Fucoidan Vs Fucoxanthin Vs Forskolin: Which one is the better natural weight loss ingredient? Do they have other health benefits? How do they work? What are the side effects?
When it comes to weight loss supplements, there are plenty to choose from. Not everyone has the time, money and sometimes willpower to go to the gym, while maintaining a healthy diet is almost impossible due to modern lifestyle. This is why more and more people start taking dietary supplements. However, with so many weight loss ingredients, how do you choose the best one? Three popular and natural ingredients in these diet pills can produce a lot of confusion among weight loss enthusiasts due to their similar names: Fucoidan, Fucoxanthin and Forskolin. In this article, we will explain what each one of them does, what are their benefits, what they do for weight loss and what are the side effects for Fucoidan, Fucoxanthin and Forskolin.
Fucoidan is a natural compound found in different species of brown seaweed and brown algae, including mozuku, bladderwrack, kombu or wakame. Being a polysaccharide, it has a repeating structure of various sugars, sugar acids and sulfur-containing groups.
Fucoidan boosts overall health and well-being and may be one of the reasons why Japanese people live longer and have lower incidences of most chronic diseases when compared to Westerners.
In recent times, after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, brown seaweed in the Pacific Ocean has become contaminated due to the radiation fallout. It is believed this situation will go on for decades to come, this is why it’s recommended you only get Fucoidan that comes from the Atlantic Ocean.
Fucoidan can reduce the ability of cancerous cells to migrate throughout the body and can even kill cancerous cells.
Besides fighting cancer and inflammatory diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, IBD), Fucoidan can also lower bad cholesterol (LDL), increase good cholesterol (HDL), regulate insulin and reduce fat.
This compound can reduce the amount of visceral fat in the body, with some testing on animals proving there is a link between brown seaweed and weight loss.
Researchers also discovered that Fucoidan can protect against age-related macular degradation by reducing blood vessel growth when cells aren’t getting enough oxygen. Fucoidan can boost the immune system by enhancing antioxidant enzymes and can help with stem cell health and tissue repair.
Fucoidan has been shown to slow blood clotting, with laboratory studies showing it has antiviral, immune modulating and neuroprotective properties, besides preventing the growth of cancer cells.
More studies are needed, especially human ones, in order to determine if these anticancer properties hold up, but also to learn all the benefits of Fucoidan. One human study revealed Fucoidan may allow longer sessions of chemotherapy.
Fucoidan for Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, Fucoidan has the ability of inhibiting the formation of specific lipids (fat and cholesterol) in the body, but can also trigger lipolysis. This is the process through which the body breaks down and burns fats in fatty tissues and free fatty acids are released into the bloodstream to be used as energy.
Fucoidan has been shown to reduce the accumulation of triglycerides, keeping their levels low. Triglycerides are lipids that have been linked to stroke and heart disease if their levels build up within the bloodstream. Fucoidan also inhibits insulin-induced uptake of glucose, which further prevents the buildup of lipids in the bloodstream.
In one study, Fucoidan was shown to inhibit lipid accumulation through lipolysis by 52.2%
Fucoidan Side Effects
Since it has anti-clotting properties, Fucoidan may interact with anticoagulant medications (blood thinning drugs) such as warfarin and heparin, and may increase your risk of bleeding.
When taken as a supplement, it may cause diarrhea or bloating, since it’s a dietary fiber. However, these symptoms should stop if you discontinue the use of Fucoidan.
Fucoxanthin is a carotenoid (pigments with antioxidant properties) found in brown seaweed that structurally resembles Vitamin A and beta-carotene. However, Fucoxanthin doesn’t serve as a vitamin, but mainly works as a fat burner. It is extracted from the same seaweeds that contain Fucoidan and comes with multiple health benefits.
You can add Fucoxanthin into your died by consuming wakame or hijiki soups, salads and stir-fries. However, make sure you don’t consume too much, as these seaweeds are high in iodine and may interfere with your thyroid gland. This is why it’s best you consume it in supplement form.
Fucoxanthin has many health benefits, including helping in the prevention of stroke, heart disease and cancer. It also works to lower or help maintain healthy levels of blood sugar and insulin in those who suffer with type 2 diabetes. Fucoxanthin is also touted as a natural remedy for high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and obesity.
What’s more preliminary research suggests Fucoxanthin promotes the healthy functioning of the brain, liver, bones, blood vessels, skin and eyes. This carotenoid may also reduce inflammation and can help control cholesterol by lowering bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and increasing the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
An animal study from 2009 shows Fucoxanthin may help in the management of diabetes, demonstrating it helped regulate blood sugar and treating insulin resistance.
Another animal study concluded that Fucoxanthin might prevent and treat lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. The study added that more clinical trials should be conducted, but Fucoxanthin was proven to have no side effects.
Fucoxanthin for Weight Loss
Fucoxanthin is mainly used as a weight loss supplement because it can help with both types of fat cells: white and brown. White fat cells store fat, while brown fat works to burn energy instead of stocking it.
What’s especially great about Fucoxanthin is that it can help you burn more visceral fat, which is that stubborn type of fat around your midsection that surrounds the organs. Not only does this fat pose a real health concern, but it is also the hardest type of fat to lose, and any help is welcome.
