Brown seaweed could hold the key for diabetes and obesity, new report claims – Fishupdate.com

Brown seaweed could hold the key for diabetes and obesity, new report claims Published:  18 September, 2006

ACCORDING to Reuters, studies carried out in America have revealed that properties found in brown seaweed – Undaria Pinnatifida – may prove key in the creation of a range of ‘preventative agents’. Diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and prostate cancer, could potentially be treated with the ‘carotenoid fucoxanthin’ compound present in the seaweed.

Dr Kazuo Miyashita, from the Hokkaido University, told listeners at the 232nd American Chemical Society National Meeting, San Francisco, that fucoxanthin, an antioxidant, had reportedly positively affected mice and rats in a number of experiments. For example, ‘strong anti-diabetes effects’ have been visible, where the compound encourages the synthesis of DHA – an omega-3 fatty acid present in fatty fish – in the liver.

Perhaps more topically, however, fucoxanthin aids in the function of UCP1, which is a fat-burning protein that settles around internal organs. From the studies, it is believed that ‘fucoxanthin-induced expression of UCP1 in fat tissue fuels the oxidation of fatty acids and production of heat energy in fat tissue mitochondria. Mitochondria, found in every cell, converts sugar and fatty acids into energy and play a key role in regulating metabolism.’ In layman’s terms, therefore, the seaweed, which is a type of kelp called Wakame, has been found to reduce fat tissue in rats and obese mice. However, Miyashita suggests that it will be some time – between three and five years – before a fucoxanthin pill will be potentially available. Until this time he has advised against eating large amounts of the seaweed, stating that it would be unrealistic to be able to eat enough to register any benefit.

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