Everything We Know About Fucoidan – The Benefits & Side Effects

If you’re in the process of doing some serious research on a compound you’ve heard of called Fucoidan and everything you read online comes from scientific sources that are hard to understand…we created this easy-to-read comprehensive guide for you. (that doesn’t mean we didn’t use science, we’ve just made it easier to understand.)

Our team here at The Perfect Nutrition have for over 7 years researched and talked to scientific researchers, medical professionals and regular users of Fucoidan to help us produce this article so that you get the best advice possible for your health questions.

What Is Fucoidan?

Fucoidan is a complex polysaccharide (a sugar molecule) found primarily in many species of brown seaweed. This organic compound plays a key role in the plant’s natural protective properties that allow it to thrive in the harsh habitat of the ocean. 

Fucoidan is often of interest to people because it has studied to have the same protective and restorative properties in humans as well, and has been part of over 3000 independently held studies due to it’s antiviral, neuroprotective, and immune-modulating effects.

Now, Fucoidan producers almost exclusively sell the product as a supplement in various forms for wellness and better overall health.

The History of Fucoidan

The compound of fucoidan was first isolated by Swedish researchers and plant collector Harald Kylin, who simply collected seaweed and thought…”what is this slimy film that ocean plants have?”. 

Ok, that’s a crude way of putting it, but the slimy film was described as “fucoidin”. 

From that point forward, research institutions like the Institute of Seaweed Research began testing different extraction processes and capabilities of the plant compound. Large commercial entities stepped in, recognizing the promising research, and quickly turned fucoidan into health products. 

Today, the unique properties of seaweed and Fucoidan continue to be studied on a global scale. In eastern medicine, it’s not uncommon for doctors to prescribe daily doses of fucoidan to their patients for many different health reasons. 

brown seaweed on beach

Where Is Fucoidan Found?

Fucoidan is found abundantly in many species of brown seaweed. The best sources of Fucoidan reside in the plant cells of certain species of brown seaweed, mostly found in tropical zones but nearly every species contains some level of the compound. 

After it’s rise in popularity, many commercial operations sprouted up around the coastlines of Asia, growing and harvesting the sea plant to manufacture into Fucoidan supplements. 

Although, seaweed harvesting is mostly a safe and sustainable practice, many companies avoided seaweeds grown off the coast of Japan due to the residual radiation left after WWII’s atomic attacks. A great article by Paleo Mom spends time debunking this worry, seaweed from Japan is NOT radioactive.

Kid playing in brown seaweed

How Fucoidan Is Extracted From Seaweed

Over the years biochemists have developed many means to extract the compound. The most popular ways to extract Fucoidan include water-press extraction, acid & alkali extraction, microwave-assisted extraction, ultrasonication extraction, and enzyme-assisted extraction. 

What extraction process does your Fucoidan source use? 

We tend to agree with extraction methods that are largely chemical free as it yields the purest and most bioavailable results overall. On the contrary, methods that use acid and alkali have been proven to be hazardous to the environment.

What People Commonly Take Fucoidan For:

With over 2000 published articles researching the bioactive properties of Fucoidan, researchers have been intrigued by in the areas of anti-cancer, anti-viral, anti-inflammation, immune health, gut and digestive health, acute wound healing & blood clotting, anti-aging, general fatigue and most recently neuroprotective health related to dementia.

Important note to all our readers: All known Fucoidan supplements are currently NOT approved by the FDA. (as of 2021) Meaning that any medical claims made by persons or entities are entirely speculation or suggestion not backed by medical science.

We realize that it’s not reassuring that the research hasn’t given Fucoidan the official stamp of “medicine” but much like all natural remedies, they aren’t designed to treat anything specifically. 

Nature designed something that treats us holistically. Common reasons people take Fucoidan that also have research studies that signify correlations include: 

Is Fucoidan Safe?

From our research on supplements found all around the world, we can say with fair certainty that Fucoidan is a safe supplement to take for most any individual.

It is naturally found in seaweed and the body has an fairly simple time breaking down the plant’s phytonutrients for absorption. 

