Fucoidan for our furry friends

Published: 21-Mar-2024

Amanda Mackinnon from Marinova takes a deep dive into the world of seaweed-derived active ingredients for use in nutraceutical pet-health applications

Recent reports estimate that the global animal health market is currently valued at approximately $60 billion, with compound annual growth of almost 9% predicted until 2030.1

Although a great deal of activity is occurring in the production animal category as suppliers focus on solving disease threats and improving food security, significant market opportunities also exist in the pet health sector.

More than half of the world’s population now has a companion animal in the home.The pandemic adoption phenomenon was widely reported in 2020.3

As lockdowns led to reduced social interaction, the public turned to pets as a valuable source of companionship.

Global research reported that pet owners derived structure, routine, a sense of purpose and emotional support from their furry friends.2 

Already garnering significant attention prepandemic, pet humanisation has been further fuelled by the working-from-home trend.4

Owners are increasingly treating their pets as children and are conscious of the quality of the ingredients used in their pet care products.

Natural healthcare solutions that pet owners can easily build into their daily routines are top of mind.

Premium ingredients — once the domain of the human health market — are now appearing in the pet health category. The spotlight is now moving onto natural, efficacious and sustainable ingredients that can support pet health.

Interestingly, an increasing number of valuable and versatile bioactive compounds are being sourced from the oceans.5

Although formulators are familiar with widely used marine ingredients, such as fishmeal and fish oil, there is increasing evidence to support the efficacy of other innovative compounds in the pet health market. One such example is fucoidan.  

What is fucoidan?

Fucoidans are long chain, sulphated polysaccharides that occur naturally in brown seaweeds.6 Not only do they serve to protect the seaweed from a range of environmental challenges, but they also exert beneficial bioactivities in a range of human and animal health settings.

To date, more than 3500 peer-reviewed papers have been published that attest to the various bioactivities of fucoidan.7 

A recent report published by the World Bank explores new and emerging markets for seaweeds and seaweed extracts.8 It describes fucoidan as being established in the human nutraceutical market and highlights its future growth potential as a unique bioactive ingredient.

Fucoidan for our furry friends

It also states that the global B2B fucoidan market is predicted to grow by more than 26% in the 7-year period from 2021 to 2028.

High purity, certified organic fucoidans are already included in market-leading nutraceutical products targeting immune support, gut health and healthy ageing.

Increasingly, pet health formulators are discovering the potential benefits of fucoidans and are including them in products ranging from supplements and tonics through to chews and treats. 

Introducing MariVet 

Australian biotechnology firm Marinova produces two branded fucoidan extracts for the pet health category: MariVet and MariVet Advance. Both are derived from wild, hand-harvested and sustainably sourced seaweeds.

MariVet is a cost-effective ingredient that combines the benefits of fucoidan from two different species of brown seaweed: Fucus vesiculosus and ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Undaria pinnatifida. It also incorporates marine polyphenols and whole Undaria pinnatifida seaweed, delivering a bioactive and nutrient-rich ingredient. 

MariVet Advance is an ultra-high purity fucoidan extract designed for premium animal health formulations. Derived from wild Fucus vesiculosus seaweed, MariVet Advance combines the potent benefits of naturally occurring marine polyphenols and high purity fucoidan in one unique ingredient.

In nature, these two phytonutrients protect the seaweed against a range of external stresses, including UV radiation and environmental contaminants such as marine-borne pathogens and viruses. 

Fucoidan for our furry friends

Fucoidan extracts from ​​​​​​​Fucus vesiculosus and Undaria pinnatifida seaweeds have been shown to support immune function in both animal models and human clinical studies.9–12

The polyphenolic content of Fucus vesiculosus extracts can provide strong antioxidant capacity that may help to protect against free radical damage.13,14

Hence, Fucus vesiculosus fucoidan has demonstrated clinical effects in terms of alleviating inflammatory effects.9,15,16

Undaria pinnatifida fucoidan is also well-suited to animal health applications, having demonstrated beneficial effects in a range of health indications ranging from digestive function to immune health.14–16

Formulation success

Both MariVet and MariVet Advance are supplied as free-flowing powders. They are easy to formulate and are ideal for inclusion in powdered supplement blends, oral chews, supplement pastes, capsules and pressed tablets.

