I try to stay on top of the latest recommendations regarding natural and herbal help for those of us who are trying to lose weight. (And believe me, as a thyroid patient, I am every day engaged in the process of losing weight -- or trying to avoid gaining weight.)
This summer, I've been following The Thyroid Diet especially carefully, and have successfully taken off some extra pounds I'd picked up last winter and spring due to lazy eating. My summer shape up was going fine, but lately, my weight loss started to actually speed up to the extent that it really surprised me. (I'm usually the slow, slow, slow type who rejoices when I've lost 3/4 of a pound in a week!)
So what's the difference? I'm crediting my addition of a new supplement --fucoxanthin -- to my diet and weight loss regimen.
Fucoxanthin is derived from an edible brown kelp/seaweed known as undaria pinnatifida, and known in Japan as wakame. A Japanese study was published late last year that is especially interesting in that it shows that fucoxanthin can promote fat burning within fat cells in animals. And apparently, the type of fat most affected is "white adipose tissue" -- the kind of fat that concentrates around organs -- such as abdominal fat.
"I hope that our study [points to a way to] help reduce obesity in the U.S. and elsewhere," says study leader Kazuo Miyashita, Ph.D., a chemistry professor at Hokkaido University in Hokkaido, Japan.
According to Miyashita, the compound appears to fight fat through two different mechanisms. First, fucoxanthin appears to stimulate a protein, UCP1, that causes fat oxidation and conversion of energy to heat. The protein is found in white adipose tissue, the type of fat that surrounds internal organs. Second, fucoxanthin also appears to stimulate the liver to produce a DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid. DHA supplementation can, in some people, help reduce low density lipoprotein (LDL) -- the bad cholesterol. No adverse side effects from fucoxanthin were reported in the mice and rats used in the study.
Usually, I rotate weight loss supplements over time and as needed. I don't take CLA, hoodia, caralluma, etc. every day, as any of them seem to lose effectiveness when taken constantly.) But lately, the only weight loss supplement I've been taking is the fucoxanthin. I've been taking it for about a month, and it truly does seem to pump up the rate of weight loss for me.
I'm using Garden of Life/Living Seas Fucothin, which is a proprietary formula of fucoxanthin that also includes pomegranate seed oil, an antioxidant and antinflammatory. You can get Fucothin at local health food stores, or get it where I buy mine, online retailer Iherb.com. They have it at a substantial discount from retail stores.) I'm taking one, three times a day. I don't notice any side effects -- except that I've been losing about a pound a week more than usual, AND my abdominal "pooch" seems to be shrinking more than usual (faster even than when I first start back on CLA.) It doesn't have any stimulant effect, so there's no buzzy, nervous feeling.
I'm sticking with this for the time being, because it really does seem to be working well. (I realize it's not scientific, but to informally see if fucoxanthin can help other thyroid patients or people trying to lose weight, if you try Fucothin, drop me a line and let me know how it's going for you, and I'll share an update about this down the line.)
Source: Maeda H, et. al. "Fucoxanthin from edible seaweed, Undaria pinnatifida, shows antiobesity effect through UCP1 expression in white adipose tissues." Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Jul 1;332(2):392-7.