Fucoidan May Defend Against Peptic Ulcers, Stomach Cancer


A new study suggests fucoidan may be effective at dislodging bacteria that causes chronic stomach inflammation, peptic ulcer diseases, and gastric cancers.

Photo © iStockphoto.com/BryanToro

Photo © iStockphoto.com/BryanToro

Fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide derived from brown algae, may play a role in inhibiting the growth of bacteria that causes chronic stomach inflammation, peptic ulcer diseases, and gastric cancers, according to a new in vitro study. Researchers at the University of Western Australia (Perth, Australia) recently found that fucoidan extracts were able to inhibit attachment of the harmful Helicobacter pylori bacteria to gastric epithelial cells.

H. pylori bacteria infections can cause chronic active gastritis, which can progress to peptic ulcers, gastric cancer, and gastric MALT lymphoma, according to researchers. After analyzing the activity of fucoidan extracts derived from the Fucus vesiculosus and Undaria pinnatifida species of brown seaweed in H. pylori preparations, researchers discovered that fucoidan preparations significantly reduced the number of adherent H. pylori.

“These research findings are an encouraging step forward in the control of H. pylori-related diseases,” says Alfred Chin-Yen Tay, PhD, supervisor of the study and research associate at the Marshall Centre for Infectious Diseases Research and Training, the University of Western Australia. “It would be a welcome option for suffering patients, especially before having to undergo invasive diagnosis and treatment options.”

Fucoidan extracts used in the study were developed and provided by biotechnology company Marinova Pty Ltd (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia). The study took place in the laboratories of Nobel Prize Laureate Professor Barry Marshall, who is credited with discovering the role H. pylori plays in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease, according to Marinova.


Anti-Cancer Activity

Researchers also found that the fucoidan extracts were “profoundly toxic to human gastric cancer cells in vitro,” says Marinova. While the fucoidans were found to disrupt H. pylori adherence at a concentration of 100 μg mL-1, they were also found to be cytotoxic to gastric epithelial cancer cells at the higher concentration of 1000 μg mL-1. This effect was especially strong for one of the fucoidan preparations of Fucus vesiculosis.

“Taken together, the results show that fucoidans inhibit H. pylori attachment to gastric epithelial cells in vitro,” concluded the researchers. “Furthermore, we demonstrated that Fucus B, a secondary fucoidan fraction with high polyphenol content extracted from Fucus vesiculosus, is the most toxic against AGS carcinoma cells. Hence, if fucoidan, especially Fucus B, can penetrated the protective mucosal surface of the stomach to bind to H. pylori at a low pH, it has potential clinical applications in the treatment of H. pylori infection, as well as potential to prevent gastric cancer development.”


Read more:

Fucoidan Relieves Inflammatory Bowel Disorder?            

Does Stress Cause Ulcers? Round II

H pylori and Peptic Ulcer in Low-Dose Aspirin Users: Testing Useful


Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine


Chua EG et al., “Fucoidans disrupt adherence of Helicobacter pylori to AGS cells in vitro,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Published online October 28, 2015

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