Fucoxanthin and weight loss, supplement health benefit and adverse effects, dosage, uses - Does use lead to weight loss? Does it have side effects? Is it a scam?
August 16 2015 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Fucoxanthin is a carotenoid found in edible brown seaweeds. There are some companies promoting it as a weight loss supplement. Several human studies need to be done with this carotenoid before it can be recommended for weight loss. In fact, as of December, 2010, I am able to find only one human study with a fucoxanthin supplement pill in regards to obesity treatment. One major concern I have is the amount of iodine present in the seaweeds that are a source of the fucoxanthin. Always demand from the company or supplier that you intend to purchase this product from to inform you of the iodine content in order for you to avoid possible toxicity.

Fucoxanthin side effects, danger, risk, caution
Since fucoxanthin is difficult to find in pure form, people who take such a supplement do so as part of brown seaweed or as a 5 percent or 10 percent extract of seaweed. One gram of seaweed has several times the amount of iodine that most adults require on a daily basis. Therefore, a potential side effect could include changes in thyroid function due to iodine excess. It is difficult to specify what side effects it would have until ingredient suppliers are able to concentrate it from seaweed to a 90 percent plus extract concentration.

Q. I am a medical doctor and want to order again some of fucoxantin for my patients, but some of them complained to me before that it makes them a bit 'high', raise their pulse and BP a bit. Some get headache. If I could block this effect with some daytime adaptogen. Could you tell me which one or two of your adaptogens I could use to decrease (during daytime) the stimulation effect of fucoxanthin?
   A. I would prefer a lower dose is used rather than trying to block the negative stimulatory effects with another herb.

Human study
The effects of Xanthigen in the weight management of obese premenopausal women with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and normal liver fat.
Diabetes Obes Metab. 2010.
To investigate the effects of Xanthigen (brown marine algae fucoxanthin + pomegranate seed oil (PSO)) on body weight, body fat, liver lipids, and blood biochemistry; and Xanthigen and its individual components on resting energy expenditure (REE) in obese, non-diabetic female volunteers with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and normal liver fat (NLF) content. Sixteen-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Food record data, body composition, REE (only 41 volunteers with NAFLD) and blood sample analysis were assessed weekly for 16 weeks in 151 non-diabetic, obese premenopausal women with liver fat content above 11% (NAFLD), and below 6% (NLF). Xanthigen-600/2.4 mg (300 mg PSO + 300 mg brown seaweed extract containing 2.4 mg fucoxanthin) resulted in statistically significant reduction of body weight, waist circumference (NAFLD group only), body and liver fat content, liver enzymes (NAFLD group only), serum triglycerides and C-reactive protein. Weight loss and reduction in body and liver fat content occurred earlier in patients with NLF than in patients with NAFLD. Fucoxanthin (> 2.4 mg) and Xanthigen-400/1.6 mg (200 mg PSO + 200 mg brown seaweed extract containing 1.6 mg fucoxanthin) significantly increased REE in NAFLD subjects compared to placebo. Xanthigen promoted weight loss, reduced body and liver fat content, and improved liver function tests in obese non-diabetic women. Xanthigen and Fucoxanthin also increased REE. This product may be considered a promising food supplement in the management of obesity.

Diet Rx for better weight control management
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All natural appetite suppressant, decreases appetite so you eat less
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Fucoxanthin and weight loss - animal studies
Most of the time, when animal studies are done, the amount of herbs or drugs given to them is much higher per body weight than what is normally ingested by humans. Therefore, one has to be cautious interpreting studies and outcomes in animals. Rodent studies are often not a reliable way to determine the effectiveness of a supplement, let alone its safety profile and side effects, since the dosages given per body weight to rodents are often several times that of humans and rodents do not have an easy way to complain, inform or show signs of, from negative or unpleasant effects.
   There are many substances that show weight loss effect when given in large amounts to animals but fail to show such a benefit when given to humans in reasonable amounts that do not cause side effects or reactions with other supplements and medications.

