Profiles And Bioavailability Of Fucoxanthin

Fucoxanthin (Fig. 9.1) is one of the most abundant carotenoids contributing around 10% estimated total production of carotenoids in nature (Matsuno, 2001). It has a unique structure including an unusual allenic bond and a 5,6-monoepoxide in its molecule. For different brown algal strains, the compositions and profile of fucoxanthin were found to be different. Tsukui et al. reported that Sargassum horneri had a remarkably higher level of fucoxanthin content (3.7 mg/g) in comparison with other

FIGURE 9.1 Chemical structures of fucoxanthin derived from marine brown algae.

FIGURE 9.1 Chemical structures of fucoxanthin derived from marine brown algae.

Sargassum species tested in their study (Tsukui et al., 2009). Moreover, fucoxanthin was reported as the major carotenoid in Hizikia fusiformis (Yan et al., 1999). In addition, Kanazawa et al. reported high fucoxanthin level in two edible marine algae species, Laminaria japonica and Undaria pinnatifida (Kanazawa et al., 2008). Fucoxanthin is widely available in various species of marine brown algae; hence, more and more fucoxan-thin has been investigated in recent years for applications in foods, nutra-ceutical pharmaceutical, and cosmeceutical industries.

In our body, fucoxanthin absorption strongly depends on a number of factors which are not entirely understood. Numerous factors can impact fucoxanthin absorption, including the amount and possibly the type of dietary lipids consumed, the stability of the matrix to which the caroten-oid was bound, and additional dietary factors such as dietary fiber (Bohn, 2008). Bioavailability of fucoxanthin seems to be very low; however, there is a scientific controversy about it. Strand et al. (1998) found that fucoxan-thin metabolites but not fucoxanthin were transferred to the egg yolks of laying hens fed a diet supplemented with 15% Fucus serratus (Strand et al., 1998). Hashimoto et al. (2009) reported that fucoxanthin and its metabolites show better bioavailability than astaxanthin. More recently, Asai et al. (2008) revealed that bioavailability of fucoxanthin human is very low. The mechanism underlying the poor incorporation of fucoxanthin from diets into human plasma remains to be clarified. In a serial studies, Sugawara et al. reported that esterification of fucoxanthin in human intestinal caco-2 cells and mice was mediated by enzymatic activity after intestinal absorption (Sugawara et al., 2002, 2009). The esterified fucoxanthin was likely to be incorporated into the lipid core in chylomicron and carried into a variety of tissues including the skin. In addition, by esterifying fucoxanthin into highly nonpolar products, intestinal cells might be protected from the cytotoxic effects of fucoxanthin (Sugawara et al., 2009). Fucoxanthinol was identified as a prime metabolite of fucoxanthin in mice and rats (Asai et al., 2004; Sangeetha et al., 2010). Interestingly, amarouciaxanthin A was found as a major metabolite of fucoxanthin in rat liver, suggesting that liver enzymes may play a role in hydrolyzing fucoxanthin into amarouciaxanthin A (Sangeetha et al., 2010). In contrast,


dietary fucoxanthin was accumulated in the mice heart and liver as fucoxanthinol and in adipose tissue as amarouciaxanthin A (Hashimoto et al., 2009). However, fucoxanthinol was further converted into amarou-ciaxanthin A by short-chain dehydrogenase or reductase in the mice liver within 24 h and rapidly transported to other tissues.

No adverse side effects of fucoxanthin were reported in the mice study. Notably, in animal studies, fucoxanthin also appeared to stimulate liver to produce docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid, at levels comparable to fish oil supplementation. The animal experiments with fucoxanthin stimulated researchers to recommend human clinical trials. In placebo-controlled trials, a supplement containing a 5% fucoxanthin (daily dosage 10 mg) did not reveal any harmful effects (Holt, 2008). Therefore, fucoxanthin may be considered as nontoxic, nonaller-genic, biocompatible, bioactive materials.

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