Fucus vesiculosus is a brown alga that grows in cold waters, mainly along the coasts of the North Atlantic. Nowadays you can find this type of seaweed in herbalist's shops and specialized stores, dried or in capsule form. But what are the properties of the fucus seaweed? Can it help in case of some problems such as obesity or inflammation? Let's try to find it out.
The fucus seaweed is rich in fiber, proteins but also vitamins, such as vitamins A, C, D, E and group B, and mineral salts, such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and iodine. In particular, the fucus alga, like other brown algae, contains a low ratio of sodium to potassium and this characteristic makes the algae protective for heart health (Ferreira et al, Molecules, 2019).
Fucus and thyroid
The fucus seaweed is considered an aid in the treatment of goiter and thyroid diseases due to its iodine content (Catarino et al, Int J Mol Sci., 2020). Iodine is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, but also for the regulation of metabolism and the development and maturation of organs (Ferreira et al, Molecules, 2019).
Fucus and its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
Fucus seaweed contains phlorotannins, which are phenolic compounds typical of brown algae. Phlorotannins are characterized by antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, antitumor, antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory properties, therefore useful for counteracting the levels of chronic inflammation (Catarino et al, Int J Mol Sci., 2020). Chronic inflammation, if left free to act, can, in the long run, weaken the immune system, cause overweight, cardiovascular problems and cellular degeneration (Catarino et al, Int J Mol Sci., 2020). Thanks to its anti-inflammatory action, fucus seaweed can help fight asthma, some skin diseases such as psoriasis but also rheumatoid arthritis (Catarino et al, Mar Drugs, 2018).
Fucus against overweight and metabolic syndrome
The fucus seaweed, like other brown algae, contains three substances with an interesting effect on metabolism, laminarine, fucoidans and alginates. Laminarine regulates intestinal metabolism, strengthens the immune system, lowers blood pressure and the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine (Keleszade et al, Molecules, 2021). Fucoidans reduce hyperglycemia and hypertension and counteract the accumulation of fats since they stimulate the lipolysis processes, which lead to the degradation of lipids (Keleszade et al, Molecules, 2021). Alginates reduce the intestinal absorption of triglycerides, cholesterol and glucose. Not only that, alginates also help to counteract nervous hunger and overweight since they delay gastric emptying and promote a sense of satiety (Keleszade et al, Molecules, 2021).
Fucus and immune system
The fucus seaweed, thanks to its content in fucoidans, shows an antiviral action. Not only that, the fucus alga also attenuates inflammation and this is a further action that strengthens the immune system as our natural defenses are weakened in the presence of continuous inflammation (Myers et al, Biologics, 2016).
The fucus seaweed shows, as we have seen, interesting beneficial properties. However, do not exceed the quantity as this seaweed contains iodine and an excess of it can cause thyroid problems (Myers et al, Biologics, 2016). Therefore, always follow the instructions on the package and, if you are taking any medications, always ask your doctor for advice before starting any treatment.