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Fucoidan - A Potent Compound For Cystine / Glutamine Anti-Porter Involved In Ferroptosis, Anti Coagulant (Thrombosis), Hyperlipidemia, Anti Viral, and Anti Oxidant

This blog article is not medical advice. Before starting any health related regimen seek the advice of your Primary Care Physician or an M.D.

Fucoidan is a compound that is found in brown algae and is consumed in large quantities by some populations in Japan.

"For the past decade fucoidans isolated from different species have been extensively studied due to their varied biological activities, including anticoagulant and antithrombotic, antivirus, antitumor and immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, blood lipids reducing, antioxidant and anticomplementary properties, activity against hepatopathy, uropathy and renalpathy, gastric protective effects and therapeutic potential in surgery."[1]

Anti Coagulation

"Fucoidans have a wide variety of biological activities, but their potent anticoagulant action is by far the most widely studied."[1]

"Fucoidan also express antithrombotic activity when tested on in vivo models of venous and arterial thrombosis in experimental animals. A sulfated galactofucan isolated from the brown alga Spatoglossum schroederi showed no anticoagulant activity on several in vitro assays. Nevertheless, it had a potent antithrombotic activity on an animal model of experimental venous thrombosis. This effect is time-dependent, reaching the maximum 8 h after its administration compared with the more transient action of heparin. The effect was not observed with the desulfated molecule. Furthermore, the sulfated galactofucan was 2-fold more potent than heparin in stimulating the synthesis of an antithrombotic heparan sulfate by endothelial cells."[1]

Anti-Viral Effects

"The antivirus effects of fucoidan on infection due to poliovirus III, adenovirus III, ECHO6 virus, coxsackie B3 virus and coxsackie A16 are remarkable. Fucoidan can inhibit the development of cytopathic effect (CPE) and protect cultural cells from infection caused by above viruses [65].

Herpes is an infection that is caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV). Fucoidans from Adenocytis utricularis [27], Undaria pinnatifida (Mekabu) [22], Stoechospermum marginatum [11], Undaria pinnatifida [66], Cystoseira indica [67] and Undaria pinnatifida [68] show antiviral activities against HSV-1 and HSV-2 without cytotoxicity for Vero cell cultures [67]. Furthermore, fucoidans show inhibitory activities against the replication of several enveloped virus such as human immunodeficiency and human cytomegalovirus [27]."[1]

Prion Infection Effects

"Doh-ura et al. reported that fucoidan from popularly eaten brown algae had antiprion activity and delayed disease onset when it was ingested after the enteral prion infection. Dietary seaweed fucoidan delays the onset of disease of enterally infected mice with scrapie when given orally for 6 days after infection, but not when given before the infection. Daily uptake of fucoidan might be prophylactic against prion diseases caused by ingestion of prion-contaminated materials, although further evaluation of its pharmacology remains to be done"[1]

Immune Modulator

"Fucoidan of L. japonica can restore the immune functions of immunosuppressed mice, and it was an immunomodulator acting directly on macrophage and T lymphocyte. It can also promote the recovery of immunologic function in irradiated rats. The mechanism is associated with the arrest of lymphocyte apoptosis by fucoidan. Fucoidan can induce the production of interleukin-1 (IL-1) and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) in vitro, enhance the functions of T lymphocyte, B cell, macrophage and natural killer cell (NK cell) and promote the primary antibody response to sheep red blood cell (SRBC) in vivo. High molecular-weight fucoidan prepared from Okinawa mozuku (Cladosiphon okamuranus) promotes an increase in the proportion of murine cytotoxic T cells. Fucoidan from F. vesiculosus has immunostimulating and maturing effects on dendritic cells (DCs), which are powerful antigen-presenting cells, via a pathway involving at least nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB)"[1]

Strong Anti Oxidant Activity - Super Oxide, Hydrogen Peroxide

"Lots of studies show that fucoidan presents significant antioxidant activity in experiments in vitro. It is an excellent natural antioxidant and has great potential for preventing free radical-mediated diseases. Fucoidan from L. japonica can prevent the increase of lipid peroxide (LPO) in serum, liver and spleen of diabetic mice obviously. However, no inhibition effect was found on both spontaneous lipid peroxidation of homogenates and that induced by Cys/FeSO4 in vitro. This fucoidan had strong scavenging effect on superoxide radical, its effect on hydroxyl radical was weak; it had less influence on 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH). It inhibited H2O2-induced hemolysis of rat erythrocytes effectively and showed significant protective effect on lipid peroxidation of liver homogenate in rat induced by FeSO4-ascorbic acid. Micheline et al. reported that fucoidan (homofucan) from F. vesiculosus and fucans (heterofucans) from Padina gymnospora had an inhibitory effects on the formation of hydroxyl radical and superoxide radical. Fucan showed low antioxidant activity relative to fucoidan.