Fucoxanthin-rich seaweed extract suppresses body weight gain and improves lipid metabolism in high-fat-fed C57BL/6J mice.
Biotechnol J. 2010.
An ethanol extract of fucoxanthin-rich seaweed was examined for its effectiveness as a nutraceutical for body fat-lowering agent and for an antiobese effect based on mode of actions in C57BL/6J mice. Animals were randomized to receive a semi-purified high-fat diet (20% dietary fat, 10% corn oil and 10% lard) supplemented with 0.2% conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) as the positive control, 1.4% or 5.7% fucoxanthin-rich seaweed ethanol extract (Fx-SEE), equivalent to 0.05% or 0.2% dietary fucoxanthin for six weeks. Results showed that supplementation with both doses of Fx-SEE significantly reduced body and abdominal white adipose tissue (WAT) weights, plasma and hepatic triglyceride (TG), and/or cholesterol concentrations compared to the high-fat control group.

Dietary Combination of Fucoxanthin and Fish Oil Attenuates the Weight Gain of White Adipose Tissue and Decreases Blood Glucose in Obese / Diabetic KK-A(y) Mice.
J Agric Food Chem. 2007.
To evaluate the anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effects of fucoxanthin and fish oil, we investigated the effect on the WAT weight, blood glucose, and insulin levels of mice. After 4 weeks of feeding, 0.2% fucoxanthin in the diet markedly attenuated the gain of WAT weight in mice with increasing UCP1 expression compared with the control mice. The WAT weight of the mice fed 0.1% fucoxanthin and 6.9% fish oil was also significantly lower than that of the mice fed fucoxanthin alone. In addition, 0.2% markedly decreased the blood glucose and plasma insulin concentrations. The mice fed with the combination diet also showed improvements similar to that of 0.2% fucoxanthin. Leptin and tumor necrosis factor (TNFalpha) mRNA expression in WAT were significantly down-regulated by 0.2% fucoxanthin. These results suggest that dietary fucoxanthin decreases the blood glucose and plasma insulin concentration of KK- A (y) along with down-regulating TNFalpha mRNA. In addition, the combination of fucoxanthin and fish oil is more effective for attenuating the weight gain of WAT than feeding with fucoxanthin alone.
   Note by Dr. Sahelian: The amount of fucoxanthin fed to these mice was 0.2 percent of their diet. For easy calculation, let's say a person on average eats 1000 grams of food a day. If 0.2 percent of the diet is fucoxanthin, this would mean that they would have to consume 2 grams of fucoxanthin daily to have a similar effect as did the mice. Two grams equals 2000 mg. The highest fucoxanthin containing product I could find during an internet search in November of 2010 was 10 mg per capsule. If one were to take even a few capsules a day, iodine excess could potentially occur.

Supplement products available over the counter
Be careful when you buy a product promoted as fucoxanthin since you may be, in some cases, basically buying brown seaweed. Also, you have to consider the high amount of iodine in these products since excess iodine can cause goiters or other thyroid malfunctions. Also, just because a product claims it has a specific mg of fucoxanthin does not mean the information is reliable. Some companies may not be honest and their label may not reflect what is actually in the capsules.

FucoMax 200 mg capsules contain a 10% Fucoxanthin extract (not a concentrate) made from edible Wakame Seaweed gathered from the Sea of Japan. Each FucoMax Capsule has 20 mg of pure Fucoxanthin, most products on the market today only have 5 mg and are not made from edible brown seaweed. FucoMax also has a high concentration of Cha' de Bugre extract.

FucoTHIN 200 mg blend composed of brown seaweed (Undaria pinnatifida, Laminaria japonica) concentrate with 5 mg of fucoxanthin per serving. The label does not mention the amount of iodine or the amount of sodium.

FucoXanthin Plus by Nutrimatrix has a proprietary Fucoxanthin blend 283 mg: Brown Seaweed (Undaria Pinnatifida, Laminaria japonica) Concentrate (contains 5mg of fucoxanthin) Pomegranate Seed Oil, Green Tea Extract, Certified South African Hoodia Gordonii.

Fucoxanthin-Slim has a Proprietary blend 200 mg per capsule of Xanthigen Brown Seaweed (Undaria pinnatifida, Laminaria japonica) concentrate (contains 5 mg of fucoxanthin), Pomegranate Seed Oil.

