In order to be healthy, we need a robust immune system that can fight off foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria to reduce infections and symptoms that shows your immune system isn't functioning properly. Fortunately, you can boost and maintain your immune system to become stronger and more resistant to infections. A bioactive polymer found in brown seaweeds, fucoidans, is a good example. High purity, certified organic fucoidans are well-known for their therapeutic effects in various human health situations. Therefore, this new marine chemical has received a lot of attention in the last year because of the strong immune health evidence backing it.
Immunomodulatory effects of Fucoidans
It has been shown that fucoidans have numerous immunomodulatory effects in various experimental contexts. In previous studies for its immunomodulatory effects, such as Dendritic cell maturation and T cell activation, Fucoidan from Fucus vesiculosus has been extensively studied. The Fucoidan can induce the activation of macrophages from F. vesiculosus. Based on these and other recent studies, fucoidans have been offered as promising candidates as effective immune activators. So if we talk about the immunization potential of fucoidans, recent studies show that at the same time Fucoidan activated the EKR signal pathway, it boosted the host immune system's ability to produce type I interferon in turn reducing HBV replication. HBV replication can be efficiently inhibited by using this newly discovered potential of fucoidans.
Anti-inflammatory potential of Fucoidans
Inflammation is the first line of the response of the immune system to potentially damaging stimuli such as injury, stress, and infections. Fucoidan is reported to act at different stages of the inflammatory process, and it can work by three mechanisms to reduce inflammations.
- By blocking lymphocyte adhesion and invasion,
- Inhibiting multiple enzymes,
- Induction of apoptosis
All of these mechanisms are involved in producing mediators like nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), and pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines. As your immune system loses its ability to "shut down" following healthy inflammatory processes, you will experience more infection symptoms. At that time, Fucoidan is the right choice to overcome immunity problems, especially in immunocompromised individuals.
Probiotic effect of Fucoidan
Polysaccharides (PS) and oligosaccharides (OS) found in algae have received much attention because of their potential as prebiotics. However, research has shown that Lactobacillus reuteri is the most efficient probiotic strain for reducing inflammation in the respiratory tract. This is because it lowers the total IgE and the production of Th2-associated inflammatory cytokines. Therefore, fucoidans can be utilized to produce dietary prebiotics and promote the growth of lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species to improve our gut microbiota which will help people with a weak immune system.
Antioxidant potential of Fucoidan
Infections caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites can be prevented by a wide range of antioxidant substances usually found in the diet, such as vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, selenium, copper, iron and zinc. We know that seaweeds are a rich source of above mentioned loaded nutrients. Polysaccharides from brown seaweed, known as fucoidans, have a high antioxidant effect. The antioxidant properties of fucoidans have been studied extensively both in vitro and in vivo.
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- Zhu, Y., et al., Fucoidan as a marine-origin prebiotic modulates the growth and antibacterial ability of Lactobacillus rhamnosus. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 2021. 180: p. 599-607.
- Yoo, H.J., D.-J. You, and K.-W. Lee, Characterization and Immunomodulatory Effects of High Molecular Weight Fucoidan Fraction from the Sporophyll of Undaria pinnatifida in Cyclophosphamide-Induced Immunosuppressed Mice. Marine Drugs, 2019. 17(8): p. 447.
- Luthuli, S., et al., Therapeutic Effects of Fucoidan: A Review on Recent Studies. Marine Drugs, 2019. 17(9): p. 487.
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