fucoxanthin is good, although the results of studies do vary. There is very little toxicity, even at high doses, and the bioavailability improves when taken with edible oils. It appears in the egg yolks of hens fed brown seaweed. Tests showed that fucoxanthin increases high-density lipoprotein and cholesterol levels in rodents.
Fucoxanthin is strongly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It is anticancer, perhaps by inducing apoptosis in cancer cells. (Apoptosis is a natural form of cell death in abnormal cells.) Fucoxanthin was shown to have “remarkable” anticancer properties compared to astaxanthin, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein. Fucoxanthin has been shown to inhibit the growth of liver cancer, prostate cancer, stomach adenocarcinoma, bladder cancer and some non-Hodgkin lymphoma and human neuroblastoma.
Fucoxanthin has been found to have an anti-obesity effect, improving triglyceride levels, reducing diabetes meanwhile possibly improving insulin resistance and blood glucose levels. Fucoxanthin is hepatoprotective as well as skin-protective from ultraviolet radiation, and topical treatments have been shown to prevent wrinkling of the skin. It can block the growth of new blood vessels (anti-angiogenesis), benefiting in “cancer, diabetic retinopathy, atherosclerosis and psoriasis”. Brown seaweed delays the onset of signs of stroke in salt-loaded rats. Also, there are reported bone protective, ocular protective and antimalarial effects.
CONCLUSION: Fucoxanthin, from brown seaweed and other sources, has a number of beneficial effects in the body as listed above. It can be consumed orally and used as a food. Benefits include anticancer, anti-obesity, antidiabetic, as well as protection of liver, skin, and eyes. A combination of edible oil and fucoxanthin may increase its bioavailability.
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