Fucoxanthin May Support Healthy Weight and Body Composition
Given that we are presently in the midst of an obesity epidemic, it’s highly likely that you have overweight patients in your practice. While everyone agrees that there is no magic weight loss pill, there are dietary supplements which may help support patients in their quest for meeting their healthy weight goals.
Fucoxanthin is a xanthophyll carotenoid found in brown seaweed being studied for it’s potential in supporting fat and weight loss. In vitro and in vivo animal studies of fucoxanthin extract have discovered several a mechanisms of action:
- up‐regulation of mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), resulting in an increase in resting energy expenditure in visceral and subcutaneous fat
- increased energy consumption
- suppression of lipid absorption
- enhancement of lipid metabolizing enzymes
- leptin regulation
Studies have demonstrated that fucoxanthan can specifically support reduction in abdominal circumference. This is significant as central obesity is correlated with an increased risk of illness.
A 2017 double-blind placebo-controlled study published in Functional Foods in Health and Disease featured 33 overweight men and women who were divided into three groups. Each group had similar values of total fat mass, visceral fat mass, subcutaneous fat mass, body weight, BMI, age, and sex. The researchers found a “significant reduction of the relative (ratio versus before treatment) body weight, BMI, and visceral fat area in the 3 mg/day fucoxanthin group compared to the placebo group.” The 1 mg/day group also had significantly lower values of total fat mass, subcutaneous fat area, waist circumference, and right thigh circumference than the placebo group. There were no adverse events reported during this four-week study, and the researchers concluded that “Fucoxanthin reduced body weight, BMI, and abdominal fat by acting on both visceral and subcutaneous fat.”
This 2017 study is consistent with previous research demonstrating that fucoxanthin supplementation can help support weight loss. It may be worth adding fucoxanthin to weight loss protocols, especially for those patients who struggle with abdominal weight.
Gammone MA, D’Orazio N. Marine Drugs. 2015;13(4):2196-2214.
Hitoe S, Shimoda H. Functional Foods in Health and Disease. 2017;7(4):246-262.
Peng J, Yuan JP, Wu CF, Wang JH. Marine Drugs. 2011;9(10):1806-1828.
Zhang H, Tang Y, Zhang Y, et al. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015;2015.