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Super low molecular seaweed sugar chain extract

Seaweed has been used as a daily source of food in Japan for a very long time.  It is common for Phaeophyceae such as mekabu (Undaria pinnatifida Suringer-sporophyte) or konbu (Laminaria Japonica) to be rich in minerals and amino acids, but even more important is the multitude of carbohydrates included as polysaccharides.

From the perspective of glycobiology, focus is placed on the carbohydrates contained in mekabu.  The surprising thing is that the carbohydrates contained in mekabu include all of the main carbohydrates that make up our blood, which is the source of life.  Mekabu contains rich in carbohydrates such as galactose, mannose, fucose, and the like that make up ABO blood type substances, which are made from common complicated metabolic pathways.

At the time when life was just beginning on the Earth, aquatic bacteria and algae were the main forms of life.  After many years of complex evolution, higher life forms were finally born.  In the process leading up to higher life forms emerging onto land, an ecological system existed based around algae inhabiting shallow coastal waters.  Algae can be thought of as a life form that is invaluable to the food chain.  In terms of the evolution of life, there is profound meaning in the fact that the nature of our blood as mammals is identical to the carbohydrates of algae.

In recent years, the physiological functions of fucoidan, which is contained in seaweed, have received attention in the field of medicine in both Japan and western countries.  Research into the announced physiological functions of fucoidan is progressing in various fields such as antitumor activity, immunoactivity, hematogenic effect, antiviral effect, and anti-inflammatory effect.  It is believed that polysaccharides, such as fucoidan and alginic acid, exist for the purpose of preserving the cells of the seaweed itself in the type of environment that the seaweed inhabits.  Seaweed inhabits an environment that is extremely harsh both physically and chemically.  The seaweed must protect itself from harmful ultra-violet radiation, large amounts of bacteria, and physical damage caused by the force of the tide.  Since seaweed is not the only life form having special characteristics, defensive properties are necessary to withstand the harsh environment.  Therefore, it is believed that the fucoidan and alginic acid function to (1) serve as lubricants for preventing injury to the cells caused by rough friction between the seaweed and stones, (2) prevent bacterial infection, (3) protect against ultra-violet radiation, and (4) absorb and concentrate minerals found in the sea water.

From the viewpoint of glycophysiology, it is important to focus on the properties of the beneficial substance of the seaweed, which is polysaccharide based on glucuronic acid and L-fucose of the fucoidan.

The role of the fucose inside the organism is to (1) function as a determinant of the blood type substance, (2) receive glycoprotein into the liver, and (3) function as a receptor for macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF).

Without fucose, the ABO blood type (antigens) would not exist.  Since inhibition of immune response is caused by a metabolic disorder of fucose, fucose is indispensable as a basic substance for vital activity.




[Blood type antigens]   (Type A, B, O)


Fuc: Fucose, Gal: Galactose, Nac: N-acetylgalactosaminic acid

The glucuronic acid inside the organism (1) expels poisons from the body and (2) is involved in the induction of hormones.  Also, the glucuronic acid, which is made up of the hyaluronic acid, is generated from the glucose.  The characteristic that absorbs the minerals contributes to the excretion of radioactive substances.

<< Problems with using seaweed as food >>

There are two problems relating to the use of seaweed as food.  The first problem is that the beneficial substances are covered in cellulose, which can’t be digested by human enzymes, and the second problem is the low rate of absorption into the intestines because of the high molecular weight.

To endure the impact of the tide, the cells of seaweed have thicker cell walls than plants inhabiting land.  The cell wall is strongly maintained by structural polysaccharides formed mainly from cellulose.

Since cellulose can’t be absorbed or digested by human intestines, the intestines have difficulty absorbing the components of the beneficial substances, such as fucoidan and alginic acid that are prevalent in the structural polysaccharides and cell wall formed mainly of cellulose, that are not exuded from the cell wall, and the activity of the dietary fiber is the main functioning substance in food.

The alginic acid, which includes fucoidan and glucuronic acid, has large structural polysaccharides, making it difficult to absorb into the intestines because it has a high molecular weight of over 1,000,000.

Since alginic acid has many sulfate groups, in a case where a large amount is ingested, there is fear that a burden may be placed on the function of the kidneys.

<< Solution for the first problem >>  

~ Removal of cellulose and maximum hydrolysis ~

There are two steps involved in this solution.  The first is the removal of cellulose by cellulase and the second is the process of hydrolysis to a point at which mucosal absorption of the polysaccharides having high molecular weight can be performed.

The super low molecular seaweed sugar chain extract, shows a superior absorbing ability once the cellulose is removed using cellulase, after which hydrolysis is executed using citric acid until the molecular weight reaches approximately 450.

<< Solutions for the second problem >>

~ Phosphorylation of the carbohydrates as b-L-fucose-1-phosphate ~

When sugar chain antigens are synthesized within the cell, carbohydrates, such as L-fucose mannose having the beneficial properties, are phoshorylated to become GDP-L-fucose and then incorporated into a golgi apparatus.  The majority of carbohydrates included in the super low molecular seaweed sugar chain exist as one phosphorylated form.  That is, the super low molecular seaweed sugar chain extract is the only extract in the world containing phosphorylated carbohydrates, such as b-L-fucose-1-phosphate synthesized by the complex metabolism of the human body.

<< Plan/Objective >>

A specific mechanism is unknown, but at the level of clinical trials and observation, the following proposals are being considered with the aim of acquiring evidence based on medical grounds.

(1)   Inhibiting the growth of malignant tumors (SD)

# Advantageous trends have been confirmed in many cases, especially relating to malignant tumors in the lungs, liver, blood, and prostate.

(2)   Increasing the quality of life

# Improvements were confirmed in over 60% of patients complaining of lack of sleep, fatigue, and loss of appetite.

(3)   Reducing symptoms of allergies

# Advantageous trends have been confirmed especially in cases of atopic dermatitis, psoriasis vulgaris, and the like.

(4)   Others, autoimmune diseases

# Improvements were confirmed for ulcerative colitis and depression.

Inference based on the phenomenon seen in (1)~(4) is insufficient to be called evidence, but the following are considered to be provisional effects:

1.      Accumulating immunities to malignant alteration of organs/ adhesion of leukocytes

2.      Maintaining the balance of the autonomic nerves

3.      Advancing the activity of the mitochondria or the carbohydrate metabolism

4.      Producing fucosylated normal mucin protein and inhibiting the absorption of hyaluronic acid-O-mannose-6 phosphate of the viscous substance created from cancer cells

<< In conclusion >>

Concerning the physiological mechanism and workings of the sugar chain, basic research is currently progressing in the post-genome field at every research institute.  Glycophysiology is an academically new field and a large amount of time and money will be necessary to acquire clinical evidence and clarification of a mechanism for the large combination of glycoprotein and glycolipids.

Our concept is to re-examine the staring point of our approach from the origins of life.  By supplementing the basic carbohydrates on the cellular level, we are certain that plans for dealing with various diseases can be expected.  From now, we look forward to contributing to developments in the medical field and to treating difficult diseases.