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What’s the best way to treat cancer? Surgery? Chemotherapy? Immunotherapy? Though the treatment always depends on the type of cancer, many conventional therapies are known to take a physical toll on the body. In the hopes of providing patients with milder treatments, the medical and scientific communities are exploring alternative therapy to this disease.

As a result, more people are looking to alternative therapeutics for answers and asking a vital question: is fucoidan good for cancer? Let’s take a look at the past, present, and future of using fucoidan and other organic compounds from seaweed against cancer, providing extra support to traditional cancer treatments.

Traditional Medicine and Past Scientific Study

For hundreds of years, coastal communities have trusted the health benefits of seaweed in their approach to cancer treatment. Brown seaweed has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for generations and has long been recognized for its ability to reduce swelling, liver cirrhosis, and tumors.

Closer to modern day, it’s been explored as a cancer treatment in Western medicine. Studies in Italy and Japan have investigated the medicinal properties of organic compounds from seaweed, reviewing its potential for appetite renewal and hair growth after chemotherapy and its effectiveness as an antitumor treatment.

Modern Breakthroughs

Recent studies are reviving the search into whether specific organic compounds within seaweed function as anticancer agents. Though a seaweed supplement might contribute to general health, it’s the bioactive compounds that interest researchers most.

In a study of a variety of seaweed species, researchers found that fucoidan extracted from brown seaweeds had a positive impact against colorectal and breast cancers. In both in vivo and in vitro studies, fucoidan prompted HT-29 colon cancer cells to grow slowly and even induce apoptosis, in which these cells die rather than reproduce.

Additionally, a study conducted in the EU finds that fucoxanthin, a carotenoid pigment found in brown seaweed, has some effectiveness inhibiting cancer cell growth. Treatment in this study was geared toward helping people deal with malignant brain tumors and showed that this organic compound not only hindered cancer cell growth, but also improved the effectiveness of traditional treatments.

In all of these instances, there is still extensive research that needs to be done, but the promise of seaweed as an extract is exciting. Rather than thinking of seaweed as a replacement for traditional treatment, it’s best seen as a way to alleviate the pain and struggle for cancer patients, providing more hopeful options in the fight against this condition. 

If you’re moving on from questions like “Is fucoidan good for cancer?” to “Is fucoidan good for my products?” we can help. Reach out to our team for information on the uses of seaweed in pharmaceuticals.  


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