The Effects of Fermented Laminaria japonica on Short-Term Working Memory and Physical Fitness in the Elderly

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Jun 12:2018:8109621. doi: 10.1155/2018/8109621. eCollection 2018.


Considering the neuroprotective and antioxidant potential of fermented Laminaria japonica A. (FST), the purpose of the present study is to establish whether FST may be considered a viable, efficacious supplement that can be administered in later life to offset neurodegenerative conditions associated with aging. Forty senior subjects participated in a randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study. Two groups were formed, one FST group (n = 32, 72.35 ± 5.54 yrs) and one placebo (CON) (n = 28, 74.57 ± 5.69 yrs), which received 1.5 g/day of FST for 6 weeks. Subjects were asked to abstain from any regular exercise. In order to analyze short-term memory, a variety of neuropsychological tests were implemented. Body composition, physical fitness evaluations, antioxidant function, and inflammatory markers were also included in the analyses pre- and posttest. We demonstrated that FST significantly improved neuropsychological test scores, including higher scores in the K-MMSE, numerical memory test, Raven test, and iconic memory, compared to the CON group. Shorter test trial times in the 6-meter [corrected] walk test were observed in the FST group (p<0.001 and p<0.05, trials 1 and 2, respectively). FST also significantly increased antioxidant activity of GPx, GSR, and SOD, reduced the production of TBARS, and lowered 8-oxoDG levels. The present study highlights the potential widespread application of FST in protecting against the degenerative effects of aging on short-term memory and physical function. Neuropsychological evaluation indicates that FST may provide a protective mechanism against cognitive impairment associated with dementia. Neuromuscular integrity and physical function are typically compromised in aging and dementia patients; thus, whether by stimulation of muscle-related growth factors or an increase in serum BDNF, FST supplementation may act to preserve physical function in the elderly. The bioactive constituents of FST such as GABA and fucoidan acting to provide improvements in antioxidant activity following FST supplementation may protect against progressive degeneration purportedly caused by reactive oxygen species.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Biological Products / pharmacology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / prevention & control
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise Test
  • Fermentation
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Laminaria / chemistry*
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / prevention & control
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Seaweed / chemistry
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / pharmacology


  • Antioxidants
  • Biological Products
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Polysaccharides
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • fucoidan
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase