Hailing from the sea, fucoxanthin is a carotenoid found in edible brown seaweed that people have used for weight management as well as maintaining healthy insulin levels. Carotenoids are a class of natural pigments found principally in plants and algae and can protect against the damaging effects of free radicals. It appears to do even more, however.
A Russian scientist named Dr. Ramazanov, whose specialty was isolating phytonutrients and antioxidants found in land and ocean plants, believed fucoxanthin could regulate a protein called uncoupling protein 1, or UCP1, which controls the amount of fat stored in the body. UCP1, which regulates the activity of a key gene responsible for maintaining the body´s temperature, is found in white adipose tissue, or visceral fat. This type of fat surrounds the internal organs and is one of the most dangerous kinds of fat to carry around. In studies, fucoxanthin has indicated successful fat-burning properties.
Thermogenesis: The Heat is On
Thermogenesis is a term that describes the generation of heat and there are two types of thermogenesis: shivering and non-shivering. Shivering thermogenesis is always associated with muscular contraction and often occurs as a reaction to a lower environment temperature. Non-shivering production of heat is a type of continuous thermogenesis that occurs in both muscle and fat tissues, and is dependent on the metabolic rate. This is the one we are talking about—and the type of thermogenesis fucoxanthin supports.
What’s more is that fucoxanthin-induced thermogenesis is non-stimulant in nature because it bypasses adrenergic (stimulatory or sympathetic) receptors at the surface of the cells that are also known to be UPC-1 inducing. Instead, it addresses the process of energy distribution at the level of mitochondria—which is, in simpler terms, precisely where conversion of fat into energy is taking place.
In 2006, two clinical trials were conducted by a research group led by Professor Abidov of the Russian Institute of Immunopathology in collaboration with the National Institute for Sport Performance, Moscow, Russia. The first pilot-type study dealt with establishing a therapeutic range based on changes in energy expenditure rates in 40 female volunteers supplemented with various doses of fucoxanthin alone and in combination with CLnA (punicic acid from pomegranate seed oil).
The second study was a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial where 110 overweight women underwent a 16-week, 1800 calorie diet along with supplementation which yielded positive and statistically significant results. These two clinical trials are the first confirmations of the efficacy of orally supplemented fucoxanthin in humans in terms of weight management.
And that’s great news for those interested in watching their weight—and it explains how fucoxanthin is turning up the heat on fat.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
*These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.