What is fucoidan?

Bioactive
seaweed
compounds

Fucoidans occur naturally in the cell walls of brown seaweeds. They function to protect the plant from water-borne pathogens and other environmental challenges. Fucoidans are long chain polysaccharides characterised by a complex molecular structure and varying degrees of sulfation and acetylation.

History

For centuries, fucoidan-containing seaweeds have been prized for their dietary and therapeutic properties. Their medicinal properties have been particularly well documented in Asian cultures, where seaweeds have been used to address health conditions that range from nausea, congestion and inflammation through to abscesses and tumours. Despite this long history of seaweeds as medicinal agents, it was not until the twentieth century that fucoidan was first isolated and recognised for its therapeutic potential.

Over the past thirty years there has been an upswell in interest in fucoidan. Most of the scientific evidence supporting the physiological benefits of fucoidan has been obtained during this time, with Marinova leading the way. As a result of this research, fucoidan extracts are now used in a variety of applications including dietary supplements, medical devices, veterinary products and topical formulations for skincare and dermatology.

How are fucoidans different?

Not all fucoidans are the same. They are a class of natural compounds that have been widely researched and shown to exert beneficial bioactivities in a range of human health settings.  Research conducted by Marinova has confirmed that fucoidan bioactivity is dependent upon two key factors:

  • The method of extraction; and
  • The seaweed species from which it has been derived.

These two factors are the ultimate determinants of efficacy. Traditional methods of extraction compromise the integrity and functionality of the resulting fucoidan. In contrast, our solvent-free Maritech® process yields nature-identical extracts of superior quality with enhanced bioactivity.