High-molecular weight fucoidan & Low-molecular weight fucoidan

Many of the questions we receive relate to low-molecular variants of fucoidan. Fucoidan is a high-molecular polysaccharide, which main constituent is fucose, and characterized by a high content of sulfated fucose.

A polysaccharide is defined as a “type of sugar produced by at least 10 monosaccharides bonding together through a dehydration process.” In other words, fucoidan is a chain of at least 10 monosaccharides, including the main constituent fucose.

Based on the idea that “Simply ingesting fucoidan is useless unless it is absorbed into the body,” some researchers modified fucoidan by reducing its molecular weight from several tens of thousands to just 500 or less. However, these variants of fucoidan with a molecular weight of 1000~500 or less only have two or three monosaccharides bonding together and thus do not constitute a polysaccharide. Without the key feature of fucoidan, which is being a high-molecular polysaccharide, they can no longer be called “fucoidan.”

Hence, we actually verified that immune activation ability of high molecular and low molecular weight fucoidan by decomposing the same fucoidan with oxidized water to a molecular weight 1000 or less.


IMMUNOLOGY2022 Annual Meeting The American Association of Immunologists

As a result of this verification, low molecular weight fucoidan, whether mozuku fucoidan or mekabu fucoidan, showed almost no immune activation ability.

The mechanism of how fucoidan exhibits its anti-tumor activity is not yet revealed in detail. However, the most popular theory today is that high molecules of fucoidan are absorbed in an undigested form into the lymph system present in the intestines (M cells at the surface of Peyer's patch), which then activates the immune system and inhibit the growth of tumor cells. In other words, being high-molecular is a critical feature.

The known bioactivities of fucoidan include anti-tumor effect, hyperglycemia-inhibiting effect, lowering of LDL cholesterol and inhibition of blood vessel generation. All of these beneficial effects have been confirmed by testing of fucoidan the high-molecular polysaccharide, and various research institutions are conducting research on this original form of fucoidan.

Types of Fucoidan

Today, active research is conducted on fucoidan and various bioactive functions of fucoidan, such as “anti-cancer action,” “cholesterol-lowering action,” “blood-pressure lowering action” and “anti-virus action,” have been revealed.

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