What is Fucoxanthin?
Weight loss is one of the biggest concerns today, in a world where obesity is becoming an epidemic. People who are suffering from this condition look in every corner for solutions that can get them rid of the extra layers of fat. The solutions are numerous, with an entire industry dedicated to aiding weight loss. However, most of these “solutions” are nothing but shams, aimed at ripping off desperate people. Amidst this, Fucoxanthin emerges as an impressive herbal remedy. It claims to be highly effective with no side-effects, but how many of these claims are true? Let’s find out.
What causes weight gain?
Obesity is one of the biggest health concerns in the world today, with every 4th person suffering from it. However, the causes of obesity vary from person to person.
Some people have a very slow metabolism, which makes them consume calorie at a very slow rate. The extra calories they consumed, which were unused by the body, is then stored in the body as fat. Layer by layer, the fat keep accumulating, resulting in a person becoming overweight and then obese.
In some people, obesity could be genetic, derived from their parents or immediate ancestors. In other, high thyroid levels contribute to rapid weight gain. However, the most common causes of obesity in most people are overeating, unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity.
Fucoxanthin is a pigment (type: carotenoid) found in seaweed, though it is more prominently found in brown seaweed. Brown seaweed has traditionally been used by people living in coastal areas for thousands of years, attributing to its medicinal properties. This part has been validated by modern science, as brown seaweed indeed contains medicinal properties like:
- Fat burning
Fucoxanthin is derived from brown seaweed to burn fat in individuals.
How do Fucoxanthin works?
There has been limited research into the working of Fucoxanthin, and most of the claims seem to stem from traditional beliefs. However, some insights into the functioning of Fucoxanthin have been achieved.
Fucoxanthin is categorized as a xanthophyll. Although it is structurally similar to Vitamin A, it does not behave like vitamins. Instead, it is stored in the fat cells with the help of its metabolites. Due to its ability to be stored for a prolonged period of time, it is able to restrict fat cell differentiation. Since fat cells are not able to increase in number, their utilization during physical activities leads directly to the fat loss.
Apart from this, Fucoxanthin extract is known to increase Adiponectin levels and number of beta 3 adrenergic receptors in the body, both of which contribute to increase metabolic rate.
What are the ingredients?
Fucoxanthin is not typically consumed alone, but with a combination of other ingredients. Some common ones are:
- Green tea extract
- Vegetable Stearate
- Hoodia Gordonii
Who should use it?
Fucoxanthin is primarily aimed at people who want to lose weight. While dieting and exercise have proven to be the most effective way to lose weight, many people are either unable to work out or find it ineffective due to their slow metabolism. For such people, Fucoxanthin looks like an appealing choice. By accelerating the metabolism, more calories are burnt by the same level of physical activity. Hence, people who want to lose weight without sweating hard for it might want to give it a chance.
Who shouldn’t take it?
Due to lack of research, it isn’t clear that who should not consume Fucoxanthin. Based on the research available, following people should avoid taking the supplement:
- People with existing problems of liver, thyroid, hypertension, high blood sugar or respiratory diseases.
- People who are currently on prescription drugs, unless a doctor allows them to consume it.
How to consume it?
The correct dosage of Fucoxanthin depends upon the form and the need of the person. In its pure, 100% form, Fucoxanthin is normally taken in small amounts of 3-8mg per day. If the extract is mixed with other ingredients, which is how it is normally marketed, then the dose could go up to 3-4 times higher.
Fucoxanthin is normally ingested orally, once or twice per day, with lots of water.
What does it promise?
The biggest promise Fucoxanthin extract makes is claiming to aid in weight loss without any associated physical activity. The primary benefits the supplement claims to provide are:
- Blocking the generation of additional fat in the body; this leads to breaking down of existing fat.
- Increasing the metabolic rate of the body, further accelerating the burning of fat.
- The supplement also reduces the appetite, which leads to lower calorie intake and thus faster weight loss.
- Increase in the energy levels and stamina of the individual.
Apart from this, some secondary benefits (in the sense, their level of effectiveness is low or unverified) are claims, like:
- Increase in serotonin levels which improve the mood of the individual.
- Helping in case of diabetes. It is believed to do that by either increasing the sensitivity of body towards insulin or enabling the absorption of blood glucose by skeletal muscles.
- Fucoxanthin also claims to have anti-cancerous properties that could suppress tumors. It does so by preventing certain vitamins that aid in the increase of cancer cells.
- Fucoxanthin has been used as an anti-inflammatory drug since ancient times. It has properties that can fight inflammation in the body, particularly those caused by lipopolysaccharides.
- It can also accelerate the growth rate of bone-forming cells and retard the production of bone-destroying cells, thus effectively improving the bone health.
What are the benefits?
Following were the benefits observed by users who consumed Fucoxanthin:
- Increase in metabolic rate and less fat accumulation
- Faster burning of fat, visibly faster than normal rate
- Better stamina and energy level due to a faster metabolism.
- The better mood during the course and no signs of irritation common in other weight-loss supplements.
- Some measurable benefits in cases of other medical conditions like high cholesterol, high sugar, and arthritis.
What are the drawbacks?
Some side-effects observed in people consuming Fucoxanthin were:
- Headaches after consuming the drug
- Stomach issues like gastric problems and constipation. The impact could be temporary or stay for a longer period of time.
- In worst-case scenarios, people suffered from diarrhea after consuming Fucoxanthin for a long time.
- Some people intake the drug by directly consuming seaweed. Since seaweed contains large amounts of salt, high amounts of iodine is ingested which might cause thyroid disorders.
On the surface, Fucoxanthin appears to be a very promising substance. After all, losing weight without working out is a big deal, something most obese or overweight people would be happy to do. However, on a closer look, the promises don’t look so promising anymore.
To begin with, the only verified impact of Fucoxanthin is increased metabolism. Now, metabolism plays an important role in keeping fat on the low, and this is why some people don’t gain weight despite crunching calories. However, such kind of metabolism is genetic and cannot be mimicked, at least so far in medical science. So, even though Fucoxanthin increases the metabolic rate, it is just not enough to convert you into that skinny friend who never seemed to get fat.
On the other hand, it comes with the promise of making you lose weight without working out, which clearly dissuades people from working out. Furthermore, the claim to reduce appetite was something that most users never felt. So, put simply, Fucoxanthin makes you eat the same amount of calories with a minimal physical workout, in exchange for just a faster metabolic rate and reduced rate of fat accumulation. For people who are already overweight, it would take a long time, maybe years, before any effects would be visible.
Bottomline: Fucoxanthin works, but simply not at the rate you might prefer. There are faster and safer ways to lose weight naturally. You can give Fucoxanthin a pass.