If you want to know what fucoxanthin is and how it can potentially help you lose weight, then you want to read this article.
Let’s face it…
The vast majority of non-stimulant weight loss supplements flat out don’t work. Again and again, we hear claims like this:
“This new miracle pill can help you lose weight fast”
Only to be disappointed when we try it and it doesn’t work. One of the latest supplements to be touted as a “miarcle weight loss pill” is naturally occurring molecule in seaweed. It’s called Fucoxanthin.
For most people, the idea of eating seaweed everyday just isn’t realistic. This makes taking supplements the only option if you want to get the benefits of Fucoxanthin. But does it work?
In this article, we’ll explain:
- What Fucoxanthin Is
- How It Can Help You Lose Weight
- Choosing The Right Fucoxanthin Supplement
And a whole lot more useful information. So, if you’re ready to learn all about Fucoxanthin, including how it can potentially help you lose weight, keep reading!
What Is Fucoxanthin?
Fucoxanthin is a naturally occurring compound found in several species of Brown Seaweed. It belongs to a group of chemical compounds known as carotenoids, along with several other similar (but distinct) molecules.
Carotenoids are pigments found in plants which are responsible for the color. They have important roles in plant health, but some can be beneficial for human health as well.
In fact, some carotenoids are essential to proper nutritional health because they are converted into Retinol (Vitamin A). The carotenoids that are usually used as Vitamin A supplements (they’re really PRE-Vitamin A supplements) are:
Beta-Carotene is by far the most common carotenoid used for Vitamin A supplementation, but there tons of other carotenoids with unique health benefits.
Fucoxanthin is just another one of them. Chemically, it looks like this:
Although often referred to as “Brown Sea Weed” when sold in the form of a supplement, Fucoxathin is actually found in a variety of different species of seaweed. Some of the most commonly used for Fucoxanthin extraction are:
But it can be found in several other species as well and presumably extracted and purified. What type of seaweed it comes from is pretty irrelevant in the scheme of things though.
What’s important is that the extraction techniques and processing yield an effective (and accurately displayed) level of Fucoxanthin. But we’ll talk more about sources and quality later…
First let’s talk about why Fucoxanthin is even worth talking about…
What Are The Benefits Of Fucoxanthin?
Fucoxanthin Encourages Weight Loss
Although seaweed in general has a variety of potential health implications, Fucoxanthin is of particular interest because of research which indicates it can potentially help with weight-loss.
Now, normally we would NEVER draw conclusions based on a couple studies in mice. Rodent studies certainly serve as a first step towards figuring what Fucoxanthin is capable of, but they say nothing about how it effects actual people.
Luckily, there is some human research…
In a 2010 study, Russian researchers set out to determine whether Fucoxanthin supplementation could help actual human beings lose weight. They designed a 16 wee study in which 150 obese (non-diabetic) women were given 8mg of Fucoxanthin per day.
They found a notable increase in metabolic rate and the subjects in the study lost 5.5kg (12 lbs) on average.
Fucoxanthin appears to work by increasing the activity of Uncoupling Protein 1 (UCP1) in White Adipose Tissue.
UCP1, originally known as Thermogenin, is an uncoupling protein which exists in adipose tissue (higher levels found in brown adipose tissue compared to white adipose tissue), the primary function of which is to create heat (thermogenesis).
Increasing the activity of UCP1 can indirectly increase Metabolic Rate which can lead to weight-loss over time assuming caloric intake remains constant.
Fucoxanthin has been also been shown to increase Beta-3-Adrenergic Receptor content in White Adipose Tissue, a direct mechanism by which many fat-burners work.
While we definitely need some more human studies to determine how well Fucoxanthin really burns fat, the evidence we have so far is pretty encouraging.
Fucoxanthin Improves Cardiovascular Health
In addition to targeting fat and helping to facilitate weight loss, Fucoxanthin also appears to benefit cardiovascular health.
The same study referenced above, in which Fucoxanthin caused weight-loss over a period of 16 weeks, also noted improvements in various measures of cardiovascular health.
Specifically, Fucoxanthin was shown to reduce Triglycerides and lower blood pressure.
It’s not crystal clear how exactly Fucoxanthin is able to do this, but it may have something to do with blocking the absorption of dietary Cholesterol and fats. This has been noted in rodent studies and would explain the improvements seen in the one human study.
