Fucoidan for the future

Published: 5-Oct-2021

More than 2000 scientific papers have now been published on the beneficial bioactivities of the unique marine compound fucoidan. It’s a research base that’s increasingly sparking the interest of innovative formulators on the hunt for natural, sustainably sourced ingredients supported by extensive scientific evidence. Like to know where the future of fucoidan science is headed? We take an inside look…

As global fucoidan research continues to expand, potential future applications for fucoidan are emerging. Recent studies have investigated fucoidan in relation to wound healing, sports performance, dental health and skin microbiome with the intriguing outcomes now set to fuel more comprehensive investigations.

Wound healing

Fucoidan extracts have exhibited a range of properties that may support the skin healing process. This may be via topical use, oral ingestion and through a variety of innovative biomedical applications. Recent studies have investigated topical wound healing potential [3] , growth factor binding and inflammation inhibition [4] , the potential of fucoidans to support antimicrobial activity [5] , the inhibition of the binding of pathogens [6] and the promotion of burn healing [7] . In addition to these reports on efficacy, fucoidans also perform favourably in terms of their low-toxicity and lack of side-effects.

Sports performance

Existing published research attesting to the potential benefits fucoidan extracts may have on digestive health, immune function and anti-inflammation have generated interest in the field of sports performance. A recent study suggested fucoidan may play a role in skeletal muscle physiology, with Australian research showing an orally ingested fucoidan improved muscle size and strength in an animal model [8] . A pilot clinical study utilizing oral fucoidan also demonstrated that a high purity fucoidan extract could be beneficial in supporting a healthy gut and enhancing immune function in high performance athletes [9] .

Skin microbiome

Research has shown that fucoidan can support healthy ageing processes [10] . High purity fucoidan extracts have been successfully incorporated into topical skincare formulations for the past decade. A new wave of global research is now exploring the potential for fucoidans to balance skin microbiome. A recent in vitro study suggests fucoidan has the potential to significantly limit inflammation caused by allergic conditions [11] . A future role for fucoidan assisting in the management of chronic inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and acne also appears promising.

Dental health

Several scientific studies have reported that fucoidan has helped to alleviate conditions such as mouth ulcers, symptomatic inflamed tongue and oral herpes labialis [12] . The ability of fucoidan to influence antimicrobial activity against oral pathogens and to assist in the regulation of dental biofilms is of particular interest to researchers [13] .

Supercharging the marine bioproducts industry

Total global investment in the dynamic marine bioproducts industry is set to significantly increase as the current decade unfolds. Australia is a prime example - where a recently announced Marine Bioproducts Cooperative Research Centre (MB-CRC) will see government funding support a $270M national research and development program. The project draws together the nation’s most dynamic specialists and is set to fast-track Australia’s ability to meet global demand for innovative marine bioproducts.

Further expansion of fucoidan R&D programs over the course of next decade promises to deliver the next generation of innovative marine research outcomes.

For further information visit www.marinova.com.au


1. Fitton, H.J., et al., Therapies from Fucoidan: New Developments. Mar Drugs, 2019. 17(10).
2. Fitton, J., et al.Therapies from fucoidan; multifunctional marine polymers. Marine Drugs, 2011. 9: p. 1731-1760.
3. Yanagibayashi S, K.S., Ishihara M, Murakami K, Aoki H, Takikawa M, Fujita M, Sekido M, Kiyosawa T. ,Novel hydrocolloid-sheet as wound dressing to stimulate healing-impaired wound healing in diabetic db/db mice. Biomed Mater Eng. , 2012. 22(5): p. 301-310.
4. O'Leary, R., M. Rerek, and E.J. Wood, Fucoidan modulates the effect of transforming growth factor (TGF) - ß1 on fibroblast proliferation and wound repopulation in in vitro models of dermal wound repair. Biol. Pharm. Bull., 2004. 27(2): p. 266-270.
5. Kandasamy S, K.W., Kulshreshtha G,  Evans F,  Critchley A T,  Fitton J. H, Stringer D N , Gardiner V A , Prithiviraj B, The fucose containing polymer (FCP) rich fraction of Ascophyllum nodosum (L.) Le Jol. protects Caenorhabditis elegans against Pseudomonas aeruginosa by triggering innate immune signaling pathways and suppression of pathogen virulence factors. Algae, 2015. 30(2): p. 147-161.
6. Myers, S.P., et al., A combined Phase I and II open-label study on the immunomodulatory effects of seaweed extract nutrient complex. Biologics, 2011. 5: p. 45-60.
7. Pielesz, A., et al., Inhibitors of thermally induced burn incidents – characterization by microbiological procedure, electrophoresis, SEM, DSC and IR spectroscopy. Analyst, 2015. 140(13): p. 4599-4607.
8. Sally E. McBean, J.E.C., Brett K. Thompson, Caroline J. Taylor, J. H. Fitton, Damien N. Stringer, Sam S. Karpiniec, Ah Y. Park, Chris van der Poel, Oral fucoidan improves muscle size and strength in mice. Physiological Reports, 2021. 9(3).
9. Cox, A.J., et al., Fucoidan supplementation restores faecal lysozyme concentrations in high performance athletes. Marine Drugs, 2020. 18(8): p. 412.
10. Fitton, J.H., et al., Topical benefits of two fucoidan-rich extracts from marine macroalgae. Cosmetics, 2015. 2(2): p. 66-81.
11. Park, A.Y.B., M.; Chrétien, A.; Hubaux, R.; Lancelot, C.; Salmon, M.; Fitton, J.H., Modulation of Gene Expression in a Sterile Atopic Dermatitis Model and Inhibition of Staphylococcus aureus Adhesion by Fucoidan. Dermatopathology, 2021. 8(2): p. 69-83.
12. Oka, S., et al., Properties of fucoidans beneficial to oral healthcare. Odontology, 2020. 108(1): p. 34-42.
13. Jun, J.Y., et al., Antimicrobial and Antibiofilm Activities of Sulfated Polysaccharides from Marine Algae against Dental Plaque Bacteria. Mar Drugs, 2018. 16(9).

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