The INDIVIDUALIST

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Pharmacology

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Folklore

The recorded use of Fucus vesiculosus, also called "bladderwrack" or "sea wrack" dates back to at least the time period of the Eclectic Physicians of the 19th century. Historically these physicians used this seaweed for goiter (swelling of the tissue or cells of the thyroid) and for obesity. Published commentary by a turn of the century physician (Dr. J. Herbert Knapp) indicated that he had found this plant to be a specific remedy for both exophthalmic and uncomplicated goiter. In his experience bladderwrack worked best in individuals under age 30, a population for which he claimed a 100% success rate, and was less dependable for normalizing thyroid function in people beyond this age.

http://www.dadamo.com/wiki/fucus.jpg

Fucus vesiculosis.

Pharmacology

Fucus vesiculosus contains a wide spectrum of polysaccharides including fucoidans(1,2) and fucans (3). In general, fucoidans are a family of high molecular weight sulfated polysaccharides, widely dispersed in the cell walls of brown seaweed. The core region (or backbone) of fucoidan is composed primarily of a repeating chain of fucose sugars. Fucose is also attached at branch points. Thus bladderwrack is a rich food source of fucose.

Similar to most plants grown in the ocean, this plant is also very high in iodine and other trace minerals.

Anti-adhesion

One of the emerging fields of research with regards to microorganisms (and lectins) centers about an idea of adherence and anti-adherence. (4) Because of the high concentration of fucose, Fucus vesiculosis qualifies as an anti-adhesion therapy in particular for group O and ABH secretor individuals.

Anti-metastatic and anti-tumor activity

Bladderwrack, because of its fucose content, is a potent inhibitor of tumor cell invasion, with modest anti-tumor activity. (5,6,7,8))

Anti-microbial activity

The Fucoidan found in bladderwrack inhibits the growth of many unfriendly bacteria and viruses.(9) Some of the viruses this compound is antagonistic to include herpes simplex virus, human cytomegalovirus, and human immunodeficiency virus. Bladderwrack has been found to agglutinate the cells of several strains of Candida (10). Bladderwrack also has a toxic effect on some strains of E. coli and all strains tested of Neisseria meningitidis.(11)

The complex sugar structures and other compounds found in bladderwrack have anti-HIV activity. (12,13,14) Researchers have suggested that, since adhesion is the initial step in HIV infection, blocking adhesion might prevent HIV-1 transmission. In vitro evidence supports this suggestion with the complex fucose structures found in bladderwrack showing a capability to block HIV adhesion to cells. (15,16) These same blocking strategies with fucose sugars have also been used in studies of malaria to prevent its spread to additional red blood cells. Fucose sugars inhibit invasion of red blood cells by the malaria parasite. (17,18,19)

L-fucose is a least partically responsible for the attachment of Helicobacter pylori to gastric mucins. (20)

Immunomodulating activity and anti-inflammatory Activity

The fucose sugars in bladderwrack can beneficially impact immune system health by stimulating immunoreactions of the humoral and cellular types, and by enhancing the phagocytosis (or consumption of invaders) by your macrophages. Essentially they block the recruitment or inhibit an overly aggressive inflammatory immune response at sites of inflammation.

Fucoidans bind selectins which apparently enhances eosinophil recruitment. (21)

Metabolism and thyroid function

The historical uses of Fucus vesiculosus were primarily as an agent to enhance thyroid function in cases of goiter and as an aid in weight loss for obesity. This remains the primary use of this plant today in natural medicine. (22,23,24)

Links

References


1. Nishino T, Nishioka C, Ura H, Nagumo T. Isolation and partial characterization of a novel amino sugar-containing fucan sulfate from commercial Fucus vesiculosus fucoidan. Carbohydr Res 1994;255:213-224.

2. Patankar MS, Oehninger S, Barnett T, et al. A revised structure for fucoidan may explain some of its biological activities. J Biol Chem 1993;268:21770-21776.

3. Nishino T, Nishioka C, Ura H, Nagumo T. Isolation and partial characterization of a novel amino sugar-containing fucan sulfate from commercial Fucus vesiculosus fucoidan. Carbohydr Res 1994;255:213-224.

4. Roberts DD, Ginsburg V. Sulfated glycolipids and cell adhesion. Arch Biochem Biophys 1988;267:405-415

5. Zapopozhets TS, Besednova NN, Loenko IuN. Antibacterial and immunomodulating activity of fucoidan. Antibiot Khimioter 1995;40:9-13.

