Fucoidans can both inhibit and promote enzymes and – in combination with marine polyphenols – have been shown to inhibit α-glycosidase. The action of α-glycosidase inhibitors is to delay carbohydrate absorption, reducing the post-prandial increase in blood glucose, making them suitable treatments for non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Maritech® Extracts show activity comparable to acarbose, a commonly used therapy in this area. Fucoidan also inhibits cholinesterase, an enzyme important in the development of dementia. Cholinesterase inhibitors have been accepted as therapeutic agents for dementia, in part because they increase levels of the neurotransmitter ‘acetyl choline’ in the brain. Recent studies indicate that polyphenol-rich seaweed extracts (such as Maritech® Synergy), show potential as natural alternatives in this area. The same activity also offers promise in general enhancement of cognitive function, for example, in memory enhancement preparations. Marinova has shown that a number of its Maritech® Extracts inhibit elastase, hyaluronidase, collagenase, tyrosinase and myeloperoxidase enzyme activity. This has potential in not only skin care but a range of nutraceutical and pharmaceutical applications.
For examples of fucoidan activity in this area, refer to the following journal articles:
Kim M-J, Chang U-J, Lee J-S. Inhibitory Effects of Fucoidan in 3T3-L1 adipocyte differentiation. Mar. Biotechnol. 2009; published online.
Natarajan S, Shanmugiahthevar KP, Kasi PD. Cholinesterase inhibitor from Sargassum and Gracilaria gracilis: Seaweeds inhabiting South Indian coastal areas (Hare Island, Gulf of Mannar). Nat Prod Res. 2009;23(4):355-369.
Katsube T, Yamasaki Y, Iwamoto M, et al. Hyaluronidase-inhibiting polysaccharide isolated and purified from hot water extract of sporophyll of Undaria pinnatifida. Food Sci Technol. 2003;9(1):25-29.