Scientists from the National Taiwan Sport University and Taipei Medical University also report that fucoidan consumption also decreased lactate and ammonia levels in lab mice during a 15-minute swimming test.
Importantly, the researchers noted that the doses used in the study did not produce any adverse effects in the animals, thereby supporting the safety of the ingredient at the doses used.
“Therefore, we suggest that long-term supplementation with fucoidan can have a wide spectrum of bioactivities on health promotion, performance improvement and anti-fatigue,” they wrote in the open-access journal Nutrients.
Immune support, anti-inflammation, and more…
Fucoidan is a polysaccharide derived from the widely used edible seaweed ‘wakame’ traditionally consumed in Japan. The ingredient has been linked to a long list of potential health benefits, but the best evidence to date from human trials if for immune support and against inflammation (osteoarthritis). Emerging evidence supports a potential role for fucoidan in anti-aging, gut health, and weight management.
The new study, performed in mice, adds to the list of “possible health benefits” but more studies, particularly supplementation trials in humans, are needed.
The Taiwanese scientists used male mice and supplemented their diets for 21 diets with three different doses of fucoidan isolated from Laminaria japonica (Wel-Bloom Bio-Tech Corp., Taiwan): 0, 310 and 620 mg/kg/day.
“In this study, the dose of fucoidan designed for humans is 1.5 g per day,” explained the researchers. “The mouse fucoidan dose (0.31 g/kg) used here was converted from a human equivalent dose (HED) based on body surface area by the following formula from the US Food and Drug Administration.”
Results showed that fucoidan supplementation boosted endurance during a swimming test and increased grip strength in the mice in a dose-dependent manner.
“Based on these results, we suggest that fucoidan improves endurance performance in the absence of training,” they wrote. “Therefore, further investigation is also required to elucidate the effects of long-term fucoidan supplementation combined with exercise training on endurance performance.”
Lactate levels were 18.5% and 22.5% lower in the low- and high-dose fucoidan groups, respectively, compared with the control animals, while ammonia levels were 18% lower in the high dose group only, said the researchers. Fucoidan was also associated with increases in glucose level after the swim test.
“[F]ucoidan could be developed into an anti-oxidant agent, blood lipid-reducing supplement, and we suggest that fucoidan may be a potential ergogenic aid against abnormal metabolite accumulation and to increase utilization of important fuel source (glucose),” they concluded.
2015, 7(1), 239-252; doi:10.3390/nu7010239
“Fucoidan Supplementation Improves Exercise Performance and Exhibits Anti-Fatigue Action in Mice”
Authors: Y-M. Chen, Y-H. Tsai, T-Y. Tsai, et al.