Ever since its appearance on "Dr. Oz" last month, fucoxanthin has been on the lips of everyone looking to lose extra pounds.
This extract, derived from brown seaweed, helps to increase the body's metabolic rate and burn fat. It's particularly effective in the abdomen, eliminating stubborn belly fat. While clinical studies have in fact confirmed fucoxanthin as an effective weight loss supplement, the most important thing to look for when shopping for a fucoxanthin product is Xanthigen -- fucoxanthin extract and pomegranate seed oil -- the proprietary blend responsible for weight loss in human subjects. Xanthigen is credited with causing an 18.2 percent increase in metabolic rate and more than four times more weight loss than subjects taking a placebo.
One such product is fucoTHIN from Garden of Life. In order to find out more about the science behind fucoxanthin and how the product works, we sat down with Herbalist and Educator and Regional Trainer for Garden of Life, Rex Jones.
eVitamins: How do fucoxanthin products work?
Rex Jones: Fucoxanthin is a brown seaweed antioxidant -- it's what makes the brown seaweed brown. It's tissue specific to white adipose tissue, so it likes to collect itself in that specific tissue. It actually upregulates a protein called UPC-1, or uncoupling protein-1. There isn't a lot of uncoupling protein-1 in our white adipose tissue and a lot of our white adipose tissue is around the waist, hips and thighs. Uncoupling protein allows the fat in that area to be used or even wasted by the mitochondria of the fat cells -- so it actually burns this fat in excess. The fucoxanthin is going into the mitochondria and making it think there's an ATP leak -- ATP is the fuel of our cells’ powerhouse -- so the mitochondria actually ramps up its energy production. What you have is intracellular thermogenesis -- you don't have thermogenesis as a result of stimulation on the cardiovascular on the nervous system.
eVits: How is fucoTHIN different from typical weight loss products?
RJ: People are accustomed to the typical flashy product that doesn't have any science behind it. Like a stimulant -- it raises your heart beat and stimulates your nervous system and helps to boost your metabolism that way. Then there is an appetite suppressant. If people are not keen on nutrition and they start suppressing their appetite, and not getting the nutrients, then their body will rob itself for nutrients. In that situation, you could be losing protein weight and not the fat or white adipose tissues you might be trying to target. The third is diuretics. Diuretics are very temporary. Products that work that way are looking at having you lose water weight instead of real fat.
eVits: What makes fucoTHIN unique?
RJ: Instead of having side effects, you have side benefits -- clinically shown side benefits of being a powerful antioxidant that's specifically protecting the liver. In a human clinical study on Xanthigen, it actually lowered blood pressure levels in people that had nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and also lowered C-reactive protein which is a cardiovascular measurement for inflammation. It also lowered triglycerides and liver enzymes. So it did all of those things, and that's before you even get to what it did for boosting metabolism and burning fat.
eVits: How long does it take to work and why do natural weight loss supplements take longer to produce results?
RJ: In the study it was between four to six weeks that it has to build up in the body. There was a small group in the study that took nine a day; those were the people that showed benefits in four weeks instead of six weeks. They were able to boost their metabolism around 24 percent in four weeks while the people who took three a day boosted their metabolism around 18 percent in six.
eVits: You used fucoTHIN yourself. What was your experience like?
RJ: I took fucoTHIN for about four months and lost about 13 pounds. One of the first things I did, which was one of the suggestions of our founder, Jordan Rubin, is to get off of junk. I got off of that and that gave me some results in the first 20, 30 days. In the Xanthigen study, they didn't exercise. So, if you do some exercise, clean up your diet, you can really make a dent in that first 30 days while fucoTHIN is building up in the tissues. My experience was great with it.
eVits: Any tips for success?
RJ: You can actually reverse the benefits of fucoxanthin simply by consuming too many calories. If you take in more energy than you put out, that’s a problem. We have a lot of this white adipose tissue specifically because of lifestyle -- eating the wrong types of foods and not exercising. They looked at the Japanese diet and wanted to find out why they have the best height to weight ratio (BMI) which is associated with long lives and healthy hearts and they found out it was probably this brown seaweed and the compound fucoxanthin. In the Japanese diet, they eat about a pound of seaweed a week.
During a double-blind placebo controlled study of 150 overweight women, those using fucoTHIN saw an average weight loss of 14.5 pounds, compared to the average three pounds lost by the placebo group. These results have made fucoTHIN the top natural weight loss supplement and it isn't hard to see why.
Non-stimulant. Burns belly fat. You can take it forever. Sounds like a great idea, right? I'm convinced. If you're trying fucoTHIN, let us know how it works for you!