Fucoxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family, and is found naturally in some types of seaweed, such as wakame. Like most carotenoids, fucoxanthin is an antioxidant.1, 2 Animal studies by one group of researchers suggest that fucoxanthin might prevent the growth of fat tissue and reduce abdominal fat.3, 4, 5 However, no studies have been done to see if this effect is achievable in humans. Anti-cancer properties of fucoxanthin have also been identified in test tube studies,6, 7, 8 and anti-inflammatory effects have been shown in test tube and animal research.9 Whether any of these potential health effects could help humans is uncertain, because fucoxanthin present in seaweed was shown to be absorbed quite poorly from the human digestive tract in one study.10More research is needed to understand the value, if any, of fucoxanthin as a food nutrient or a dietary supplement.
What Are Star Ratings?

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
2 Stars
Seaweed extract in an amount providing 2.4 to 3.0 mg of fucoxanthin per day
Fucoxanthin, an antioxidant found naturally in some types of seaweed, might prevent the growth of fat tissue and reduce abdominal fat.
Fucoxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family, and is found naturally in some types of seaweed, such as wakame. Laboratory studies suggest fucoxanthin reduces inflammation and oxidative stress and may inhibit dietary fat absorption by inhibiting fat-digesting enzymes known as lipases. It also appears to improve lipid metabolism and increase fat burning. In a placebo-controlled trial, 151 premenopausal non-diabetic women with obesity took either a supplement providing 300 mg of seaweed extract (providing 2.4 mg of fucoxanthin) plus 200 mg of pomegranate oil, or placebo daily for 16 weeks; those taking the supplement had greater reductions in body weight, body fat, liver fat, waist circumference, triglyceride levels, and levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein. The same supplement, taken in in amount providing 3 mg of fucoxanthin per day, was reported to change the character of adipose tissue in two subjects to a type associated with increased heat production and energy expenditure.

How It Works

How to Use It

No human research has been done to determine an effective amount of fucoxanthin to take.

Where to Find It

Fucoxanthin is found naturally in wakame and other types of brown seaweed, and is available in purified form as a dietary supplement.

Possible Deficiencies

There is no human requirement for fucoxanthin.


Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Side Effects

At the time of writing, there were no well-known side effects caused by this supplement.


1. Yan X, Chuda Y, Suzuki M, Nagata T. Fucoxanthin as the major antioxidant in Hijikia fusiformis, a common edible seaweed. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1999;63:605-7.

2. Sachindra NM, Sato E, Maeda H, et al. Radical scavenging and singlet oxygen quenching activity of marine carotenoid fucoxanthin and its metabolites. J Agric Food Chem 2007;55:8516-22.

3. Maeda H, Hosokawa M, Sashima T, et al. Effect of medium-chain triacylglycerols on anti-obesity effect of fucoxanthin. J Oleo Sci 2007;56:615-21.

4. Maeda H, Hosokawa M, Sashima T, Miyashita K. Dietary combination of fucoxanthin and fish oil attenuates the weight gain of white adipose tissue and decreases blood glucose in obese/diabetic KK-Ay mice. J Agric Food Chem 2007;55:7701-6.

5. Maeda H, Hosokawa M, Sashima T, et al. Fucoxanthin from edible seaweed, Undaria pinnatifida, shows antiobesity effect through UCP1 expression in white adipose tissues. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2005;332:392-7.

6. Yoshiko S, Hoyoku N. Fucoxanthin, a natural carotenoid, induces G1 arrest and GADD45 gene expression in human cancer cells. In Vivo 2007;21:305-9.

7. Sugawara T, Matsubara K, Akagi R, et al. Antiangiogenic activity of brown algae fucoxanthin and its deacetylated product, fucoxanthinol. J Agric Food Chem 2006;54:9805-10.

8. Nishino H, Murakosh M, Ii T, et al. Carotenoids in cancer chemoprevention. Cancer Metastasis Rev 2002;21:257-64 [review].

9. Shiratori K, Ohgami K, Ilieva I, et al. Effects of fucoxanthin on lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation in vitro and in vivo. Exp Eye Res 2005;81:422-8.

10. Asai A, Yonekura L, Nagao A. Low bioavailability of dietary epoxyxanthophylls in humans. Br J Nutr 2008 Jan 11;:1-5 [Epub ahead of print].

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