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Basic Chemical Information about Fucoxanthin

A photograph of fucoxanthin after lipid extraction and drying


Fucoxanthin is a non-provitamin-A carotenoid with the molecular formula C42H58O6. Fucoxanthin is a pigment that is present in brown algae and other members of the phylum ochrophyta; it functions as an accessory pigment to photosynthesis in the chloroplasts. In particular, fucoxanthin makes up a major part of the carotenoids in brown algae.

It has been subject to copious amounts of research and testing at institutions such as university laboratories and Japan's National Agriculture and Food Research Organization since around 1990. This research has made it clear that fucoxanthin is deeply connected to caspase-3 (a protein-degrading enzyme that is involved in apoptosis and programmed cell death) and apoptosis (the fragmentation of DNA.)

Structural Diagram of Fucoxanthin

Molecule structural diagram of Fucoxanthin

Fucoidan and fucoxanthin

Research on fucoidan started around 1970, and it became the subject of a great deal of attention starting around 1995.
In 2007 in particular, the Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology and Agrochemistry and many other organizations and researchers took part in developments related to this substance.

Fucoidan has been researched as a special component of mozuku seaweed, and its molecular structure was first thought to be a polysaccharide in which L-fucose is liked by sulfate groups.

Fucoxanthin is a pigment that received little attention at first, but in recent years, the parts of fucoxanthin that are involved in apoptosis, which is considered to be the most important part of fucoidan's function, have been found to provide even stronger assistance to apoptosis than fucoidan does, although research on this red pigment from fucoidan and other brown algae is still only being carried out in vitro study and animal experiments.

Image of the actual form of the fucoidan that has been subject to research

Entire image of fucoidan

This is the history of research on "fucoidan," an extract of brown algae that consists of L-fucose linked by sulfate groups with the pigment fucoxanthin attached, which has come to be used in research in its entirety.

However, it is possible that fucoidan contains fucoxanthin, albeit in tiny amounts.

It would ordinarily be considered impossible to think that amounts of fucoxanthin too tiny to detect could be entirely responsible for the powerful support that fucoidan provides to the induction of apoptosis.

However, it seems that many companies that sell fucoxanthin sidestep the scholarly literature and effects of fucoidan and try to credit them to fucoxanthin.

This is a complete mistake.

Fucoidan on its own is characterized by providing reliable support to apoptosis.

Fucoxanthin is said to have the ability to provide extremely strong apoptosis support on its own, but it has not yet been proven in humans and one should not ascribe the results from research on fucoidan to it.

That is the truth.

Why are the many fucoxanthin products on the market so expensive?

Many companies give the following explanation.

Fucoidan is a very scarce material that makes up no more than 1% of the contents of the raw material.
=> In addition, fucoxanthin is a very scarce material that makes up no more than 1% of fucoidan.

Therefore, it makes sense that fucoxanthin products are amazing and expensive.

Most people probably believe this without thinking.
But don't they realize that changing the amount taken every day changes the contents of the product?

The required amount of fucoxanthin is 0.3%-0.1% of fucoidan.

In other words, for a product in which no more than 1% of the fucoidan is used and the amount taken is decreased to 1% or less but its cost is the same or reduced by 2/3, this cannot be a reason for the high price.

This could be considered a classic case of business taking advantage of people who are clutching at straws.

Vitalmore was unsatisfied with the current situation, in which the weaknesses of fucoxanthin were hidden and the product was sold at high prices and started developing a fucoxanthin product whose time, it seemed, had not yet come.

* The weaknesses of fucoxanthin will be explained below.

Advantages of fucoxanthin

Its advantage is its extremely strong support of apoptosis.

Although experiments have only been carried out in vitro study level, fucoxanthin provides extremely strong support to apoptosis.

Seaweed is normally green in color, but when it is mixed with a red pigment like fucoxanthin, it creates fucoxanthin, which is considered to be brown in color.

In other words, fucoxanthin is normally mixed in with other pigments in brown algae to create a brown color.

On this site, fucoxanthin is described as brown, but it is actually red and it becomes brown in its natural state.

If a product has a reddish-brown color, that is evidence that large amounts of other substances have been mixed into it.

*Fucoxanthin has a beautiful red color, and it turns reddish-brown when large amounts of other substances are mixed in with it.

Fucoxanthin is lipid-soluble

Fucoxanthin, one of the substances that are present in the extract (fucoidan) is a carotenoid that dissolves in lipids, while the other substances in fucoidan (fucose and sulfate groups) are water-soluble.

When a component has a form in which molecules of substances that have opposite characteristics in nature are held together firmly, it is stable.

fucoxanthin that has been dissolved in oil.

*Photograph of cups of fucoxanthin that has been dissolved in oil.

Weaknesses of Fucoxanthin

Its weakness is the fact that when it is extracted, its stability as a component is poor, and it gradually breaks down.

Research has shown that among the components of fucoidan, fucoxanthin is more important than fucose and has higher performance, particularly when it comes to the support of apoptosis.

Our recommended fucoidan manufacturer, Kanahide Bio, and other major researchers of fucoidan also understand that this makes sense.

But no major manufacturers sell fucoxanthin extract products yet.

Why would that be?

