It is known since the ancient times that seaweeds contain medicinal property, as stated by the oldest Chinese pharmaceutical documents, the “Shennong Bencaojing” (The Divine Farmer's Herb-Root Classic) which mentioned the effects of seaweeds. It is possible that seaweed of the brown algae type was used to treat abnormal cells. “Fucoidan” is also present in brown algae, a slimy component discovered in 1913 by Professor Kylin of the Uppsala University in Sweden. Initially named as “Fucoidin” and later renamed to “Fucoidan” (The Chinese medical term is “brown algae sugar gel”, literally) according to the international organization IUPAC.
Fucoidan is a slimy component specifically found on the surface of brown algae, such as Mozuku, Mekabu or Kombu, and is a type of water-soluble dietary fiber. Chemically, fucoidan is a polysaccharide, composed mainly of fucose. Other than fucose, the polysaccaride chain also contains galactose, mannose, xylose and uronic acid. The name “Fucoidan” does not represent the specific structure of a substance, but a general term that refers to high-molecular polysaccharides fucose as the main constituent.
During the 55th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Association in 1996, a research study published during the meeting mentioned that it has been proven that the fucoidan contained in the Saccarina sculpera – the ingredient of kombu – has anti-abnormal cells effect. Subsequent studies have also discovered that seaweeds like Mozuku, Mekabu and other brown algae also contain fucoidan. Fucoidan that is extracted from different algae is also functionally and chemically distinctive. Scientific research has proven that fucoidan has three main functions:
Normally, cells have a certain life span, and will naturally die. This is a genetically programmed cell death mechanism. However, abnormal cells have lost the apoptosis function, and will continue to proliferate, metastasize, and cause the serious outcome of indefinite cell growth. Study has shown that fucoidan may induce apoptosis and triggers the self-destruction mechanism of abnormal cells. There will be a disintegration of the DNA in the abnormal cells, causing cell death and disappearance. Fucoidan will promote apoptosis in abnormal cells and has no effect on normal cells. Just as a tadpole grows into a frog, its tail slowly disappeared over time.
Inhibition of angiogenesis means to stop new blood vessel growing in the abnormal cells. During the initial stage, abnormal cells grow at a fixed rate. However, when the abnormal cell diameter has reached 2mm, their growth accelerates. Abnormal cells require nutrients and oxygen supply to grow and metastasize. With these in supply, they generate signals to produce new blood vessels. Once there are new blood vessels growing around the abnormal cells, they can move to other parts of the body. Therefore, if we can inhibit the formation of new blood vessels, the abnormal cells will not receive nutrients and oxygen, and cannot transfer to other locations.
Fucoidan can inhibit the growth of abnormal blood vessels and prevent proliferation of the abnormal cells.
The human body defends itself from foreign agents or abnormal cells by immune cells such as the NK cell, macrophage, T-cell and B-cell. Because fucoidan is a high molecular polysaccharide, it is not easily absorbed by the intestinal tract and will be understood by the intestinal immunity system as foreign agent. This then activates the immune system to carefully screen fucoidan, which in turn enhances the body's ability to defend against disease.
Promote blood circulation
Improve liver function
Resist Helicobacter pylori