Fucoidan, a brown seaweed extract, has recently been in the spotlight for an overall good immune-boosting supplement with many other added benefits that may or may not justify its high price tag, depending on what you are looking for in a supplement and how much you are willing to pay for a food supplement.
Since you are reading this, I assume you are in the market for or at least curious as to why some Fucoidan brands are much more expensive than others, and what could possibly be in such a bottle that it costs a few hundred dollars.
Depending on the type of seaweeds that are used to extract Fucoidan, the rarity of seaweeds, the difficulty of the extraction process, and how much is required to obtain 1 gram of Fucoidan, Fucoidan products can vary greatly in price. The expensive ones are often those that utilize more than one type of seaweed to make Fucoidan; they also contain a larger amount of Fucoidan in each selling bottle, and with higher purity comes higher price.
THEREFORE, please be cautious with Fucoidan products that come in cheap price tag. We all know cheaper does not always mean lower quality and more expensive does not always mean higher quality, but in the case of Fucoidan specifically, cheaper most of the time means less effective Fucoidan. Why? Because cheaper Fucoidan products do not have all qualities of a good Fucoidan supplement. So how do you choose a high quality Fucoidan product, you may ask? Well, here are some tips for you:
DON’T CHOOSE PRODUCTS THAT DO NOT LIST PURITY
The percentage of Fucoidan means PURITY or CONCENTRATION. You may see some Fucoidan products listed on Amazon are sold for under $50/bottle and claim to contain 300-500 mg of Fucoidan per capsule. These products either have a purity of 70% or under or do not even bother to show the purity of their Fucoidan at all.
Therefore, 300mg Fucoidan at 70% purity does not equal 300mg Fucoidan at say, 85% purity. In fact, the total stated amount of Fucoidan in each capsule may not even equal 300mg at 70% purity because the extract is mixed with other ingredients that make up the rest of 30% such as rice flour. Rice flour is typically bleached and refined. It is most often used because it is much cheaper than brown rice flour and most companies want a filler that is white. Also, when the purity is low, there is relatively higher amount of impurities such as salt. Therefore, lower purity fucoidan products will likelyhave a stronger salty taste.
This means that you do not get the same effects of Fucoidan when you take Fucoidan 70% pure vs. Fucoidan 85% pure. Don’t let the big amount per capsule fool you, pay attention to the purity !
According to a series of scientific reports and clinical data, Fucoidan with 80-85% purity (concentration) is known to be the most effective. In many cases, Fucoidan products available in the market use fucoidan with less than 10% purity and still label their products as Fucoidan.
So what about 100% purity Fucoidan you may wonder? There is very little chance that fucoidan with 100% purity is introduced because in order to manufacture fucoidan of 100% purity, production facility must be equipped with special equipment that could result in very high costs. Also, 100% purity does not demonstrate better efficacy as you may think compared to 80-85% purity, according to many researches. So, beware of products that claim to contain 100% pure Fucoidan !
DO ASK FOR FUCOIDAN CONTENT IN EACH BOTTLE
Left : 80% – 85% purity Fucoidan (darker green circle) but very small amount in one product bottle
Right : 80% – 85% purity Fucoidan makes up the majority of the product with not much room for fillers
The second most important factor in choosing a good Fucoidan supplement is how much Fucoidan content is in a bottle. Some companies may try to pass their products off as “High Concentration/High Purity 85% Fucoidan supplement” while in fact Fucoidan only makes up about 10-20% of the bottle’s content and the rest is filled with some mushrooms or exotic sounding animal tails.
For an average, healthy adult, I suggest you take at least 1 gram of Fucoidan per day in order to feel the difference in your overall health, though of course it’s different for everyone: some may take longer, some may take as short as a few weeks to see the improvements in their bodies.
If you are recommended 1-2 capsules/day and there’s only 100 mg of Fucoidan in each capsule, even at 85% purity, it may take you a long time before you notice a difference or you may feel nothing at all, because the amount of Fucoidan intake is too small to make a noticeable impact.
DO ASK FOR THE TYPES OF SEAWEED/FUCOIDAN USED
Mozuku Fucus Mekabu
Believe it or not, different types of brown seaweed/fucoidan can have different effects on your body.
Laminaria japonica, or Saccharina japonica or “Kombu” in Japanese, is a type of brown seaweed whose consumption has declined over the past decades in Japan but has been on the rise in the Western world thanks to globalization. However, there are very little research on Kombu as a functional food, whilst the majority of research studies on Kombu concerns the use of this sea vegetable as an abortifacient. Also, there are almost no scientific publications that hint at Kombu having anti-cancer properties. This is the reason why Kombu is not widely used to extract Fucoidan.
Mozuku, a type of brown seaweed that is unique to the Okinawa islands of Japan where there are hundreds of centenarians living happily and healthily, is used in many Fucoidan supplements. According to a research from Mie University in Japan, Fucoidan extracted from Mozuku perform better in terms of inducing cancer apoptosis than fucoidan extracted from Kombu or Mekabu.
Mekabu is a more popular genus of seaweed compared to Mozuku as it grows in several different parts of the world. Based on the report regarding Mekabu extract fucoidan in July 2004 at the 12th International Congress of Immunology in Canada, Mekabu Fucoidan is more effective when it comes to suppressing cancer Angiogenesis than other types of seaweed.
Fucus vesculosus, or Bladderwrack is also a very powerful anti-oxidant and potent immune-booster. Some researches have shown that Fucus vesculosus extract inhibits estrogen receptor activation and induces cell death in female cancer cell lines such as Breast, Ovarian, Endometrial Cancer.
When combined together in one Fucoidan product, these seaweeds can complement each other, and provide the best results. For example, a research done by University of Texas on a mix of Mekabu and Fucus shows:
- a decrease in Ovarian tumor growth by 33%
- a decrease in Cervical tumor growth by 70%
When the mix was used together with Chemotheraphy, it contributes to decreasing the tumor additionally by 26%.
Therefore, a product with 2 or 3 good, effective seaweeds will be more beneficial than a product with only one type of Fucoidan.
There’s no such thing as a “quick cure” for any sickness, disease or health condition you may have.
Again, to clear up any myths you may have heard before reading this blog post, Fucoidan is not a “CURE” as there is no such thing as “CURE” for cancer. But Fucoidan contains properties that can help you endure the side effects of many cancer treatments out there, such as chemotherapy, radiation, etc,. Once in a while, I come across stories and testimonials of people who have had their tumors eradicated with the use of Fucoidan, I feel nothing but happy for them. But remember, everyone’s body is different, and should you find the one supplement that works for you, stick with it !