Brown seaweed extract battles cancer

By Lynda Searby

- Last updated on GMT

“Given the excellent results achieved in the study, we are currently investigating scope to undergo a human clinical trial in the near future." Image:
“Given the excellent results achieved in the study, we are currently investigating scope to undergo a human clinical trial in the near future." Image:

Related tags Stomach

Health evidence for fucoidan stacks up as a new Australian study finds that the seaweed polysaccharide has potential to battle Helictobacter pylori-related diseases and gastric cancer through an anti-adhesion mechanism.

The in vitro ​study carried out by scientists from the University of Western Australia showed that fucoidan extracts are effective at dislodging H. pylori​ bacteria from infected human stomach cancer cells.

“The results show that fucoidans inhibit H. pylori attachment to gastric epithelial cells in vitro. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Fucus B, a secondary fucoidan fraction with high polyphenol content extracted from Fucus vesiculosus, is the most toxic against AGS carcinoma cells,​wrote the researchers.

Helictobacter pylori (H. pylori)​ is a bacteria that colonises the stomachs of half of the world’s population. It causes chronic active gastritis which can progress to peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. Effective treatments for infection with the bacteria are limited, with a rising percentage of treatment failures, primarily due to antibiotic resistance.These findings indicate that fucoidan could be an alternative to increasingly inadequate antibiotic treatments.

Best of three

The researchers analysed the activity of three different fucoidan preparations, two of which were derived from Fucus vesiculosus ​(Fucus A and Fucus B) and one from Undaria pinnatifid​.

BothFucus A and Fucus B were highly sulfated fucose polymers.The main difference between the two was that Fucus B’s polyphenol content was eight times higher than that of Fucus A (and Undaria).

All fucoidans were toxic to AGS (cancerous) cells and reduced the viable cell count significantly. However, theFucus B extract exerted the greatest cell cytotoxicity towards AGS cells, which the researchers attributed to its high polyphenol content.

This is the first time a fucoidan-polyphenol complex has been investigated in relation to H.pylori.

“Although some research had already been completed on other fucoidan extracts and H.pylori, these earlier studies used fucoidans that had not been well characterised,​ said Dr Helen Fitton, chief scientist at Marinova - the Australian biotech company that supplied the fucoidan extracts and part-funded the study.

Maritech’s fucoidans are the only certified organic fucoidans in the world, and are extracted using proprietary water-based technology to enable them to maintain the original chemical structure found in nature.

Applying lab findings

The next step is to validate the findings in a human clinical trial.

“Given the excellent results achieved in the study, we are currently investigating scope to undergo a human clinical trial in the near future,” ​Dr Fitton told NutraIngredients.

Human studies would need to demonstrate that fucoidan can penetrate the protective mucosal surface of the stomach to bind to H. pylori ​at a low pH - a qualification Dr Fitton is confident would be met.

“Fucoidan has been shown to maintain bioactivity at a very low pH and within the colon after passing through the low pH of the stomach. This, in addition to positive results in previous animal model studies, provides great confidence that fucoidan would assist in H.pylori treatment in a clinical setting,​she said.


Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Volume 2015 (2015)

“Fucoidans Disrupt Adherence of Helicobacter pylori to AGS Cells In Vitro

Authors: Eng-Guan Chua​, Phebe Verbrugghe​, Timothy T. Perkins​, and Chin-Yen Tay

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1 comment


Posted by harry,

The need for all forms of seaweed must be at its highest due to greatly reduced food supplies over many years, such as jelly products and complex nutrition support to thyroid and parathyroids that may improve muscle gland and joint painful dysfunctions

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