One 2010 human study wanted to observe the effects of Fucoxanthin + pomegranate seed oil on obese premenopausal women with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and normal liver fat. More specifically, what Fucoxanthin does to body weight, body fat, liver lipids and blood chemistry. The study concluded that this mixture containing Fucoxanthin promoted weight loss, reduced body and liver fat content and improved liver function, touting it as a promising food supplement to manage obesity.
Fucoxanthin Side Effects
As we’ve mentioned before, Fucoxanthin is extracted from brown seaweed, which is high in iodine and may interfere with your thyroid function if you consume high quantities. However, if you take a supplement and check your dosage, you should be fine.
Forskolin is extracted from a perennial herb called Coleus forskohlii (or Plectranthus barbatus), which is part of the mint genus. It has a long history of use in the subtropical regions of Africa and Asia and commonly used in Ayurveda medicine to treat heart disorders, chest pain, high blood pressure, lung and urinary problems, but also digestive disorders.
Forskolin is the active compound in Coleus forskohlii, and it has become an increasingly popular ingredient in weight loss supplements. Forskolin has the ability of triggering certain enzymes in the body that promote a leaner, slimmer physique.
Forskolin not only works for weight loss, but it can also be used for multiple other health conditions. When taken by mouth, Forskolin works to treat: allergies, skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis), IBS, urinary tract infections, rheumatism, infections, neck stiffness, bladder infections, menstrual problems, seizures, insomnia, sexual problems in men, convulsions and blood clots.
Forskolin is also used in the treatment of heart, blood and circulation conditions. More specifically, Forskolin works in the walls of blood vessels and on muscles in the heart. It widens those blood vessels, thus producing a more powerful heartbeat that works to lower blood pressure.
In one study from India, Coleus forskohlii was shown to reduce blood pressure in more than 75% of the tested patients.
Some studies show that administering Forskolin by IV to those suffering with congestive cardiomyopathy may improve heart function. Other studies show inhaling Coleus forskohlii can improve asthma symptoms.
When compared to beclomethasone treatment, Forskolin was shown to be very similar, with “no statistically significant difference”, and regarded as a natural and safe treatment option for asthma sufferers.
A 2011 study from the University of Madrid revealed that Forskolin activates anti-tumor enzymes that effect rectal cancer tumors and stop their growth. Another study, this time done on rats, in 2014, showed Forskolin is effective for lowering blood sugar levels, decreasing fasting blood glucose levels.
There is also some research that Forskolin works to treat erectile dysfunction. Forskolin has not been tested on patients with glaucoma, but it can significantly reduce eye pressure in healthy people without eye disease.
>>> Read our article on how to choose the best Forskolin supplement
Forskolin for Weight Loss
As a weight loss supplement, Forskolin works to break down fat stores, prevent new fat stores from appearing, increase metabolic rate, burn stubborn abdominal fat and build lean muscle mass.
Forskolin helps you lose weight thanks to its ability to increase the levels of cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate). cAMP is a second messenger that has a role in important body processes. These second messengers help body cells to understand messages from first messengers (such as serotonin). This activation of cAMP regulates blood glucose and fat metabolism levels. cAMP triggers certain enzymes and hormones that work to boost metabolism and burn fat, melting existing fat and preventing the body from storing additional fat. It can also activate protein kinase to break down triglycerides (fatty tissues) improving overall health.
A randomized, double-blind 2005 study observed the effects of Forskolin on body composition, metabolic rate, testosterone and blood pressure in overweight and obese individuals. After 12 weeks, Forskolin was shown to significantly decrease body fat percentage, fat mass, increase lean body mass, increase serum free testosterone levels and slightly increase testosterone. This study used a 10% Forskolin concentration for a period of 12 weeks, but there are other supplements that contain 20% pure Forskolin extract.
In a 2011 placebo-controlled study, Forskolin was shown to stimulate glycerol release and, along with other ingredients (such as carnitine and caffeine), managed to significantly reduce the circumference of abdomen, hips-buttocks and waist after a period of 12 weeks. It also decreased orange peel and cellulite after four weeks to confirm it also has skin benefits.
Forskolin Side Effects
Forskolin can trigger flushing and low blood pressure (although not considered an adverse effect) when taken through an IV, respiratory irritation or restlessness when inhaled and mild headaches. People taking blood thinning drugs, those with high blood pressure and patients taking beta-blockers should avoid Forskolin. Also, if you have polycystic kidney disease, you should stay clear of Forskolin.
When taking Forskolin orally, it may cause diarrhea to the increased levels of cAMP (because it speed your digestive system).
Bottom Line: Fucoidan Vs Fucoxanthin Vs Forskolin
While it’s hard to compare them as natural weight loss ingredients, we can probably pick a winner out of the bunch. If we were to choose the better slimming ingredient, we would go with Forskolin, because it is proven to be effective and a more popular choice.
Having said that, for overall health, all three of Fucoidan, Fucoxanthin and Forskolin offer great benefits that promote wellbeing. While all of them have some form of anti-cancer properties or are used in cancer treatment and improve blood health, they all have amazing properties and can be used for various conditions. So, while Forskolin may be our choice for the better weight loss ingredient, all three supplements come with great additional health benefits. Plus, they’re all natural.