Good'N Natural Fucoxanthin says on the middle panel of their product label " Fucoxanthin ." However, when you read the supplement fact panel, there is 1000 mg of brown seaweed fucus nodosus and they do not say how much fucoxanthin is present in the 1000 mg. We found one site with the identical product under a different label that says the 1000 mg of the seaweed has 0.25 mg of fucoxanthin. That's right. You are buying plain brown seaweed. Plus, there is 650 mcg of iodine in each capsule which is more than 400 percent of the daily value required by adults. Plus, this product has 35 grams of sodium. If anything, the label should say sodium on it since it appears to be the ingredient with the highest amount in this " Fucoixanthin" supplement.
   Update September 2008. After I complained to the Good'N Natural  people about the misleading label on their Fucoxanthin product, they changed it to: Iodine (from Seaweed) 650 mcg 433%, Sodium 35 mg 1%, Seaweed 1,000 mg (1g), (Fucus nodosus) (leaf) (With naturally occurring Fucoxanthin). Basically you are buying seaweed at a very high price when you buy this product that says Fucoxanthin on the label.

inShape Fucoxanthin has 250mg (Undaria pinnatifida, Laminaria japonica) and there is no mention of the amount of fucoxanthin, sodium, or iodine in each capsule.

Puritan's Pride Fucoxanthin says on the middle panel of their product label " Fucoxanthin ." However, when you read the supplement fact panel, there is 1000 mg of brown seaweed fucus nodosus and they do not say how much fucoxanthin is present in the 1000 mg. We found one site with the identical product under a different label that says the 1000 mg of the seaweed has 0.25 mg of fucoxanthin. That's right. You are buying plain brown seaweed. Plus, there several hundred mcg of iodine in each capsule which is more than 400 percent of the daily value required by adults. Plus, this product has 35 grams of sodium. If anything, the label should say sodium on it since it appears to be the ingredient with the highest amount in this " Fucoidan " supplement.
   Update September 2008. After I complained to the Puritan's Pride people about the misleading label, they changed it to: Iodine (from Seaweed) 650 mcg 433%, Sodium 35 mg 1%, Seaweed 1,000 mg (1g), (Fucus nodosus) (leaf) (With naturally occurring Fucoxanthin).

Seaweeds in Japan
Wwakame (Undaria pinnatifida) is used in miso soup.
Hijiki (Hijikia fusiformis)..

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 Oct 4. Marine algal fucoxanthin inhibits the metastatic potential of cancer cells.

Growth inhibition of human hepatic carcinoma HepG2 cells by fucoxanthin is associated with down-regulation of cyclin D.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008.
This study shows fucoxanthin is helpful as an inhibitor of a hepatic cancer cell line. These results, taken together with previous studies with fucoxanthin, suggest that it may be useful in chemoprevention of other human malignancies.

Oncol Rep. 2012 . Anti-neoplastic effects of fucoxanthin and its deacetylated product, fucoxanthinol, on Burkitt's and Hodgkin's lymphoma cells. The results indicated that FX and FXOH are potentially useful therapeutic agents in B-cell malignancies characterized by aberrant regulation of NF-κB.

Fucoxanthin in sea urchin
The major pigments detected in the gut wall of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus are breakdown products of fucoxanthin, namely fucoxanthinol and amarouciaxanthin.

I eat all natural, work out 3-4 times per week. My weight won't budge. I have plenty of fat on my belly, thighs, arms, sides. I am not fat but have problem areas. I tried fucoxanthin for 2 1/2 days. I was very hungry and had trouble sleeping because I tried to eat what I normally would but was hungry and therefore irritable. I have tried "bad" thermogenics with ephedra in the past I don't consume caffeine at all because I have trouble sleeping in general...I want to know if I took less than recommended fucoxanthin FucoThin by Garden of Life was what I was taking) would it still be beneficial. And most importantly would I be able to stop the supplement at some pt or would I have to take it for life. The old thermogenics when stopped made me gain more wt more than when I started, my metabolism was sluggish.
   Fucoxanthin is new to the market and we don't have much experience with it yet. Regarding the Garden of Life fucoxanthin product, a search on the internet reveals that Garden of Life has a product called FucoThin, FucoThin has a brown seaweed extract (Undaria pinnatifida, Laminaria japonica). FucoThin has 5 mg in this product. We have not seen any research for weight loss with FucoThin so we don't know if it is effective. We also don't know how much iodine is in the FucoThin product. Our staff called Garden of Life to find out how much iodine was in a capsule but they would not reveal the information our staff requested.

I take Fucoxanthin-slim by Life Extension. It takes 6 weeks to see results of fat loss. Can Diet Rx also help?
   The majority of Diet Rx users notice appetite suppression within 2 to 3 days. We don't have any reports of people using the combination of Fucoxanthin-Slim by Life Extension along with Diet Rx.

