Study Finds Fucus vesiculosus Seaweed Effectively Treats Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Animals

Fucus vesiculosusNew research from the University of Tasmania Faculty of Health has shown that oral intake of fucoidan sourced from the Fucus vesiculosus species of seaweed significantly reduced symptoms of inflammatory bowel (IBS) in animal models.
The study was conducted using mice suffering from colitis, which is a disease that causes the inner lining of the colon to be inflamed, causing weight loss and bowel issues.

Professor Nuri Guven, Associate Professor of the University said, “We fed these extracts to animals that have an inflamed colon and we were actually quite surprised to see to what extent these extracts were able to normalise the pathology in these animals.” Professor Guven went on to say, “We observed that not only were the symptoms in these diseases significantly reduced, we also observed that a large number of bio-markers were normalised.” Professor Guven noted that he was surprised to see how effective fucoidans were.

The study found that colon tissue in the fucoidan treated mice demonstrated decreased production of 15 pro-inflammatory cytokines, reducing the inflammatory pathology of acute colitis. The study also showed a 50 per cent reduction in undesirable weight loss.
The administration of oral fucoidan improved bodyweight and stool consistency, and resulted in significant reduction in intestinal inflammation. This study is the first to demonstrate the highly effective results of orally administered fucoidan sourced from Fucus vesiculosus to treat colitis and reduce inflammation.

The results of the study led Professor Guven to say, “These biomarkers then allow us to hopefully translate our findings from pre-clinical models to human patients, since current treatments for ulcerative colitis are associated with adverse effects” he said. “Overall, it’s a very exciting start.”

The study can be seen at the following link::

Lean QY, Eri RD, Fitton JH, Patel RP, Gueven N (2015) Fucoidan Extracts Ameliorate Acute Colitis. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0128453. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0128453