The evidence


More than 2000 independent, peer-reviewed research papers have been published on the bioactive properties of fucoidan. This extensive body of evidence includes comprehensive in vitro investigations, animal studies and human clinical trials. Research into fucoidan has largely focussed on the six key health indications identified below.

The following summary of global research findings is provided for educational and scientific research purposes only.

Immune health

Extensive research has been undertaken on the immune-modulatory properties of fucoidan. Published papers have reported that fucoidan may exert a range of beneficial effects on the human immune system, including the reduction of allergic responses and the activation of dendritic cells, natural killer cells and T cells. It has also been shown that fucoidan has the potential to boost important anti-viral and anti-tumour responses.


Fucoidan is most widely known and used for its potential anti-cancer properties. A considerable amount of research has been undertaken in this area, with some researchers proposing that fucoidan not only increases patient wellbeing, but also assists in the treatment of disease. The potential for fucoidan as an anti-cancer agent is explored in several review publications, including those by Fitton (2015), Kwak (2014) and Lowenthal (2014).

Digestive health

There is rapidly growing interest in the potential for fucoidan to address a range of human gastric health indications. Published research has already reported a range of beneficial effects of fucoidan on models of digestive function, including the amelioration of debilitating conditions such as colitis and gastric ulcers. Fucoidan also has anti-pathogenic properties that may be beneficial for gastric function, as well as a strong research record in liver and kidney health.


Fucoidan shows potential therapeutic anti-inflammatory activity, particularly as a selectin blocker. Fucoidan has potential to be very effective in addressing systemic inflammation, as well as local inflammation in the digestive tract when orally ingested and on the skin when applied topically. The mechanisms of action may include inhibition of inflammatory enzymes and increased integrity of cellular junctions.

Cardiovascular health

Fucoidan has the potential to support cardiovascular health in a number of ways. The ingestion of certain fucoidans has shown potential to regulate serum lipids and cholesterols, which are important factors in the development of vascular diseases. A recent human clinical study, using a polyphenol-rich fucoidan complex produced by Marinova, recorded a statistically significant increase in the ‘good’ cholesterol, HDL, over a 12 week period (Murray 2021). The propensity of fucoidan to reduce cardiovascular damage may be enhanced by the ability of fucoidan to block scavenger receptors on macrophages, which may reduce LDL cholesterol uptake into artery walls (Park, 2016). Research has also demonstrated that fucoidan has potential beneficial effects on blood pressure, coagulation and tissue vascularisation.

Healthy ageing

Research on fucoidan has shown a marked effect on ageing related processes. Fucoidan can potentially reverse ageing in endothelial stem cells (Lee, 2015) and is known to increase sirtuin levels in cell models (Fitton, 2015). In addition to inhibiting key enzymes associated with human ageing processes, research has demonstrated that fucoidan may promote vascular health and stimulate immune responses. It has also been shown to exhibit neuroprotective properties in animal models.

Emerging applications

In addition to the above key areas, there are many other potential niche applications for fucoidan (Fitton, 2015). These include:

Wound healing

Effective wound treatment is a significant global healthcare issue. Fucoidan exhibits a range of potential properties that may benefit the skin healing process via topical use, oral ingestion and through a variety of innovative biomedical applications.