What is Fucoidan?

What is Fucoidan?

Fucoidan, present in brown algae just like hondawara, was discovered in 1913 by Professor Kylin of Uppsala University in Sweden as a source of sliminess of kombu. Initially named “fucoijin,” the substance subsequently became known as “fucoidan” based on the international naming convention on sugars. Fucoidan is a specific source of sliminess only found in brown algae such as kombu, wakame (mekabu) and mozuku, and a type of water-soluble dietary fiber. Chemically, fucoidan is a high-molecular polysaccharide whose main constituent is sulfated fucose. In addition to fucose, the saccharide chain that constitutes fucoidan also includes galactose, mannose, xylose and uronic acid. The name “fucoidan” does not represent substances of a given structure, but it is a general term that refers to high-molecular polysaccharides whose main constituent is fucose

Research

Extensive research has been done on the polysaccharide Fucoidan, on its activity and mechanism. We have provided the links for different databases, e.g. Pub Med, Science Direct, Oxford Journal and NPO Fucoidan, which include specific abstracts and articles on regards to Fucoidan.*

The Secret of Okinawa Longevity

Oceans are home to the majority of plants and animals that live on the Earth. As you may know, Okinawa is considered the island of longevity, in Japan. Fucoidan, a natural ingredient contained in the slimy exterior and interior of the Okinawa sea vegetable (Mozuku and Mekabu)is the open secret of health-oriented Okinawa people. Okinawa, the southern most prefecture of Japan, is known as the "islands boasting the highest longevity in Japan." It is also where the mortality rate by cancer is the lowest in the nation. One of the reasons is considered the unique dietary habits of the Okinawan people. The key ingredients of Okinawan cuisine are varieties of sea vegetables such as Kombu, Mozuku and Mekabu. Kombu is usually produced in the northern sea around Hokkaido, but there is a reason people in Okinawa have come to eat Kombu as part of their traditional diet. Japan began exporting Kombu to Qing (the current China) during the middle of the Edo period (around the first half of the 18th century). Okinawa was a gateway port through which kombu was brought to Qing. This is why kombu became a popular food in Okinawa. While people on the island of Honshu (the largest island in Japan) often use Kombu to make soup stock, Okinawans generally eat Kombu directly. When consumed this way, all the natural nutrients can be accessed and absorbed. Okinawa is the largest consumer of Kombu in Japan. Moreover, it is said that the amount of Mozuku consumed in Okinawa is 10 times as much as the amount consumed in any other prefecture. We often associate mozuku with the small dish accompanying sake. In Okinawa, however, Mozuku is commonly used in Miso soup or Zosui (Japanese porridge of rice and vegetables). Everyone must have heard somewhere that sea vegetables are good for the body, since it is abundant in vitamins as well as iodine, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, potassium and other minerals. Sea vegetables absorb the abundant minerals dissolved in seawater as they grow, so naturally it is a rich source of minerals. In a sense, sea vegetables are concentrate of all the goodness found in the sea. Plants grow by means of photosynthesis, and sea vegetables in the ocean also conducts photosynthesis. Blue algae-which attaches itself to rocks and quay walls-and the green algae found in relatively shallow seas, grow where they can receive sufficient amounts of light. The red algae can conduct photosynthesis in the presence of relatively little light found in deeper waters, while brown algae often inhabits the intermediate depths. People of the modern age have an unbalanced diet lacking in vitamins and minerals, and this imbalance tends to invite the onset of diseases. However, Kombu, Mozuku and other varieties of sea vegetable replenish the body with vitamins and minerals. This is why sea vegetables are believed to be good for the health. However, simply understanding the natural goodness of sea vegetables do not reveal the secret of longevity long enjoyed by the people of Okinawa. The key to that secret lies in Fucoidan.