Antioxidant activity relates to the molecular weight and sulfate content of fucoidan. Fucoidan fractions from L. japonica had excellent scavenging capacities on superoxide radical and hypochlorous acid, except the highly sulfated fraction L-B. In LDL oxidation system, low molecular weight fractions L-A and L-B exhibited great inhibitory effects on LDL oxidation induced by Cu2+, however F-A and F-B had little inhibitory effects in this system due to their large molecular weights. [1]

Reduces Blood Lipids

"Fucoidan of L. japonica remarkably decreased total cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL-C, and increase HDL-C in serum of mice with hypercholesterolemia and rats with hyperlipidaemia, and efficiently prevented the formation of experimental hypercholesterolemia in mice. It can also remarkably reduce the contents of cholesterol and triglyceride in serum of patients with hyperlipidaemia, without side-effect of damaging liver and kidney. Low molecular sulfated fucan (average Mw=8000 Da) prepared from L. japonica can distinctly reduce blood lipids of hyperlipidemic rats"[1]

Anti Complement Activity

"Algal fucoidan from A. nodosum has been first described as an anticomplementary molecule by Blondin et al.. Since this first report, other fucoidans from fucales (F. evanescens) and from other brown algae of Laminariale order have been also described as inhibitors of the complement. Tissot et al. have reviewed the research progress of anticomplementary activity of fucoidans"[1]

Inflammation, iNOS, and LPS

"Yang et al. evaluated the effect of fucoidan on the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in a macrophage cell line, RAW264.7. Low concentration range of fucoidan (10 μg/ml) increased the basal expression level of iNOS in quiescent macrophages. They found for the first time that fucoidan inhibited the release of nitric oxide (NO) in RAW264.7 cells stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). This inhibitory effect on activator protein 1 (AP-1) activation by fucoidan might be associated with its NO blocking and anti-inflammatory effects"[1]

Induces Cystine/Glutamine Antiporter and Prevents Ferroptosis (From Ochratoxin A and Patulin Mycotoxins)

"Ferroptosis is caused by lipid peroxidation, and Chinese herbal medicine can be used to treat ferroptosis-related diseases. Some researchers showed that fucoidan inhibited iron overload induced by long-term alcohol exposure and protected hepatocytes from ferroptosis. Specifically, fucoidan attenuated alcohol-induced liver oxidative damage in rats by upregulating the p62/Nrf2/SLC7A11 pathway and lowering serum ferritin levels, thereby inhibiting ferroptosis. The environmental pollutant di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is a threat to human health. In rats, Dai found that DEHP exposure disrupted iron ion homeostasis, increased lipid peroxidation, and inhibited cysteine/glutamate antiporter, whereas lycopene supplementation dramatically suppressed these ferroptosis characteristics"[3]


  1. Fucoidan: Structure and Bioactivity. By Bo Li,* Fei Lu, Xinjun Wei, and Ruixiang ZhaoMolecules. 2008 Aug; 13(8): 1671–1695. Published online 2008 Aug 12. doi: 10.3390/molecules13081671. PMCID: PMC6245444. PMID: 18794778.

  2. Therapeutic Effects of Fucoidan: A Review on Recent Studies. By Sibusiso Luthuli,† Siya Wu,† Yang Cheng, et. al. Mar Drugs. 2019 Sep; 17(9): 487. Published online 2019 Aug 21. doi: 10.3390/md17090487. PMCID: PMC6780838. PMID: 31438588

  3. Ferroptosis as a Potential Therapeutic Target of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Mycotoxicosis: A Review. Wenli Ding,1,† Luxi Lin. Toxics. 2023 Apr; 11(4): 395.Published online 2023 Apr 21. doi: 10.3390/toxics11040395PMCID: PMC10142935PMID: 37112624

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