In the latest advance in gut health, scientists have uncovered new evidence supporting the powerful effects of a natural seaweed extract in reducing gut inflammation
New research has found that Maritech fucoidan – a bioactive compound extracted from seaweed – significantly inhibited the production of key pro-inflammatory biomarkers that are clinically relevant in acute and chronic gut conditions.
When tested in ex-vivo human blood and compared with controls, results showed that fucoidan inhibited the release of three inflammatory mediators: TNF-alpha, IL-ß and IL-6.
TNF-alpha and IL-ß are drivers of major inflammatory processes. Prolonged and raised levels are linked to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which affects 10 million people worldwide and includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Blocking these chemical messengers can result in a rapid and sustained reduction in disease severity. Maritech fucoidan was found to reduce TNF-alpha levels by more than 70% and IL-ß by more than 54%.
The pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6 also plays a central role in uncontrolled intestinal inflammation. It can alter the balance between pro-inflammatory and immunosuppressive immune cells, and has been associated with IBD and colon cancer.
In the study, Maritech fucoidan inhibited the production of IL-6 by more than 43%.
Maritech fucoidan ingredients are extracted from wild Undaria pinnatifida and Fucus vesiculosus macroalgae by Australian biotechnology company Marinova.
Dr Helen Fitton, Chief Scientist at Marinova, commented on the significance of the research: “It’s truly exciting that a naturally derived marine ingredient has demonstrated such profound anti-inflammatory benefits with great potential to improve gut and digestive health.”
“Fucoidan has long been valued for its ability to address both local and systemic inflammation. This activity is ascribed to its biological role in protecting the seaweed plant from inflammation, caused by UV light and pathogens.”
The study is a further advance in Marinova’s gut and digestive health research programme. It builds on a series of in vitro and animal models, in which Maritech fucoidan inhibited key inflammatory enzymes expressed in the gastrointestinal tract and reduced the clinical symptoms and pathology of ulcerative colitis.
To consolidate this comprehensive suite of research backing Maritech fucoidan in gut and digestive health, the company is set to commence a human clinical trial targeting the gut microbiome.