Fucoxanthin; Is Seaweed Good For Losing Weight?

With all of the miracle pills and potions out there today, you can’t be blamed for wondering about the amount of truth behind any range of emerging ideas or recent studies linked to weight loss.

So, is it true? Is seaweed good for losing weight, or, is this just another fad? Studies have uncovered a chemical found in certain species of seaweeds that helps with weight loss.

No joke! Although, you may think I’m pulling your leg when I tell you the chemical is called fucoxanthin. But this is for real. Come with me as we take a closer look at how seaweed may hold the weight loss key that millions have been searching for.

The Little Known History of Seaweed

Is seaweed good for weight loss? You know it is! For what may be considered by some as anecdotal proof on this, let’s take a look at the data from Okinawa, Japan.

The Okinawan diet has been identified as one of the factors in promoting longevity in the Prefecture. 1

Being found in what is referred to as a ‘blue zone‘ (a place where there is uncharacteristic human longevity), the average weight of a person in (we’re interested in Okinawa) Japan in 2005 was recorded as being 58.8kg. 2

As you might expect, Japan also showed the lowest rate of obese or overweight people in assessed populations around the planet under this study.

Seaweed has played a key part in the Okinawan diet as a nutrient dense food for generations. Even as anecdotal evidence, that’s a pretty good start for specific species of seaweed being a food source which can help with wight loss and promoting good health.

My Grandmother used to say ‘A long belt equals a short life’. I believe that the parallels in this can be thought provoking in the least.

Seaweed has a long history, and is so much more than the source of some new weight loss wonder drug. In fact, as a wholefood, it has been relied upon by people for thousands of years.

Many reference the Potato Famine in Ireland in the mid 1800’s where people turned to Irish Sea Moss as a source of food. But the history of seaweed playing a part in providing a source of nutrition and wellness isn’t limited to just Ireland and Japan.

As far back as some 15,000 years ago (estimated to be between 12,310 and 12,290 BCE), at Monte Verde II, Chile, archaeological investigations uncovered evidence of nine different species of marine algae in hearths and other areas of the site. 3 4

This suggests that seaweed was a part of the diet relied upon by people who reached the tip of South America thousands of years ago. (Note: at the time of publishing, access to Science’s articles are free once you have registered through AAAS – the article in the link above is a very interesting read).

Of the species found at Monte Verde II site there were the following:

  • Sargassum sp. 5
  • Porphyra sp. (luche) 6
  • Mazzaella sp. (luga cuchara) 7
  • Sarcothalia Crispata (luga negra) 8
  • Durvillaea Antarctica (cochayuyo) 9
  • Macrocystis Pyrifera (huiro) 10
  • Durvillaea Antarctica 11
  • Porphyra Columbina, and 12
  • Gracilaria sp. (pelillo) 13
Source: Science (AAAS) Volume 320, Issue Number 5877, pages 784 to 786. Published May 9th, 2008

These were relied upon for food and medicinal purposes, much like they are today in other parts of the world.

In his book Seaweeds: Edible, Available & Sustainable, Author Ole G. Mouritsen takes us on a journey through how seaweed has been a key part of many cultures on both a dietary and medicinal level. 14

Seaweed has played a key role in other parts of the world for just as long, if not, possibly even longer than this. Known to be relied upon in Australia, Asia, New Zealand, and across South America, the days of connecting Irish and Japanese cultures only with seaweed as a food source are long gone.

When you consider the popular belief promoted by Doctor Sebi that sea moss contains 92 of the 102 minerals found in the human body, you can’t help but wonder how much of a role seaweed has had to play in forming us into the people we are today. 15

As the world begins to wake up and learn about the value that seaweed has to offer us, more and more people are discovering that sea moss is very powerful.

As one type of seaweed that has seen a resurgence in interest, the popularity of sea moss comes largely as a result of the introduction that Sebi received through Lisa (Left Eye) Lopes.

But I’m going to guess that you’re still looking for more proof. Is seaweed good for weight loss, or not? Let’s take a bit of a look at the science behind this…

What is in Seaweed that Helps with Losing Weight?

As I said in the introduction, I know the name sounds like it could be an April Fools joke, but it isn’t. Lets take a look at some of the recent studies where fucoxanthin has been examined for its effects on the body, and how it works.

Fucoxanthin is a carotenoid that is derived from species of seaweed that are typically brown in color. Fucoxanthin is typically found in the highest concentrations in the following spices of seaweed:

  • Laminaria Japonica (Ma-Kombu) 16
  • Cylindrotheca Closterium 17
  • Undaria Pinnatifida (Wakame), and 18
  • Phaeodactylum Tricornutum 19

As a chemical it works in such a way that it inhibits the body’s ability to absorb fat through the digestion process. This was identified through targeted studies where mice were fed fucoxanthin extracted from Undaria Pinnatifida. 20

The effect has also been described as being likened to the metabolism being sped up, resulting in the body’s ability to burn fat being increased. 21

The study then suggested that this is converted into fucoxanthinol in human intestinal cells where some interesting effects were observed. 22

Not only was there a reduction in the mice’s propensity to gain weight, but the mice in these studies also showed a reduction in the percentage of tumour-bearing cells.

The fucoxanthin was administered through the drinking water given to the mice. This effect was likened to a form of apoptosis; a type of programmed cell death. 23

The chemical structure of Fucoxanthin

Something that I found particularly interesting in the study cited above was the medium for the dissolving of fucoxanthin into a fluid form and the effect this had.

