The SCIENCE of FUCOIDAN
What is Fucoidan?
Fucoidan is a potent sulfated polysaccharide, with an average molecular weight of approximately 200,000 daltons, primarily found in various brown seaweed species, including Mozuku, Wakame, Kombu, and Hijiki. This remarkable compound, known for its diverse health benefits, was first identified by Professor Johann Harald Kylin of Uppsala University in Sweden in 1913.
Fucoidan is unique in its role as a soluble dietary fiber, and its chemical composition includes significant percentages of L-fucose, sulfate ester groups, galactose, mannose, xylose, and uronic acid. This distinctive molecular structure sets Fucoidan apart as a natural health ingredient with exceptional potential.
When extracting Fucoidan, it's important to note that the yield of a crude first fraction can vary, typically ranging from 2% to 10% by weight, with certain Cladosiphon (Mozuku) species yielding over 20% by dry weight. The biological activities of Fucoidan can vary significantly based on factors such as the seaweed species, molecular weight, composition, structure, and the chosen method of administration. Therefore, selecting the appropriate Fucoidan extract is crucial, as each variation offers distinct applications and health benefits.
Different types of Fucoidan
Fucoidan, a polysaccharide derived from brown seaweeds, contains monosaccharides like fucose, xylose, galactose, sulfate ester groups, and uronic acid. Each Fucoidan variant exhibits a distinct chemical structure based on its seaweed source, leading to varied functionalities and efficacy.
Scientific studies highlight the immune-supporting qualities of Fucoidan from Mozuku and Mekabu, as well as the immune enhancement and antioxidative properties of Fucoidan sourced from Fucus. Consequently, products incorporating a diverse mix of Fucoidan types tend to offer a wider range of beneficial effects.
Mozuku (Cladosiphon okamuranus)
The Fucoidan extracted from Okinawa Mozuku is the most popular type of fucoidan. 1 kg of Mozuku is required in order to obtain 1 gram of fucoidan.
Mekabu (Undaria pinnatifida)
Mekabu is the ruffled, flowering sprout located at the base of the Wakame. One of the uniqueness of Mekabu Fucoidan is that it contains more than 34% of sulfated groups.
Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus)
Fucus Fucoidan has a long-history. The Fucoidan is extracted from Bladderwrack which is a seaweed found on the coasts of the North Sea, the western Baltic Sea, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Fucus named after Fucus vesiculosus contained in Bladderwrack.
Kombu (Laminaria japonica)
Kombu was the first species used to extract Fucoidan. However, it contains a relatively small amount of fucoidan and it is very expensive to obtain, therefore, not economical to mass-produce this raw material.