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Going Japanese

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The Japanese have been using this secret spice to stay slender for centuries. After all, 70% of their diet is made of carbs, but they have the lowest obesity rates of any country in the world.1

The Japanese call this seasoning wakame or hijiki. It’s a brown seaweed extract also known as fucoxanthin.

Its fat-burning properties were accidentally discovered by Japanese marine biologists. In 2006, these scientists fed the brown seaweed to study animals. And something amazing happened. A microscopic fat-burning protein called UCP1 was suddenly switched on.

This protein “turns on” your metabolic switch and kicks your body’s fat-burning machinery into high gear. It does this by triggering your white fat cells to act like brown fat cells.

Brown fat burns energy instead of storing it like white fat does.

In a 16-week clinical study, researchers followed 151 overweight women. Those who took a placebo lost an average of 3 pounds. But those who added the fucoxanthin lost 15 pounds.2

That’s FIVE TIMES more weight loss.

But here’s what’s really exciting. Not only does fucoxanthin help you burn fat you already have… it stops the formation of future fat cells.3 But its health benefits don’t stop there…

In addition to weight and fat loss, fucoxanthin:

  • Slows the progression of breast cancer4
  • Eases depression5
  • Slows skin aging6
  • Protects your brain from Alzheimer’s7

Season Away Weight Gain

Fucoxanthin is found naturally in seaweed. This seaweed is used in many Japanese dishes and to wrap sushi. It’s also available in dried form that you can sprinkle on your food to add a sweet, salty taste.

If eating seaweed doesn’t appeal to you, you can supplement. I recommend 300 mg every day.

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
Al Sears, MD, CNS


1. Senauer B and Gemma M. “‘Why is the obesity rate so low in Japan and high in the U.S.?’ Some possible economic explanations.” Food Ind. Center Univ. Minn. 2006.
2. Abidov M. “The effect of Xanthigen, a phytomedicine containing fucoxanthin and pomegranate seed oil, on body weight and liver fat, serum triglycerides, C-reactive protein, and plasma aminotransferases in obese non-diabetic female volunteers: A double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial.” 2007.
3. Abidov M, et al. “The effects of Xanthigen in the weight management of obese premenopausal women with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and normal liver fat.” Diabetes Obes Metab. 2010;12(1):72-81.
4. Wang J, et al. “Fucoxanthin inhibits tumour-related lymphangiogenesis and growth of breast cancer.” J Cell Mol Med. 2019;23(3):2219-2229.
5. Yoshihiro M, et al. “Seaweed consumption and prevalence of depressive symptoms during pregnancy in Japan: Baseline data from the Kyushu Okinawa Maternal and Child Health Study.” BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2014;14:301.
6. Urikura I, et al. “Protective effect of Fucoxanthin against UVB-induced skin photoaging in hairless mice.” Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2011;75(4):757-760.
7. Jiajia L, et al. “Fucoxanthin, a marine carotenoid, reverses scopolamine-induced cognitive impairments in mice and inhibits acetylcholinesterase in vitro.” Mar Drugs. 2016;14(4):67.


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