While more studies are needed for us to really understand what’s going on here, there do appear to be some cardiovascular benefits to Fucoxanthin supplementation.
Fucoxanthin May Help Manage Blood Sugar And Diabetes
Some preliminary studies have also looked at how Fucoxanthin impacts things like blood Glucose and Glucose uptake, specifically in instances of Diabetes.
With roughly 30 million Diabetic people in the US, and more that haven’t been diagnosed, the demand for any kind of supplement that can help normalize blood sugar and manage Diabetes is quite high.
Unfortunately, it’s a little too early to declare Fucoxanthin an anti-Diabetic supplement. It MAY be useful, but all we have to go by is a few studies in mice.
Needless to say, mice aren’t people. Rodents are great for testing hypotheses and determining if human studies are necessary, but until those human studies are actually conducted, it’s best not to jump to conclusions.
For now, it seems like Fucoxanthin has some interesting properties that may make it useful for Diabetics, but we just don’t know.
Fucoxanthin requires relatively low doses to elicit notable weight-loss over time, with 2-8mg being the clinically effective range.
The effects do appear to be dose-dependent, meaning taking higher doses may induce weight-loss in less time than lower doses. This is because Fucoxanthin takes time to accumulate in adipose tissue and higher doses may result in faster accumulation.
2-8mg of Fucoxanthin should be consumed daily for at 5-16 weeks.
Does The Fucoxanthin Patch Work?
Fucoxanthin is usually taken in the form of supplements, but there are a few products on the market that offer a different way of getting the weight-loss benefits.
The Fucoxanthin patch.
Like a nicotine patch, the Fucoxanthin patch is supposed to deliver the molecule directly into your blood stream by seeping through the skin. It works the same as any other drug or supplement patch.
However, there is absolutely no evidence that it’s effective. Fucoxanthin may be able to pass through the skin, but who really knows?
The problem with patch delivery systems is that not all molecules are small enough to be absorbed through the skin. If everything worked like that there wouldn’t be any reason to orally ingest supplements.
We’d just rub our vitamins, minerals, and fish oil all over our bodies. Okay…Maybe not Fish Oil, but you get the idea.
It’s a compelling thought, but unfortunately, that’s all it is.
Until there’s some actual scientific evidence that these patches are actually capable of delivering Fucoxanthin into the body efficiently, it’s better to just stick with oral supplements.
Choosing The Best Fucoxanthin Supplement
When it comes to any herbal supplement, there are a lot of factors that determine quality. Brown Seaweed is no exception.
The Fucoxanthin content can vary. While most species of brown seaweed have some amount of naturally occurring Fucoxanthin in them, harvesting and extraction techniques influence the quality of the final product immensely.
For that reason, it’s best to stick with a supplement that is standardized for Fucoxanthin content, from a brand you trust.
Xanthigen® is a patented combination of Undaria pinnatifida (Brown Seaweed) and Pomegranate Seed Oil which is stanardized for Fucoxanthin content.
This is actually the exact product used in the sole human study that exists. So, if you’re using Fucoxanthin for weight loss, it makes sense to go with Xanthigen® as opposed to some off-brand extract.
There’s No Such Thing As A Miracle Weight Loss Pill
Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s true. If you hear someone touting a supplement as a “miracle”, you should turn and run as far away from them as you can. It’s a scam.
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
This is true about pretty much everything in life, but it’s especially important to keep in mind when it comes to supplements. The great thing about Fucoxanthin is that it doesn’t sound to good to be true.
It’s not going to make you drop 10 pounds in a month, but it can definitely help you drop 10 pounds over a period of several months. Combined with exercise and responsible nutrition, Fucoxanthin can give you that slight edge you need to actually see some noticeable weight loss.
The Bottom Line On Fucoxanthin
Trendy weight loss supplements come and go and the truth is most of them won’t be missed. It seems like every week, a new TV doctor (cough cough Dr. Oz) is talking up some new miracle weight loss solution which later turns out to be bogus.
Fucoxanthin, however, actually has some solid research behind it. I wouldn’t call it a “miracle weight loss solution” because such a thing doesn’t really exist, but if you’re looking for a slight edge in the epic battle against fat, this may be it.
If you don’t mind stimulants, and would rather go with a more effective fat-loss option, check out this list of the best fat burners.