What is Fucus vesiculosus?
Fucus vesiculosus is a northern hemisphere algal species found in intertidal zones, commonly known as “bladderwrack”. It is one of the marine algae that has been used historically as an herbal medicine to address a variety of complaints, including sore joints, obesity, and fatigue.
It is considered edible and is consumed as a medicinal food, but ingestion must be limited to ensure a safe level of iodine intake.
Fucus vesiculosus, in common with other brown macroalgae, contains high levels of polysaccharides, including the gelling type (alginates) and the nongelling, sulfated, fucose-rich “fucoidan.”
Fucoidan as an isolated component is used as an ingredient in nutraceuticals, particularly in Asia, where it is considered to be an immune support taken during illness and concomitant with conventional therapies.
Fucoidan has been shown to be effective at reducing fatigue associated with chemotherapy.
They are potent antiviral agents that modulate immune responses, attenuate inflammation, and have some anticancer effects in vitro and in animal models.
Osteoarthritis: symptoms and risk factors
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common, slowly progressive joint condition that causes significant disability in the adult population. The prevalence of the condition increases with age, with established risk factors including obesity, local trauma, and occupation.
Severe radiographic changes of knee OA are found in 1% of adults of 25–34 years of age and increase to ∼50% in adults aged 75 years and older. OA of the hips and knees results in the greatest burden to the adult population. The pain and stiffness in these large weight-bearing joints often cause significant disability, leading to the inability to undertake the normal activities of daily life, and in severe cases, require joint replacement surgery.
Medical Study: randomized study
In the trial, a randomized study using either 100 mg or 1,000 mg of a fucoidan-rich seaweed extract blend was carried out on subjects with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. The main component of the extract was 85% F. vesiculosus fucoidan. The trial participants were assessed using the Comprehensive Osteoarthritis Test (COAT) assessment instrument over a 12-week trial. The trial had a high level of compliance (>95%), and the preparation was proven safe to use.
The participants showed a 52% improvement in COAT scores at a dose of 1,000 mg of fucoidan and 18% on a dose of 100 mg. The 1,000 mg dose delivered an effect comparable to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.