6. Soeda S, Ishida S, Shimeno H, Nagamatsu A. Inhibitory effect of oversulfated fucoidan on invasion through reconstituted basement membrane by murine Lewis lung carcinoma. Jpn J Cancer Res 1994;85:1144-1150

7. Zhuang C, Itoh H, Mizuno T, Ito H. Antitumor active fucoidan from the brown seaweed, umitoranoo (Sargassum thunbergii). Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1995;59:563-567.

8. Zhuang C, Itoh H, Mizuno T, Ito H. Antitumor active fucoidan from the brown seaweed, umitoranoo (Sargassum thunbergii). Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1995;59:563-567.

9. Baba M, Snoeck R, Pauwels R, de Clercq E. Sulfated polysaccharides are potent and selective inhibitors of various enveloped viruses, including herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, vesicular stomatitis virus, and human immunodeficiency virus. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1988;32:1742-1745

10. Criado MT, Ferreiros CM. Selective interaction of a Fucus vesiculosus lectin-like mucopolysaccharide with several Candida species. Ann Microbiol (Paris) 1983;134A:149-154

11. Criado MT, Ferreiros CM. Toxicity of an algal mucopolysaccharide for [[E. Coli Infection and ABO Blood Groups |Escherichia coli]] and Neisseria meningitidis strains. Rev Esp Fisiol 1984;40:227-230

12. Lynch G, Low L, Li S, et al. Sulfated polyanions prevent HIV infection of lymphocytes by disruption of the CD4-gp120 interaction, but do not inhibit monocyte infection. J Leukoc Biol 1994;56:266-272.

13. Beress A, Wassermann O, Tahhan S, et al. A new procedure for the isolation of anti-HIV compounds (polysaccharides and polyphenols) from the marine alga Fucus vesiculosus. J Nat Prod 1993;56:478-488. [published erratum appears in J Nat Prod 1996 May;59(5):552]

14. Pearce-Pratt R, Phillips DM. Sulfated polysaccharides inhibit lymphocyte-to-epithelial transmission of human immunodeficiency virus-1. Biol Reprod 1996;54:173-182.

15. Zapopozhets TS, Besednova NN, Loenko IuN. Antibacterial and immunomodulating activity of fucoidan. Antibiot Khimioter 1995;40:9-13.

16. Itoh H, Noda H, Amano H, et al. Antitumor activity and immunological properties of marine algal polysaccharides, especially fucoidan, prepared from Sargassum thunbergii of Phaeophyceae. Anticancer Res 1993;13:2045-2052

17. Rowe A, Berendt AR, Marsh K, Newbold CI. Plasmodium falciparum: a family of sulphated glycoconjugates disrupts erythrocyte rosettes. Exp Parasitol 1994;79:506-516.

18. Clark DL, Su S, Davidson EA. Saccharide anions as inhibitors of the malaria parasite. Glycoconj J 1997;14:473-479.

19. Granert C, Raud J, Xie X, et al. Inhibition of leukocyte rolling with polysaccharide fucoidin prevents pleocytosis in experimental meningitis in the rabbit. J Clin Invest 1994;93:929-936.

20. Boren T, Falk P, Roth KA, et al. Attachment of Helicobacter pylori to human gastric epithelium mediated by blood group antigens. Science 1993;262:1892-1895. ,{{Stromqvist M, Falk P, Bergstrom S, et al. Human milk kappa-casein and inhibition of Helicobacter pylori adhesion to human gastric mucosa. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1995;21:288-296.

21. Teixeira MM, Hellewell PG. The effect of the selectin binding polysaccharide fucoidin on eosinophil recruitment in vivo. Br J Pharmacol 1997;120:1059-1066

22. Magner JA, Kane J, Chou ET. Intravenous thyrotropin (TSH)-releasing hormone releases human TSH that is structurally different from basal TSH. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1992;74:1306-1311.

23. Overton K, Serif GS. Synthesis of L-fucose in thyroid tissue. Biochim Biophys Acta 1981;675:281-284.

24. Hotta T, Ishii I, Ishihara H, et al. Comparative study of the oligosaccharides of human thyroglobulins obtained from normal subjects and patients with various diseases. J Appl Biochem 1985;7:98-103.

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