Fucoidan from brown seaweed support immune health via the gut, says recent pilot study

August 10, 2020
Sebastian Krawiec

A recent pilot study published in Marine Drugs found that fucoidan, a brown seaweed-derived bioactive polysaccharide, may support gut markers of immunity and inflammation.

A recent pilot study published in Marine Drugs1 found that fucoidan (Marinova; Tasmania, Australia), a brown seaweed-derived bioactive polysaccharide, may support gut markers of immunity and inflammation. In the study, 22 professional team sport athletes and 11 healthy adults were given 1 g per day of fucoidans for seven days. Analysis was conducted on fecal samples taken before and after the seven days. Fecal concentrations of calprotectin, secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) and lysozyme were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. At baseline lysozyme concentrations were 73% higher in the healthy adults compared to professional athletes, but athletes experienced a 45% increase in lysozyme concentrations following the supplementation period.

The increase in lysozyme concentration is important because it is recognized as both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, and animal models have suggested that lysozyme promotes mucosal barrier integrity. “Considering these functions, the increase in fecal lysozyme may reflect improvements in mucosal health,” wrote the researchers. “The increase in fecal lysozyme concentrations in professional athletes is also worth considering further given that lower fecal lysozyme concentrations were observed compared to the healthy adults prior to supplementation.”

“These results demonstrate fucoidan has the potential to restore beneficial anti-microbial activity,” said Marinova’s chief scientist, Helen Fitton, PhD, in a press release. “A future role for fucoidan in sports performance is increasingly promising.”

Reference

  1. Cox AJ et al. “Fucoidan supplementation restores fecal lysozyme concentrations in high-performance athletes: a pilot study.” Marine Drugs, vol. 18, no. 8 (2020): 412