It is because in order to collect fucoxanthin, it must be dissolved in fat and isolated.

However, pure fucoxanthin molecules have extremely poor stability.

If they are analyzed immediately after extraction, they can be measured to be high-concentration fucoxanthin.

However, the figures from an analysis center are the figures from the moment of analysis, and not those from an hour later.

Unfortunately, fucoxanthin differs from other substances in that it disintegrates with extreme speed as time passes.

That means that even if it is known to be useful, it is difficult to make into a product or put into practical use.

These are facts that our company wants everyone to know, because they are the truth.

Report of testing of the stability of fucoxanthin in storage

Important: The scholarly literature about fucoidan and its relationship with fucoxanthin

The many companies that insist that "it's not fucoidan, fucoxanthin is what's vital" would give you the impression that the existing literature about fucoidan is actually the result of the tiny amounts of fucoxanthin that it contains, but we believe that isn't true.

The fucoidan that is used in many of these articles has been extracted using water or hot water and adjusted with acid, so fucoxanthin, which is lipid-soluble, has not been extracted.

Additionally, fucoxanthin has little heat resistance, so it breaks down and is further broken down as time passes.

In other words, it is likely that the fucoidan in the literature contained very little fucoxanthin when it was actually used in research-- close to none.

Because of this, the many articles about fucoidan that have come out so far can be said not to be about fucoxanthin, but about fucoidan (fucose, sulfate groups, uronic acid and very little to no fucoxanthin.)

It is clear that the idea that the assistance to apoptosis that fucoidan provides is the result of fucoxanthin is a piece of sophistry.

Furthermore, fucoxanthin first started to gain attention in the 1990s, and fucoidan has been around since the 1970s; it is likely that this development started because they are extracted from the same brown seaweed.

Because fucoxanthin is physically unstable, research on it has only just started, and the literature has far fewer reports on it at this point than on fucoidan.

Is fucoxanthin truly a dream substance?

Further research on fucoxanthin will continue, and the truth may not be known for years or decades. The fact is that waiting for that time is not a possibility for some people.

A substance with many unknowns, in other words, it can be considered a substance with unknown promise.

That means that we'd like you to consider fucoxanthin a promising substance that you should take along with fucoidan.

Additionally, we think that there are a lot of problems with companies that use manipulation and absolutism about fucoxanthin to sell their products at high prices.

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You must pay attention to the amount and concentration of fucoxanthin when buying products.

This is basic knowledge when it comes to fucoidan, but under Japanese laws regarding food, a product that contains at least 10% of a substance like fucoxanthin can be sold as fucoxanthin as a whole.

However, we do not yet have any technology that can increase fucoxanthin's concentration to as high as 10%.
If you look at the description of concentration, etc. on the page for fucoxanthin products, the limit as of 2015 is a mere 2-5%.

However, violations of the law are a complex topic.
Because fucoxanthin is a lipid-soluble substance, it is normally recognized as "fucoxanthin oil" in the industry.
In other words, if you argue that it is labeled as fucoxanthin oil, it's possible to say that it's not illegal to describe it as "100% fucoxanthin" or as having "100 mg of fucoxanthin per drop" (when it is actually 100 mg of oil.)

The salt concentration of seawater is about 3%.    The human body is about 65-80% water

Some people might be skeptical because the concentration of fucoxanthin in fucoxanthin oil is a mere 2%, but the fact is that if fucoxanthin oil really contains that much, it has a high concentration. 3% salt water will have a salty taste, and the human body is completely solid even though it is 70% water.

You might ordinarily be fooled into thinking that there is 100 mg in each capsule, but that isn't the case.

If each capsule contains 100 mg of fucoxanthin oil, no more than 5% of that would be fucoxanthin.

We are often asked how many grams of fucoxanthin our fucoxanthin products contain, and in order to avoid misunderstanding, we say "very few."

No technology that would allow one to assert that fucoxanthin has a high concentration has been established.
Additionally, because it is unstable, it starts to break down as soon as it's put into oil form.
Numerous researchers have come up with results to show the apoptosis-supporting performance of the very small amount of fucoxanthin that is present in fucoidan as a pigment, so there is no fundamental problem.

Processing it into simple fucoxanthin oil, talking about its amount and concentration and hiding the facts of its breakdown is a problem.

Summary of precautions when looking for fucoxanthin products:

At this point in time, the problem of fucoxanthin's stability has not been solved.
In 2007, many major manufacturers of fucoidan harbored great hopes for fucoxanthin and attempted to produce fucoxanthin products.

But at present, there is no way to avoid having it break down after it is extracted.

Fucoxanthin is susceptible to the effects of time and heat, and it is further broken down by the effects of digestive enzymes after being taken.

We believe that if your budget allows you to jump into taking expensive fucoxanthin products, a more efficient and practical method of use at present is to prioritize taking fucoidan using the recently-developed nanocapsule technology and then adding fucoxanthin.

If you understand the weaknesses of fucoxanthin and still want to take a fucoxanthin product, we offer one with quality and a low cost.

Notification of the sale of Vital Fucoxanthin Trust

Based on the facts on this page, this company was unhappy with the situation it faced and spent more than 5 years searching for a product. See the page for Vital Fucoxanthin Trust for details.

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