Fucoidan Supplementation Restores Fecal Lysozyme Concentrations in High-Performance Athletes: A Pilot Study

Mar Drugs. 2020 Aug 4;18(8):412. doi: 10.3390/md18080412.


Nutritional strategies to help promote immune competence are of particular interest for a range of population groups. This study aimed to assess the potential impacts of fucoidan, a seaweed-derived bioactive polysaccharide, on gut markers of immunity and inflammation. A group of professional team-sport athletes were selected for inclusion in the study given the recognized potential for intense physical activity to induce alterations in immune function. A retrospective analysis was performed on stored fecal samples which had been collected from professional team-sport athletes (n = 22) and healthy adults (n = 11) before and after seven days of supplementation with fucoidan (Fucus vesiculosus/Undaria pinnatifida extract, 1 g/d). Fecal concentrations of calprotectin, secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) and lysozyme were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The supplement was well tolerated by participants with no adverse events reported. At baseline, fecal lysozyme concentrations were ~73% higher in the healthy adults compared to the professional athletes (p = 0.001). For the professional athletes, a significant (~45%) increase in fecal lysozyme was observed following the supplementation period (p = 0.001). These data suggest that fucoidan supplementation may have the potential to promote the secretion of antimicrobial peptides in specific population groups and contribute to the regulation of mucosal immune health.

Keywords: athletes; fucoidan; gut; lysozyme; mucosa; seaweed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletes*
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Feces / enzymology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / drug effects
  • Immunity, Mucosal / drug effects
  • Intestines / drug effects*
  • Intestines / enzymology
  • Intestines / immunology
  • Male
  • Muramidase / metabolism*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Polysaccharides / administration & dosage*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Polysaccharides
  • fucoidan
  • Muramidase