Various types of oils were used based on looking for the most effective about solubility for the administering of fucoxanthin for the mice orally.

Soybean oil, vegetable oil and fish oil were all used. It turns out that the fish oil, containing medium-chain triglycerides was more effective, and had better results than the straight fucoxanthin. 24

For the Vegan’s reading this and struggling with the concept of fish oil, coconut oil is a great source of plant based medium-chain triglycerides. 25

But with all this talk of mice and weight loss it may seem difficult to connect this to how the human body works. Further research has been completed with a select group of women using a product called Xanthigen (fucoxanthin with pomegranate seed oil). 26 27

In this sixteen week long study using a placebo-controlled, randomized double-blind methodology it was determined that Xanthigen promoted a reduction in body and liver fat content.

The toxicological assessments completed on Xanthigen over a 14 day and 90 day trail were reported to not yield any safety issues. Would I trust this? Not blindly. My preference is to consume the raw, whole food where I can get it rather than consume a supplement. 28

When isolated, fucoxanthin is no longer accompanied by all the other minerals and nutrients that are found in the seaweed, which also present nutritional value. Call me a purist if you choose, but I like my nutrition on a non-capsule form.

It seems that the consensus is scientifically clear when considering the evidence behind the question ‘Is seaweed good for weight loss?’ and that seaweed also has a range of other benefits to offer.

So, apart from seeking out seaweeds that contain fucoxanthin, or looking for fucoxanthin on the pharmacy shelves, what are some of the ways you can use seaweed to help with weight loss?

Why Seaweed?

Seaweed is undoubtedly a rich source of minerals and vitamins with a nutritional value that terrestrial (land-based) plants rarely get close to. Being rich in dietary fibre, seaweed is also great when it comes to appetite suppression, or control, along with aiding better digestion.

As much as eating seaweed might sound a little out of the ordinary to most Western people, its place as a staple in many parts of Asia is not unusual to imagine.

Most Westerners consider seaweed to be a health food, rather than a vegetable or an ingredient that is just a part of any given meal. But, that perception is slowly changing, and seaweed is becoming a more common thing, even in the Western diet.

As popular as seaweed is in Asian cuisine, of the estimated 35,000 species on the plant, it is only a handful that are regularly used. Some guesstimate that the numbers are as low as 21 different types of seaweed which commonly appear in Asian dishes.

I did get pretty heavy and scientific with some of the species names in the lists above, but you might know some of them by their more common names, like:

  • Dulse
  • Nori
  • Kombu, and
  • Wakame

For quite some time now seaweeds have been commercially harvested for a range of reasons. The most common being their gelatinous-like properties which see them added to a swag of foods we commonly eat.

Fucoxanthin;-Is-Seaweed-Good-For-Losing-Weight- 5 types of seaweed on a timber board
Making seaweed a part of your day is easy where there are some 35,000 species we know of. Find this image on Instagram.

But when it comes to losing weight, there are a few simple things that seaweed offer us. I’ll walk you through my top ten reasons to support the point behind why seaweed is good for losing weight.

Top Ten Weight Loss Reasons for Using Seaweed

As you can already tell from the intro, there has been a heck of a lot of research into how seaweed plays a part in our physical health.

In particular, the bio-active components of seaweed when it comes to weight control and obesity. So, let’s take a look at this, and find out ‘is seaweed good for losing weight?’

1. Seaweed can burn up fat

So, the cat is out of the bag. We know that fucoxanthin is able to block the absorption and promote the excretion of fats. But better than that, there has been sufficient proof in clinical studies to show that it can actually modulate enzymes and burn up fat!

Mitochondrial Uncoupling Protein 1 (UCP1) is normally only found in Brown Adipose (a kind of disconnected fatty) Tissue, known as BAT. 29

It helps to prevent excessive fat accumulation through a process of metabolic thermogenesis. So this type of fat naturally containing UCP1 helps to burn fat instead of accumulate it. 30 31

The sad fact is that BAT is not found in abundance in humans. What you’ll typically find in humans is the opposite type of tissue; White Adipose Tissue (WAT). 32

This isn’t the good kind of fat. UCP1 from Fucoxanthin helps to target WAT and effectively burn it up. So eat your sea moss and other fucoxanthin rich seaweeds. 33

Along with burning up fats, fucoxanthin has also been shown to help regulate blood lipids and lower harmful cholesterol levels. Fucoxanthin has also been shown to help with the regulation of insulin levels. 34

Summary: A pigment found in seaweeds, fucoxanthin helps to reduce cases of obesity. Data from clinical trials and a range of studies indicates that fucoxanthin improves the chances of weight loss.

When coupled with other anti-obesity strategies it increases their effectiveness.

2. Fucoidan from seaweed helps reduce obesity

Fucoidan is found in brown spices of seaweed, particularly in the cell walls. It plays a key part in protecting the plant from nasties like waterborne pathogenic microorganisms. As a natural defense mechanism it has another trick up its sleeve. 35

Research in the past 30 years had identified that the species of seaweed and the extraction method are key to the effectiveness of the fucoidan. 36

Fucoidan is a form of sulphur that is bound to naturally occurring (fucose) sugars within certain species of seaweed. As a long chain polysaccharide, it tends to form a jelly-like covering which can be seen on sea cucumbers and the eggs of sea urchins. 37 38

Through a process where fats are stimulated to break down known as lipolysis, fucoidan holds a valuable key. That’s right, fucoidan inhibits lipid accumulation. It also diminishes the ability for genetic expression of cells linked to forming and accumulating fat in the body. 39

Tests on mice with high fat concentrations in their bloodstream indicated that fucoidan greatly reduced the concentration of these fats. 40

Known as hyperlipidemia, the study showed that fucoidan triggered a hypolipidemic effect. This was observed through the modulation of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2 (SREBP-2) and the synthesis of triglycerides in the liver. Sounds complicated, right? 41 42

Basically, fucoidan was found to improve blood fat levels and liver fat levels by regulating serum lipid levels.

Summary: Fucoidan is a long-chain polysaccharide found in brown seaweeds. It greatly reduces diet-related factors linked to obesity by slowing and stopping the formation of fat cells.

It also breaks the fat accumulation process and inhibits the level of activity of fat-digesting and absorbing enzymes.

3. Active components inhibit fat and carbohydrate derived calorie absorption

So you know about fucoxanthin and fucoidan, but did you know that seaweeds are also rich in alginic acid and antioxidants Alginic acid, also referred to as alginate, presented interesting results in controlled studies with obese people. 43

The results of this study suggested that pre-loading meals with alginate could result in weight loss. 44

Alginates are regarded as unbranched polysaccharides. With more research required in the space, it is currently understood that alginates are not digested in the human body. They are therefore treated as dietary fibres. 45 46

However, contrasting studies have shown that alginates play a key part in enzyme lipase activity inhibition. This means they block the absorbing of fats in the small intestine. 47

This then leads me to look at alpha glucosidase, which is a type of enzyme involved with the process of breaking down carbohydrates into simple sugars. 48

Alginates have been observed to inhibit the functions of alpha glucosidase, which suggest that they could present some helpful outcomes for diabetics and people who suffer from associated kidney diseases. 49

Bladderwrack and Egg-wrack are both types of seaweed that also contain alginates capable of performing in this way. 50

Summary: Naturally occurring chemical structures found in seaweed play a key part in influencing the digestion process where they are capable of blocking the body’s ability to assimilate fats and carbohydrates through digestion.

The end result is that this reduces the pool of caloric uptake within the body.

4. Seaweed helps with the reduction of fat cell formation

Given that there is sufficient evidence from studies which show there is merit behind the idea that fucoxandthin, fucoidan, and to a lesser extent alginic acid, block fat in a range of ways, it is reasonable to conclude that seaweed is effective at reducing the formation of fat cells in the body.

Touching upon the potential benefits for diabetics, let’s take a closer look at something called adiponectin (also known as ACRP30 or adipoQ). 51

The relationship between adiponectin and abdominal fatty tissue is very interesting, particularly when you consider it from an insulin sensitivity perspective. 52 53

Various studies in food consumption provide a range of estimates which show that an average of 5.3g of seaweed is consumed per person each day in Japan.

And seaweed is found in as much as 21% of meals served in Japan on average. This is not a lot when you think about it in comparison to the overall daily intake most people would have.

With the increased Westernization of diets in Asian countries, and the subsequent reduction in seaweed consumption, there has been a noted increase of chronic (lifestyle) illnesses.

Although not a clinical study per se, this is sufficient of an indication that seaweed helps to keep the body from accumulating fat cells that are associated with degenerative health issues. 54

The concomitant connection between obesity and inflammation related complications are also within the range of potential treatment due to the combined anti-fat accumulative and inflammatory properties of certain brown species of seaweeds.

When contemplating the question ‘Is seaweed good for losing weight?’ this research makes for a compelling case in the affirmative.

Summary: Making seaweed even a small part of your diet has the potential to provide beneficial outcomes that are often inhibited due to a high processed food based Western diet.

5. Seaweed helps to control your appetite

When you think about the connections between appetite and weight loss, the natural conclusion many of us reach is that a reduction in appetite will lead to a reduction in weight.

Taking this away from a basic principle of calories in and calories out and thinking about it from a nutritional perspective is what is important in my opinion.

Seaweed helps to tick both of these boxes with the high density mineral content and the appetite suppression hacks that it brings to the table. So, ‘is seaweed good for weight loss?’ you ask. 55

Well, with this little gem in mind, it becomes much easier to begin to see how it is. Less science, more simplicity I can hear you cry out. Seaweed has a natural ability to help stem a rampant appetite. And that can be a great start towards sustainable weight loss. 56

Where seaweed gets the appetite suppression characteristics from is in the alginate. As we understand, alginate is not digestible in the human body. It is looked upon as a dietary fibre, and behaves in such a manner that is also blocks fat absorption.

But it also possess a characteristic that comes from its gelatinous nature; it swells up and makes you feel fuller. Not in a bloated way, but more of a satisfied and ‘not so hunger right’ now way.

A study conducted by the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Human Nutrition showed that as much as 6.78 kilograms of weight was lost by the group who was provided with 3 doses of an alginate based beverage (Protanal) at 500ml every day for a period of 12 weeks. 57

On the other hand, the control group were give a placebo of Maltodextrin (another polysaccharide) to the same volume and dosage for the same duration. The control group also lost weight, but it was only as high as 5.04 kilograms. 58

When it comes to choosing between an extract from seaweed, or the whole plant, I’m always going to opt for the whole plant as a wholefood.

Interestingly, studies have sown that from an appetite suppressant perspective (energy intake) that the wholefood has a much higher success rate than the isolated alginate. 59

I choose to blend dried sea moss and use it as a gel form in a range of foods on a daily basis. I also apply it topically, and have found the results are beyond impressive.

Summary: You can reduce your caloric intake through adding seaweed to your diet. Seaweed can be used as a pre-loading for meals to reduce the impact of fats and carbohydrates in the digestion process.

This also plays a part in helping things move through your body quicker as the digestion process is effectively simplified.

Fucoxanthin-Is-Seaweed-Good-For-Losing-Weight. Fresh Sea Moss straight from the ocean
Fresh Sea Moss straight from clean tropical waters. Find this image on Instagram.

6. Seaweed has compounds that are great for controlling blood sugar levels

So you would have picked up in the previous sections that through the inherent properties within brown species of seaweeds that there are outcomes that have (under studies) yielded results which shine a light of hope for diabetics.

If you suffer from type 2 diabetes and associated complications surrounding insulin resistance, this health hurdle is something you no doubt would give anything to be free of. 60

This is by no means a statement that seaweed can cure your condition, but it is a statement that there is research underway around the world on how this may be achieved. 61

In the mean time, you may benefit from making some different different lifestyle choices, and speaking with your Doctor or Dietitian about the value of making seaweed a part of your routine.

Fucoxanthin has been one such derivative of brown seaweeds that has been the subject of extensive studies in relation to a potential treatment, and possibly even a cure for diabetes. 62

That may sound like an icky thing to do. I mean, isn’t seaweed slimy and fishy? And I want you to think about making it a part of your routine?

Did you know that seaweed is already in a lot of the foods you probably eat already? In fact, just today at our local supermarket I was reading the ingredients on a plant based burger. Guess what one of the ingredients was? Yep, seaweed!

So how does seaweed help with insulin levels? When a cell fails to respond to insulin, the metabolism of glucose is hindered. This changes the way the glucose is processed and it typically results in a chain of events that see it being stored as excess fat.

On the other hand it could also result in a condition known as hyperglycemia, where the end result can be as extreme as death in acute cases. So, do whatever you can to maintain good health. Your body is just that after all; your body. So look after it and enjoy a healthy and happy life.

Summary: Making seaweed a part of your routine could help to improve your blood sugar level stability and may even prevent unwanted insulin spikes. Keep in mind that interference with the metabolism of glucose is to be avoided otherwise you can experience unwanted weight gain.

7. Seaweed can help to reduce cholesterol levels

There are naturally occurring sugars in various species of seaweeds which help to regulate cholesterol levels. These aren’t the kinds of sugars that contribute to weight gain and blood sugar problems. 63

Because alginates (along with other fibres in seaweed having viscous properties) are capable of binding to lipids, including cholesterol, they help to get these out of your system quicker than if they weren’t there. 64

This is attributed to the production of ionic colloids in the human digestive system when alginates are present.

But the benefits are not restricted to brown species of seaweeds. There are studies which have identified the normalization of liver and cardiovascular responses in rats that were fed on a high fat diet and then given 5 grams daily of a dried tropical green seaweed species. 65

And this is where fucoxanthin comes back in. Fucoxanthin plays a key role in improving cholesterol levels. It does this through modifying the expression of genes which are involved in the synthesis of cholesterol, thus reducing the cholesterol levels. 66

Summary: Being overweight is often a precursor to other health complications including a host of metabolic diseases and developing dangerous cholesterol levels.

Based on the research, consuming seaweed can play a key role in reducing cholesterol levels and improving your overall metabolic health.

8. Seaweed is a great source of vitamins and minerals

If you’re looking for a source of nutritional value that is second to none, seaweed is where your hunt ends. Being loaded with minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, iodine and magnesium some species of seaweed can be just what the Doctor ordered.

Depending upon the species, and the harvest, there can be fluctuating levels of these minerals and also vitamins like B 12, A and C. But what does this have to do with weight loss?

Have you heard people say that their weight problem is due to an irregular thyroid? The various levels of iodine that naturally occurs in seaweed can help balance thyroid function.

This then helps improve hormone production and regulation, which flows through to how you body processes a range of things that have a weight gain factor when out of harmony.

Obesity and mineral deficiencies can go hand in hand. A study conducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine uncovered some interesting findings within the Malnutrition of Obesity.

Michael Via, the Author of this study, suggested that Clinicians pay closer attention to the micronutrient deficiencies their Patients could be exposed to. As you may expect, the solution offered was for a healthy, balanced diet and exercise, with the use of supplements in cases that were necessary.

Summary: Seaweed has been relied upon for millennia as a source of nutrition. The combination of minerals and vitamins found in some species of seaweed could hold the key to unlocking complications for obese people.

Possessing properties that support healthy bodily functions, seaweeds can also address peripheral issues that result in unhealthy weight gain.

9. Seaweed has prebiotic properties

So you may have heard of a probiotic. These are microorganisms in the form of yeasts and live bacteria which play a key part in a healthy functioning digestive system. 67

Getting this balance right can solve a lot of issues, and prevent things from getting nasty down the track. But, it isn’t just probiotics, there’s also prebiotics! 68

A prebiotic is summed up as being a kind of fibre which the human body is incapable of digesting. These are also microorganisms in the form of yeasts and live bacteria, and they have been identified as playing an important role in supporting gut health and good bacterial balance.

As Hippocrates said ‘All disease begins in the gut’ but I prefer to say ‘All health begins in the gut’.

Prebiotics, in this case the polysaccharides found in seaweed, act as a food source for bacteria in your gut that are necessary for good digestive function. Without then your gut environment is out of whack and you are incapable of efficiently absorbing nutrition form the foods you eat.

Did you know that obesity is a cause of these bacteria not being able to thrive and function as they should? So, you see we have begun to come full circle.

It’s not just about the effectiveness of fucoxanthin and fucoidan as some magic weight loss solution. It’s more about a healthy, functioning body at a gut level with regard to good digestion.

Studies into the prebiotic effects of red species of seaweed including Kappaphycus Alvarezii also yielded interesting results. Posessing short chain fatty acids they were evaluated as potential functional foods. 69

The results of other studies showed that beneficial bacteria populations were increased with the use of red seaweeds, while the presence of pathogenic microorganisms in the gut were reduced. 70

Summary: Through supporting a healthy gut, seaweed is able to help improve a range of functions within the body, and even make a noticeable difference to immunity.

A healthy functioning gut is key to supporting the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. This is necessary for promoting a healthy body weight.

10. Seaweed is low in calories

Depending upon the species of seaweed, it can be either a very low calorie food, or an extremely low calorie food. Most common species of seaweed come in at around 42 calories per 100g.

Some have naturally occurring fats in them, but these are quite low and can be from 0.0g up to 0.6g of fat per 100g of seaweed.

Consuming seaweed and being concerned about the calorie count and fat levels isn’t something I lose a lot of sleep over. These are so low that they aren’t even a blip on the radar.

The discussion around calories and how seaweed plays a part here is more of a recap on the function of the alginates and how they block things in the digestion process.

For a recap on the science behind this, scroll back up to Point 7 – Seaweed can help reduce cholesterol levels.

As alginates aren’t digestible, and behave as a dietary fibre, these help make seaweed a low calorie food source. Readily available in most countries, a particular study of five edible seaweeds found in Spain provided some interesting insights. 71

As much as between 33.6% and 50% of the species assessed was dietary fibre, In that there was between 19.6% and 64.9% soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is very effective at holding water. It swells up and acts as an appetite suppressant.

Summary: Seaweed is so low in caloric values that it isn’t worth worrying about the impact related to eating it.

In fact, there is so much that is naturally built in to how seaweed functions in the digestive system that result in it reducing the caloric impact of other foods. This makes it a great string to your ‘weight loss strategy’ bow.

How much seaweed do I need to eat?

Eating seaweed to lose weight is something that needs to be approached with a healthy discussion between you and your Doctor and/or Dietitian. I’m not going to give you any explicit instructions on how much to eat, and how often.

Your state of health is possibly very different to mine, and I’m not able to give you targeted specific advice as I don’t know your circumstances.

What I am prepared to do it share with you how much seaweed, and how that seaweed is prepared, that I eat on a daily basis. What works for me may not be suitable for you, but I urge you to learn more about how you can make healthier choices that suit your needs.

My journey in looking for an answer to the question ‘Is seaweed good for losing weight?’ brought me to using sea moss. A typical day see me having a serve of sea moss gel, which I make myself at home from dried sea moss.

I’ll normally add a tablespoon of sea moss to my smoothie and coffee in the morning. Yes, I love my morning coffee – don’t judge me – lol.

Sea Moss Gel

After that I’ll normally have something like fresh vegetables or roasted vegetables with home made hummus (with sea moss in the mix) for lunch.

If its not hummus, its probably an Asian salad with sea moss in the dressing, a vegetable soup with sea moss added to the stock. Anyway, you get the picture. I’m adding sea moss gel to anything I can

Dinner is pretty close to the same as a lunch type meal (if I’m not fasting). Sea moss features here too. And after dinner it’s a cup of homemade chai with sea moss and coconut milk.

There’s also a cheek sweet on the side like a dairy free homemade chocolate, or a small piece of Red Velvet cake. All of these recipes you can find here in our ‘Recipes’ section.

So, all up, I’m consuming about 5 to 7 tablespoons of sea moss gel a day. Each tablespoon is slightly heaped and would weigh about 5 grams.

With the consistency that my sea moss gel is made to, I would use about 20 grams of dried sea moss (the Sea Moss Gold you’ll find in our store) in a jar that holds up to 400 grams of gel.

Between my wife and I we are soaking 20 grams of dried sea moss a week and using this as an additive to our food, and as a topical face mask at night. Yes, I sleep with sea moss gel on my face, and it makes my skin feel amazing.

What has my weight loss journey been like with sea moss? I’m stable at around 78 kilograms with sea moss being the primary source of seaweed in my diet. Before this I was knocking on the door of triple figures.

Not much else has changed in how I do what I do from a day to day perspective apart from avoiding junk food and cutting out processed sugars. I certainly feel the difference when I miss a day of my sea moss, and I don’t know what I would do without it.

Considerations before using seaweed for weight loss

Seaweed is a natural wholefood and is unlikely in many cases to cause problems. However, there are some species of seaweed to be careful with. Hijiki is one that you should only eat sparingly. I choose not to make Hijiki a seaweed that I consume. 72

Hijiki – Sargassum fusiforme

In pretty much all other cases, seaweed is not likely to result in harmful side effects (unless you have an allergy to seaweed).

If you are motivated to understand the answer behind the question ‘Is seaweed good for losing weight?’ without worrying too much about the application, then I hope you’ve picked a few things up. If you are looking to apply this, them please consider your current health position.

As mentioned earlier, speak with your Doctor or Dietitian about your specific dietary requirements before jumping in on making seaweed a key part of your diet.

If you are taking blood thinning medication, suffer from anemia or thyroid problems this is particularly important. Please, do your own research.

Seaweed wrapping it all up

Being high nutrient and low calorie foods, seaweeds are being touted as the food source that may solve world hunger issues. The value that we can get from how our bodies use the active components in seaweed are like nothing else offered by a terrestrial plant.

So what are your thoughts? Is seaweed good for losing weight? Have you had any experiences with seaweed as a part of your weight loss journey? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. “What Is the Okinawa Diet? Foods, Longevity, and More” – A. Hill, 11 July 2023 [Healthline] [Archive] ↩︎
  2. “The weight of nations: an estimation of adult human biomass” – S. Walpole, D.Merino, P. Edwards, J. Cleland, G. Stevens, Ian Roberts, 18 June 2012 [BMC Public Health] [Archive] ↩︎
  3. “Monte Verde Archaeological Site” – UNESCO Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [UNESCO World Heritage Convention] [Archive] ↩︎
  4. “Monte Verde: Seaweed, Food, Medicine, and the Peopling of South America” – T. Dillehay, C. Ramirez, M. Collins, J. Rossen, J. Navarro, 9 May 2008 [Science] [Archive] ↩︎
  5. “Sargassum muticum (Yendo) Fensholt, 1955” – WoRMS Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [WoRMS] [Archive] ↩︎
  6. “Porphyra columbina Montagne 1842” – Algae Base Staff, 10 September 1842 [Algae Base] [Archive] ↩︎
  7. “Mazzaella heterocarpa (Postels & Ruprecht) Fredericq, 1993” – WoRMS Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [WoRMS] [Archive] ↩︎
  8. “Sarcothalia crispata (Bory) Leister 1993” – Algae Base Staff, 10 February 1998 [Algae Base] [Archive] ↩︎
  9. “Durvillaea antarctica (Cham.) Har.” – ALA Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [Atlas of Living Australia] [Archive] ↩︎
  10. “Macrocystis pyrifera (Linnaeus) C.Agardh, 1820” – WoRMS Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [WoRMS] [Archive] ↩︎
  11. “Durvillaea antarctica (Chamisso) Hariot, 1892” – WoRMS Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [WoRMS] [Archive] ↩︎
  12. “Porphyra columbina var. laingii Levring, 1955” – WoRMS Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [WoRMS] [Archive] ↩︎
  13. “Management of a Gracilaria natural bed in Lenga, Chile: A case study” – A. Poblete, I. Inostroza, Last checked 26 February 2024 [Springer Link] [Archive] ↩︎
  14. “Edible marine algae” – Seaweed Book Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [Seaweed Book] [Archive] ↩︎
  15. “Did seaweed make us who we are today?” – Science Daily Staff, 28 February 2017
    [Science Daily] [Archive] ↩︎
  16. “Saccharina japonica (Areschoug) C.E.Lane, C.Mayes, Druehl & G.W.Saunders, 2006” – WoRMS Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [WoRMS] [Archive] ↩︎
  17. “Cylindrotheca closterium (Ehrenberg) Reimann & J.C.Lewin, 1964” – WoRMS Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [WoRMS] [Archive] ↩︎
  18. “Undaria pinnatifida (Harvey) Suringar, 1873” – WoRMS Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [WoRMS] [Archive] ↩︎
  19. “Phaeodactylum tricornutum Bohlin, 1897” – WoRMS Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [WoRMS] [Archive] ↩︎
  20. “Fucoxanthin” – Science Direct Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [Science Direct] [Archive] ↩︎
  21. “Fucoxanthin: A Promising Medicinal and Nutritional Ingredient” – H. Zhang, Y. Tang, Y. Zhang, S. Zhang, J. Qu, X. Wang, R. Kong, C. Han, Z. Liu, 27 May 2015 [PubMed Central] [Archive] ↩︎
  22. “Fucoxanthinol” – PubChem Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [PubChem] [Archive] ↩︎
  23. “Apoptosis” – Science Direct Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [Science Direct] [Archive] ↩︎
  24. “Medium Chain Triglycerides (Mcts) – Uses, Side Effects, and More” – WebMD Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [WebMD] [Archive] ↩︎
  25. “Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil Consumption as Part of a Weight Loss Diet Does Not Lead to an Adverse Metabolic Profile When Compared to Olive Oil” – M. Onge, A. Bosarge, L. Goreem B, Darnell, 21 May 2001 [PubMed Central] [Archive] ↩︎
  26. “The effects of Xanthigen in the weight management of obese premenopausal women with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and normal liver fat” – M. Abidov, Z. Ramazanov, R. Seifulla, S. Grachev, 12 January 2010
    [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  27. “Influence Of Pomegranate Seed Oil And Grape Seed Oil On Cholesterol Content And Fatty Acids Profile In Livers Of Chicken” – A. Bialek, M. Czerwonka, M. Bialek, T. Lepionka, K. Kaszperuk, T. Banaszkiewicz, A. Tokarz, 1 March 2017 [Science.gov] [Archive] ↩︎
  28. “Toxicological assessment of Xanthigen® nutraceutical extract combination: Mutagenicity, genotoxicity and oral toxicity” – L. Rios, T. Vega, R. Chirino, J. Jung, B. Davis,c R. Machín, J. Wiebe, 9 October 2018 [PubMed Central] [Archive] ↩︎
  29. “Fucoxanthin from edible seaweed, Undaria pinnatifida, shows antiobesity effect through UCP1 expression in white adipose tissues” – H. Maeda, M. Hosokawa, T. Sashima, K. Funayama, K. Miyashita, 1 July 2005 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  30. “The roles of metabolic thermogenesis in body fat regulation in striped hamsters fed high-fat diet at different temperatures” – L. Shi, W. Fan, J. Zhang, X. Zhao, S. Tan, J. Wen, J. Cao, X. Zhang, Q. Chi, D. Wang, Z. Zhao, 12 July 2017 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  31. “Quantification of UCP1 function in human brown adipose tissue” – C. Porter, 14 April 2017 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  32. “White Adipose Tissue” – Science Direct Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [Science Direct] [Archive] ↩︎
  33. “Fucoxanthin from edible seaweed, Undaria pinnatifida, shows antiobesity effect through UCP1 expression in white adipose tissues” – H. Maeda, M. Hosokawa , T. Sashima, K. Funayama, K. Miyashita, 6 May 2005 [Science Direct] [Archive] ↩︎
  34. “Effect of Fucoxanthin on the Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Sensitivity and Insulin Secretion” – K. Rubio, 30 January 2022 [Clinical Trials] [Archive] ↩︎
  35. “Fucoidan” – MSKCC Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center] [Archive] ↩︎
  36. “What is fucoidan?” – Marinova Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [Marinova] [Archive] ↩︎
  37. “Structural study of fucoidan from sea cucumber Acaudina molpadioides: A fucoidan containing novel tetrafucose repeating unit” – L. Yu, L. Ge, C. Xue, Y. Chang, C. Zhang, X. Xu, Y. Wang, 27 June 2013 [Science Direct] [Archive] ↩︎
  38. “Sea cucumber and sea urchin eggs contains a compound fucoidan which may inhibit fat accumulation” – M. Kim, U. Chang, J. Lee, 10 December 2008 [GreenMed Info] [Archive] ↩︎
  39. “Fucoidan from Marine Brown Algae Inhibits Lipid Accumulation” – M. Park, U. Jung, C. Roh, 10 August 2011 [MDPI] [Archive] ↩︎
  40. “Fucoidan improves serum lipid levels and atherosclerosis through hepatic SREBP-2-mediated regulation” – J. Park, M. Yeom, D. Hahm, Last checked 26 February 2024 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  41. “What Is Hyperlipidemia?” – P. Fowler, Last checked 26 February 2024 [WebMD] [Archive] ↩︎
  42. “Sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2 maintains glioblastoma stem cells by keeping the balance between cholesterol biosynthesis and uptake” – D. Gu, F. Zhou, H. You, J. Gao, T. Kang, D. Dixit, Q. Wu, K. Yang, S. Ci, D. Shan, X. Fan, W. Yuan, Q. Zhang, C. Lu, D. Li, N. Zhao, Z. Shi, W. Gao, F. Lin, J. Man, Q. Wang, X. Qian, S. Mack, W. Tao, S. Agnihotri, N. Zhang, Y. You, J. Rich, J. Zhang, X. Wang, 19 March 2023 [Oxford Academic] [Archive] ↩︎
  43. “Alginate” – PubChem Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [Pubchem] [Archive] ↩︎
  44. “Effect of alginate supplementation on weight loss in obese subjects completing a 12-wk energy-restricted diet: a randomized controlled trial” – M. Jensen, M. Kristensen, A. Astrup, 30 May 2012 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  45. “Structural Biochemistry/Carbohydrates/Polysaccharides” – Wiki Books Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [Wiki Books] [Archive] ↩︎
  46. “The role of seaweed bioactives in the control of digestion: implications for obesity treatments” – P. Chater, M. Wilcox, D. Houghton, J. Pearson, Last checked 26 February 2024 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  47. “lipase” – Britannica Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [Britannica] [Archive] ↩︎
  48. “Alpha Glucosidase” – Science Direct Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [Science Direct] [Archive] ↩︎
  49. “Chapter 11 – Complications and Management of Chronic Kidney Disease: Diabetes” – K. Tuttle, 27 December 2010 [Science Direct] [Archive] ↩︎
  50. “Phenolic-rich extracts from the edible seaweed, ascophyllum nodosum, inhibit α-amylase and α-glucosidase: Potential anti-hyperglycemic effect” – N. Pantidos, A. Boath, V. Lund, S. Conner, G. McDougall, 5 July 2014 [Science Direct] [Archive] ↩︎
  51. “Adiponectin: A Fat Cell Hormone That Promotes Insulin Sensitivity” – A. Balasubramanyam, Last checked 26 February 2024 [Medscape] [Archive] ↩︎
  52. “Relationships Between Plasma Adiponectin and Body Fat Distribution, Insulin Sensitivity, and Plasma Lipoproteins in Alaskan Yup’ik Eskimos: The CANHR Study” – A. Goropashnaya, J. Herron, M. Sexton, P. Havel, K. Stanhope, R. Plaetke, G. Mohatt, B. Boyer, 1 January 2010 [PubMed Central] [Archive] ↩︎
  53. “Potential Bioactive Compounds from Seaweed for Diabetes Management” – Y. Sharifuddin, Y. Chin, P. Lim, S. Phang, 21 August 2015 [PubMed Central] [Archive] ↩︎
  54. “Alaskan seaweeds lower inflammation in RAW 264.7 macrophages and decrease lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes” – J. Kellogg, D. Esposito, M. Grace, S. Komarnytsky, M. Lila, 14 April 2015 [Science Direct] [Archive] ↩︎
  55. “Seaweed supplement may aid weight loss: study” – N. Sheriff, 14 June 2012 [Reuters] [Archive] ↩︎
  56. “Dietary seaweeds and obesity” – K. Lange, J. Hauser, Y. Nakamura, S. Kanaya, 20 October 2015 [Science Direct] [Archive] ↩︎
  57. “The Effect of an Alginate Based Beverage on Weight Loss (ALGOBES)” – Clinical Trials Staff, 1 November 2010 [Clinical Trials] [Archive] ↩︎
  58. “What is maltodextrin and is it safe?” – J. Silva, 11 July 2018 [Medical News Today] [Archive] ↩︎
  59. Ascophyllum nodosum enriched bread reduces subsequent energy intake with no effect on post-prandial glucose and cholesterol in healthy, overweight males. A pilot study” – A.Hall, A. Fairclough, K. Mahadevan, J. Paxman, 7 November 2011 [Science Direct] [Archive] ↩︎
  60. “Mechanism linking diabetes mellitus and obesity” – A. Al-Goblan, M. Al-Alfi, M. Khan, 4 December 2014 [PubMed Central] [Archive] ↩︎
  61. “Therapeutic Potential of Seaweed Polysaccharides for Diabetes Mellitus” – A. Husni, 5 November 2018 [IntecthOpen] [Archive] ↩︎
  62. “Anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effects of fucoxanthin on diet-induced obesity conditions in a murine model” – H. Maeda, M. Hosokawa, T. Sashima, K. Funayama, K. Miyashita, Last checked 26 February 2024 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  63. “Fermentation of seaweed sugars by Lactobacillus species and the potential of seaweed as a biomass feedstock” – H. Hwang, S. Lee, S. Kim , Sun Bok Lee, 3 December 2011 [Springer Link] [Archive] ↩︎
  64. “Dietary fibre from edible seaweeds: Chemical structure, physicochemical properties and effects on cholesterol metabolism” – A. Escrig, F. Muniz, 22 June 2000 [Science Direct] [Archive] ↩︎
  65. “Seaweed supplements normalise metabolic, cardiovascular and liver responses in high-carbohydrate, high-fat fed rats” – S. Kumar, M., L.Ward, N.Paul, L. Brown, 2 February 2015 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  66. “Effects of dietary fucoxanthin on cholesterol metabolism in diabetic/obese KK-Ay mice” – F. Beppu, M. Hosokawa, Y. Niwano, K. Miyashita, 10 September 2012 [BMC] [Archive] ↩︎
  67. “What Are Probiotics?” – C. Mikstas, 1 April 2022 [WebMD] [Archive] ↩︎
  68. “What is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics?” – D. Westphalen, 29 October 2018 [Medical News Today] [Archive] ↩︎
  69. “Prebiotic evaluation of red seaweed (Kappaphycus alvarezii) using in vitro colon model” – D. Marshitah Bajury, M. Rawi, I. Sazali, A. Abdullah, S. Sarbini, 10 April 2017 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  70. “Prebiotic effects of diet supplemented with the cultivated red seaweed Chondrus crispus or with fructo-oligo-saccharide on host immunity, colonic microbiota and gut microbial metabolites” – J. Liu, S. Kandasamy, J. Zhang, C. Kirby, T. Karakach, J. Hafting, A. Critchley, F. Evans, B. Prithiviraj, 14 August 2015 [PubMed] [Archive] ↩︎
  71. “Dietary fibre and physicochemical properties of edible Spanish seaweeds” – P. Rupérez, 
    F. Calixto, 21 February 2001 [Springer Link] [Archive] ↩︎
  72. “Food Contaminants” – Center for Food Safety Staff, Last checked 26 February 2024 [Center for Food Safety] [Archive] ↩︎

Last Updated on 3 months by D&C Editorial Team

2 thoughts on “Fucoxanthin; Is Seaweed Good For Losing Weight?”

  1. Hi, your information is very inspired by me and your information about weight loss is very impressive and so much helpful for me. Keep it up and Thank you very much.:)

Comments are closed.


About the Author

Matthew has been on an active journey towards living a healthy life from a young age. Influenced by his Grandmother, a practicing Naturopath who served her community from the 1940's to the 1980's, his views on living holistically were shaped from a young age. Growing up in different parts of Australia, his connection with the Ocean and a passion for sustainability comes through in everything he does and shares.

"I'm not a Doctor, and I don't play one on the Internet." - me

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00