20.05.2021

WHAT IS FUCOIDAN? (Part 1)

 La Minh Châu 

 

Fucoidan is actually a sulfated polysaccharide that is found in brown seaweed and different species of brown algae, which include bladderwrack, kombu, mozuku, hijiki and wakame. Some forms of fucoidan are also found in  animal species, which include sea cucumber. Fucoidan is commonly used as an ingredient in different diet supplement products.  

The main composition of fucoidan is a group of fructose-containingpolysaccharides (FCSPs), which compose of a backbone that is made of 1-3 linked alpha-l-fucopyranosyl and alternating 1-4 linked alpha-l-fucopyranosyl residues. Sulfated galactofucans have the backbone of 1-6 beta-d-galacto and 1-2-beta-d-mannopyranosyl units and are formed with fucose or fuco-oligosaccharide branching and glucose or xylose substitutions. Potentially beneficial bioactive functions are present in these FCSPs. The bioactive properties can change and are dependent on the source of seaweed. Some factors on which the bioactive properties depend are the compositional and structural traits, bonding of sulfate substitutions, the charge density and the distribution and the purity of the FCSP product. The main factor on which the preservation of the structural methodology depends is the extraction method used. The extraction method has a crucial importance for getting the different structural features which are required for different biological activities.

There are two different forms of fucadoin. The first one is F-fucadoin, which is less than 95% and is composed of sulfated esters of fucose. The other one is U-fucadoin, which contains approximately 20% glucuronic acid. The biochemical and physiological effects of fucadoin have been known in different small scale animal and vitro studies. It was reported that F-fucadoin hinders hyperplasia (the enlargement of a tissue or organ which is generally caused by an increase in the reproduction rates of its cells, which occurs in the initial stages of cancer) in rabbits. Some studies have also shown that it induces apoptosis in lymphoma cell lines in vitro. It is supposed that a common mechanism is present behind both these effects. But the evidence isn’t too much authentic and no mechanism has been found so far for the putative induction of apoptosis by fucoidan.   

A rat study was recently conducted which found that the mortality to meningitis infection is improved by the use of fucoidan. A clinical study was recently conducted in which it was reported that there is an increase in the overall numbers of CD34+ cells when fucoidan is ingested. The results also showed that there was an increase in the number of CD34+ cells which expre

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