Fucoidan Research Trend lines since 1999

Are There Side Effects of Taking Fucoidan?

This is often a question we get asked by people who are on certain medication and are concerned that Fucoidan may not play well with it. 

According to multiple sources, Fucoidan is safe to take with other medications in general. However, due to the anti-coagulating properties of Fucoidan which might inadvertently affect those on blood thinners, it’s important that you always talk to your doctor. 

In a study conducted in 2015 regarding Fucoidan and it’s anti-cancer properties, researchers found that even with the largest doses of the supplement, there were no long lasting side effects. 

Additionally, our organization here at The Perfect Nutrition have been involved in supplying Fucoidan to thousands of individuals and have yet to receive a report of negative side-effects due to taking the supplement. For what that’s worth.

How Much Fucoidan Should You Take?

If you are thinking about getting Fucoidan naturally from the source such as kelp, good luck. Although kelp does contain Fucoidan, it would take eating several pounds of seaweed per day to get the same as most natural supplements, including our very own favorite, Limu Original.

In most every scenario, there is almost no negative side effects to taking it in smaller and larger doses. (unless you are on blood thinners.) You can take anywhere from 300mg to 6 grams of Fucoidan and it still be considered very safe. 

If you are taking Fucoidan to treat an ailment, your consumption will be on the higher end of that range while those taking it for the wellness benefits tend to take less, mostly for the cost effectiveness as Fucoidan is not cheap. 

You might also be thinking, when is the best time of day to take Fucoidan? The answer is very simple, take the supplement at anytime of the day and you’ll reap the same absorption rates. 

This is because the compound takes consistent consumption in order to benefit the body with single doses or short stints of supplementing being mostly ineffective.

I know, we’re broken records here, but if you have a preexisting condition you should consult your doctor about how much Fucoidan to take. Please don’t take that advice lightly. 

limu original being poured

What Forms Do Supplements Come In

Fucoidan as a supplement comes in many forms, including dry powder supplements, pill / capsule form, liquid drinkable and in some cases even injectable. (mostly ever used in eastern worldly territories.) 

What Brands Are Best?

Well here’s a tricky question to answer since there are many factors to think about, what Fucoidan supplement is best for you? 

We’d love to be able to confidently answer this question and feel 100% certain the answer would steer you in the right direction but the truth is that there are just too many factors. 

For that reason, we’ll give you some advice on what to look for when choosing a Fucoidan supplement to purchase.

  1. Aim to buy a supplement that is from a supplier that you trust the most. Supplements are not regulated in the USA and internationally as well as they should be. Look for customer reviews from people that have purchased and can vouch for the product. 
  2. Try and identify the origins of the seaweed used. As mentioned, supplements are regulated enough, which leads to manufacturers “claiming” the product contains high levels of Fucoidan.  Look for sources that include seaweeds from more pristine waters, such as Limu Moui off the Tongan Islands or Mozuku from the islands of Okinawa.
  3. We encourage you to buy Fucoidan that is mostly bioavailable. This means supplements that are least altered from the seaweeds original extraction method. Normally our suggestions go in this order; liquid, capsules, powder. 

Wrapping It All Up

If you’ve read through or skimmed this article, you’ll notice that we’ve put a lot of time into putting it all together from not only our own experts but pulling from scientists who’ve closely researched Fucoidan. 

It’s a powerful plant extract that has been a staple in many culture’s diets for a very long time and those cultures that routinely have seaweed show strong correlations with low mortality rates, especially pertaining to certain illnesses. 

Do we think that Fucoidan is the true answer? Not really. 

Seaweed itself is a powerhouse of a vegetable my friends. It consists of such a rainbow of vitamins and minerals that you’d seen health benefits just by filling in your nutritional gaps. Fucoidan, in our opinion, is a mysterious compound with a long history of testimonials and research. 

This all leads us to the conclusion that if you’re looking at Fucoidan to help you in your life, it’s probably worth a try. 

Check out our nutritional shop for the Fucoidan supplements we recommend from the brand LIMU

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