MariVet and MariVet Advance have a 5-year shelf-life. They are 100% natural, water soluble and are produced in Australia in ISO9001, HACCP and GMP certified facilities. 


Produced in Australia, MariVet fucoidan extracts are derived from certified organic, wild grown Undaria pinnatifida and Fucus vesiculosus seaweed.

The source seaweeds are hand-harvested from the pristine coastal waters of Tasmania, Patagonia and Nova Scotia. All harvesting operations are conducted in accordance with world’s best practice utilising environmentally sustainable methods. 

At the heart of the MariVet products is a proprietary, aqueous extraction process that preserves the bioactivity of the fucoidan compound. The green chemistry extraction process yields unique ingredients that are safe from harmful chemical residues.

Genuine sustainability principles can be traced throughout the supply chain, with the capture and reuse of all by-products and the 100% use of renewable energy. The production of MariVet extracts occurs in alignment with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. 


  1. www.grandviewresearch.com.
  2. S.K. Brooks and N. Greenberg, “The Well-Being of Companion Animal Caregivers and Their Companion Animals During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Scoping Review,” Animals 13(20), 3294 (2023).
  3. J. Ho, S. Hussain and O. Sparagano, “Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Spark a Public Interest in Pet Adoption?” Front. Vet. Sci. 8, 647308 (2021).
  4. S. Forbes, “Pet Humanisation: What is it and Does it Influence Purchasing Behaviour?” J. Dairy Vet. Sci. 5, 10.19080/JDVS.2018.05.555659 (2018).
  5. V. Šimat, et al., “Recent Advances in Marine-Based Nutraceuticals and Their Health Benefits,” Mar. Drugs 18(12), 627 (2020).
  6. J.H. Fitton, et al., “Therapies from Fucoidan: New Developments,” Mar. Drugs 17, 571 (2019).
  7. www.scopus.com.au.
  8. www.worldbank.org/en/topic/environment/publication/global-seaweed-new-and-emerging-markets-report-2023.
  9. S.P. Myers, et al., “A Combined Phase I and II Open-Label Study on the Immunomodulatory Effects of Seaweed Extract Nutrient Complex,” Biologics 5, 45–60 (2011).
  10. L. Mathew, et al., “Preclinical Evaluation of Safety of Fucoidan Extracts from Undaria pinnatifida and Fucus vesiculosus for Use in Cancer Treatment,” Integr. Cancer Ther. 16(4), 572–584 (2017).
  11. R. Cooper, et al., “GFS, a Preparation of Tasmanian Undaria pinnatifida is Associated with Healing and Inhibition of Reactivation of Herpes,” BMC Complement. Altern. Med. 2, 1–7 (2002).
  12. M.R. Irhimeh, J.H. Fitton and R.M. Lowenthal, “Fucoidan Ingestion Increases the Expression of CXCR4 on Human CD34+ Cells,” Exp. Hematol. 35(6), 989–994 (2007).
  13. I Michalak, et al., “Antioxidant Effects of Seaweeds and Their Active Compounds on Animal Health and Production – A Review,” Veterinary Quarterly 42(1), 48–67 (2022).
  14. M.J. So and E.J. Cho, “Phloroglucinol Attenuates Free Radical-Induced Oxidative Stress,” Prev. Nutr. Food Sci. 19(3), 129–135 (2014).
  15. H.M. Selim, et al., “Fucoidan Mitigates Gastric Ulcer Injury Through Managing Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, and NLRP3-Mediated Pyroptosis,” Int. Immunopharmacol. 120, 110335 (2023).
  16. L. Wang, et al., “Fucoidan from Fucus vesiculosus Inhibits Inflammatory Response, Both In Vitro and In Vivo,” Mar. Drugs 21(5), 302 (2023).
  17. E.G. Chua, et al., “Fucoidans Disrupt Adherence of Helicobacter pylori to AGS Cells In Vitro,” Evid. Based Complement. Alternat. Med. 2015:120981 (2015).
  18. M. Corban, et al., “Pathway Analysis of Fucoidan Activity Using a Yeast Gene Deletion Library Screen,” Mar. Drugs17(1), 54 (2019).

You may also like