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Fucoxanthin is a carotenoid found in brown seaweed that is being investigated for its fat burning abilities. It reduces fat mass, but has a time delay due to build up in fat tissue and does not stimulate the brain. Also appears healthy, but needs more corroborating evidence.

Our evidence-based analysis on fucoxanthin features 84 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Fucoxanthin

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Fucoxanthin is a brown seaweed pigment that is found in most brown seaweeds, as well as a few other marine sources. It is a xanthophyll, which is a molecule structurally similar to beta-carotene and vitamin A; yet fucoxanthin does not possess vitamin-like activity in the body.

Fucoxanthin, via its metabolites, seems to be stored in fat cells for a prolonged period of time and can induce fat loss while inhibiting fat cell differentiation and proliferation. Although only one human study has been published, it appears to be a promising non-stimulatory fat loss agent but requires time to work (5-16 weeks).

It also possesses other health benefits, such as correcting abnormalities in glucose metabolism in muscle tissue which can help diabetics and might reduce cholesterol levels and triglycerides by currently unverified mechanisms. Reductions in blood pressure and reductions in both liver fat stores and liver enzyme values have been noted with fucoxanthin supplementation in humans.

Fucoxanthin, although usage as a supplement is preliminary, appears to be a very promising joint fat loss and health boosting agent.

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How to Take

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

A daily dosage of 2.4-8mg fucoxanthin has shown benefit in some human studies over a prolonged period of time, and while within this range the benefits are dose-dependent higher doses have not been tested sufficiently.

If buying a seaweed standardized for fucoxanthin, look for the extract percentage and then backtrack. Buying an undaria pinnafitida supplement that is 1% fucoxanthin by weight would require 240-800mg of the supplement to get 2.4-8mg fucoxanthin.

Assuming this page on consuming seaweed is read and understood, then daily consumption of dietary seaweed may be sufficient to get enough fucoxanthin for optimal antioxidative and fat burning effects.

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Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine members

The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Fucoxanthin has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-c Notable - See study
In a model of liver fat in obese premenopausal women, fucoxanthin was fairly effective at reducing liver enzymes after prolonged usage
grade-c Notable - See study
The decrease in liver fat seen with fucoxanthin tends to be greater than that seen with other supplements, although insufficient evidence exists to suggest reliability of results
grade-c Notable - See study
The lone study in obese premenopausal women noted a fairly remarkable increase in metabolic rate (the highest estimate being around 450kcal daily); this study requires replication to see if the effect size persists
grade-c Notable - See study
The lone study in obese, premenopausal women noted a large degree of weight loss over time relative to control, which was though to be due to increasing the metabolic rate (secondary to alleviating fatty liver). Needs to be replicated in other demographics
grade-c Minor - See study
In obese, premenopausal women, fucoxanthin may lower blood pressure; this is confounded with overall weight loss, however
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in C-reactive protein is noted with fucoxanthin ingestion
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in circulating triglycerides is noted with fucoxanthine

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Frequently Asked Questions and Articles on Fucoxanthin

How can I safely consume seaweed?
It is relatively easy to consume most seaweeds safely, but high intakes of raw Kelp (Kombu, or any seaweed starting with Laminaria) are a very significant concern for iodine toxicity. For daily Kombu intake, proper cooking techniques should be followed for safety.

Things to Note

Is a Form Of

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Seaweed Extract, Undaria Pinnatifida, fuco, fucothin

Do Not Confuse With


Goes Well With

  • Fucoxanthin does not appear to induce fat loss acutely, but may take up to 5-16 weeks of 5mg or more in order for fat burning effects to occur. This is probably due to saturating fat mass with fucoxanthin

  • It may be sufficient to consume dietary seaweed to reach optimal levels of fucoxanthin intake

  • Fucoxanthin appears to require dietary fat for its absorption from the gut, similar to Vitamin A

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Click here to see all 84 references.