I'm a health food store owner and received an email promotion regarding FucoPure. It said, "FucoPure Fucoxanthin from Japanese Wakame Seaweed. Japanese Wakame seaweed, thought to be one of the first types of marine vegetation originating on the planet over one billion years ago, may hold the key to staying slim and healthy. New scientific studies are suggesting that a pigment in this Japanese Wakame seaweed found in the form of a carotenoid called fucoxanthin, may hold answers to targeting and reducing abdominal fat. This brings to light a completely new theory in weight loss and combating obesity. Until recently, this has never been thought possible." What are your thoughts on the benefit of fucoxanthin for weight loss?
   I'd like to see a few more human studies before giving an opinion on the benefit of fucoxanthin for weight loss.

I found your name on a website that discussed this product and it's potential iodine issues, and just wanted to report that I had a reaction to it in Solo Slim Extra Strength. I have a history of allergic reactions to topical iodine, contrast dye, and concentrated iodine in a cough medicine. However, when I purchased this product, I did not do my research so I didn't realize the concentrate of iodine nor what fucoxanthin actually is. After 9 days of taking this product, I broke out in hives (over a 6 hour period); then swelling hands, ankles, knees; then my throat started getting tight. I started researching what the hives could be from, and realized the only change in my life was the initiation of Solo Slim. Of course, the SoloSlim website does not mention iodine or side effects, but I found a website that does and found your information there. I went to the ER for treatment and told them I thought it was due to this product. As a result, and because of my history of iodine issues, they prescribed an Epi-pen to keep with me. I am so shocked that I now have to carry an Epi-pen, but the pharmacist assured me that this could happen more quickly, if it happened again .I have emailed the Solo Slim company, but don't expect to hear from them. I just wanted to report my experience.
    I had not heard of this product but one of my assistants searched the internet and found the ingredients. Konjac Glucomannan (Amorphophallus konjac), Lotus Leaf Flavonoids and Alkaloids (Nelumbo nucifera), Citrus Aurantium Synephrine (Aurantii pericarpium), Hawthorne Hyperosides (Crataegus oxyacantha), Green Aloe, Decaffinated Green Tea EGCg 45%, Fucoxanthin 10%. It is possible that your reaction was due to iodine, but it could also be due to any of the other herbs in this product.

Jordan Reuben, who started Garden of Life as you may know, has made quite a case for this fucoxanthin supplement in regards to successful weight loss, etc. He then created a product called FucoThin. Other companies, seeking opportunity no doubt, have jumped on the same band wagon by offering the same supplement combined with another ingredient, "hoodia" is it? (Sorry, can't recall it well enough. Seems I may need your memory supplement. Ha!) Anyway, fucoxanthin, the way it has been presented by those seeking to profit from any benefits it may possess, seems like a miracle supplement. What I'm looking for is to find information on it from an unbiased study that details it's true value as a supplement. Do you have any information at all on this particular supplement, fucoxanthin? Any human studies known? Why do you suppose it's so expensive? Not Garden of Life, but other companies selling it cheaper are now combining it with the "hoodia" supplement which to me seems overbearing and makes me think it could become unsafe somehow. That goes with the logic that if a little bit is good, then a lot is better! So is combining it with "hoodia" a good idea? I would greatly appreciate any knowledge you may have on this subject. Keep up the good, unbiased reporting. Again, I'm glad I stumbled upon this site. I shared it with my mother who is also very interested in natural / herbal supplements.
    The addition of hoodia to fucoxanthin may be safe or not safe depending on the amounts used and the extract potencies.

Trademarked fucoxanthin products
FucoPure - Nutraceuticals International has trademarked a 10 percent fucoxanthin extract called FucoPure. Nutraceuticals says their fucoxanthin extract comes from Wakame seaweed from the Sea of Japan!
LipoxanThin - National Bioscience USA has a proprietary concentrate of fucoxanthin called LipoxanThin.

This is a press release from the marketers of this product, Specialty Nutrition Group
BOCA RATON, Florida, 2006 - Promising new research from Japanese and Russian scientists demonstrates that fucoxanthin, a natural unique carotenoid specific to brown marine vegetables, possesses thermogenic properties. Fucoxanthin induces UCP1 protein genes expression, which may contribute to dietary weight reduction and healthy weight management. In this new, human clinical trial, a patent-pending extract of fucoxanthin called LipoxanThin showed promising results for fat loss in humans. This double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 140 obese female demonstrated statistically significant reduction in liver fat, body fat and body weight versus placebo after 16 weeks. This study is pending publication by the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and was recently presented for National Academy Scientific Award for the best clinical trial of the year. Dr. Sergey Grachev (Prof. of Medicine, MD) and Dr. Musa Abidov (Professor of Medicine, MD) at First Medical Academy and Institute of Immunopathology, Russian Academy of Natural Sciences the primary researcher for the Russian study, commented, “It is important to note that the benefits of brown marine vegetables are the result of Fucoxanthin, the active component. The observed effect is specific to fucoxanthin and was not found in other carotenoids. LipoxanThin is extracted from selected species of edible brown marine vegetables cultivated in unique advanced marine biotechnological methods and extracted using a proprietary process developed over the past seven years to create a highly concentrated natural fucoxanthin – 500% higher than wildcrafted seaweed. Seaweed in the wild contains just 0.01-0.02% fucoxanthin, so other seaweed products will not provide the same results.”
   Metabolically, fucoxanthin promotes the induction of UCP1-mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1. Fucoxanthin upregulates the expression of UCP1 gene expression in WAT thus contributing to reduced white adipose tissue weight. By stimulating the expression of the UPC-1 gene in WAT, fucoxanthin promotes thermogenesis (fat burning) in white fat cells. White fat cells are those that accumulate in the liver and around the belly as a result of overweight or obesity. Unlike caffeine, ephedra, and other stimulants, the thermogenic effect from LipoxanThin™ is achieved without stimulating the central nervous system – so there are no jitters, loss of sleep, or overstimulation.
   National Bioscience USA has appointed Specialty Nutrition Group, Inc. (SNG) as the exclusive commercialization partner and patent assignee for LipoxanThin (also called Xanthigen) in the U.S. and worldwide retail market. “We are honored to work with Dr. Ramazanov in bringing this product to U.S. consumers”, noted Greg Horn, President of SNG. “LipoxanThin™ has the rare combination of safety, strong science, human clinical proof, patent-pending protection, and proprietary cultivation, and offers exciting potential as a natural product for the epidemic obesity in the United States.”

About LipoxanThin
A marine thermogenic - a proprietary concentrate of fucoxanthin from specially selected strains of deep sea water cultivated brown marine vegetables grown under closely controlled conditions in special photobioreactors in the Canary Islands, 1,000 miles from Europe. The combination of proprietary cultivation and extraction creates an all-natural extract with pharmacologically effective levels of fucoxanthin, along with other marine carotenoids violaxanthin and neoxanthin and marine omega-3 essential fatty acids. This marine vegetable extract is combined with Granatoil-  proprietary pomegranate seed oil extract.

About National Bioscience Corporation
National Bioscience Corporation is a discovery and development company serving the Nutraceutical and Pharmaceutical industries with research and development services. Lead by Dr. Zakir Ramazanov, Professor in Marine Biotechnology and Molecular Biology, President of National BioSciences USA creates product innovations in both science and marketability. Dr. Ramazanov is a researcher, with over 140 scientific studies published in journals worldwide. His previous research and development successes in the nutraceutical field include bringing Siberian Rhodiola Rosea, patented Aralia mandshurica, natural Lycopene, marine beta-carotene, and unique fruit derived flavonoids Myricetin and Mangiferin to the world markets.

About Specialty Nutrition Group
Specialty Nutrition Group, Inc. is a nutrition brand building firm focused on commercializing innovative, IP-protected nutritional technologies. SNG acts as co-development partner with consumer products and nutrition companies to rapidly commercialize nutrition innovations, represents academic institutions and individual inventors to find new commercial applications for their inventions, and develops its own brands for commercial launch in the nutraceutical market. The professionals of Specialty Nutrition Group, Inc. have been responsible for launching new nutraceutical products with current annual retail sales of over $1.0 billion.

Brown Marine Vegetables have been used in the Oriental and Russian diet since ancient times. Epidemiological studies suggest that the high consumption of marine vegetable derived products may be a contributing factor in their well-established, low incidence of breast cancer, prostate cancer and mortality rate related to obesity in these countries as compared to Americans.