Why Fucose?

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Why Fucose?

By: Karen Walker

Haven't heard of fucose? Think it's the latest teen dance craze? Think again, because fucose could make a huge difference in your quality of life.

Fucose is a rare sugar, one of the eight known bioactive sugars essential for proper cell to cell communication. Found in many plants, marine algae is purported to be one of the best sources of fucose and has long been used by naturopathic physicians to support immune function in patients. Those concerned with optimal health should have a basic understanding of the role fucose plays in our bodies.

Fucose molecules are found throughout the body and are involved in many functions. For example, fucose is found in the photoreceptor layer of the retina of the eye. Fucose is also found in the skin, brain cells, and kidneys. Fucose is also excreted in breast milk and may play a part in the transfer of immunity to the newborn. In addition, fucose has an active role in the immune system and in red blood cell function.

According to research, fucose is important in regulation of the immune system, which may affect the activity of inflammatory diseases in the body. Fucose has also been found to inhibit the ability of bacteria to adhere to cells, without which infection cannot occur. In addition, research has also shown fucose to inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells.

Still think fucose is new to you? One abundant source of the marine algae which fucose is derived from is seaweed. Even if you are not a fan of Asian foods, you have likely consumed some seaweed today in the form of carrageenan, agar or other algae derivatives. Check the labels of some of your favorite foods and you'll find seaweed in cheese, instant puddings, chocolate milk, mayonnaise, ice cream and sherbet, for example. Unfortunately for you, commercially processed seaweed products do not contain active fucose.

Because of the role fucose plays in the body, and especially the immune system, does it not make sense to support the body with supplementation? It is well known that depleted soils, food storage techniques and manufacturing methods all adversely affect the levels of nutrients available to us in our modern diets. It is doubtful anyone can obtain enough of this valuable glyconutrient through food alone.

But there is a very good, accessible source of fucose available today. The brown seaweed Undaria pinnatifida, considered to be essential to long term health in Japan, is an excellent source of the fucose sugar. However, anyone considering using brown seaweed should be sure of its source due to the increasing pollution of the world's oceans by toxic chemicals and other contaminants. Nonetheless, there are safe brown seaweed products available.

Fucose is a rare sugar not commonly consumed in most people's diets, at least not to a level that is beneficial to the body. A better understanding of fucose and the important, complex role it plays in our health should lead to a careful consideration of supplementation.


Fucose is a bioactive sugar found throughout the body and has been shown to play an active role in immune system function. One abundant source of fucose is brown seaweed. Unfortunately for you, commercially processed seaweed products used in foods do not contain active fucose. But there are safe, active brown seaweed products now on the market and supplementation should be considered by anyone seeking optimal health.

About The Author

Karen Walker is a wellness consultant and author. She works from her home in western Montana. She and her husband, Lynn McCormick, maintain a website to help those whose lives have been upset by catastrophic health events.




aoife 28.11.2011. 15:36

what impact would a trp to phe mutation have on the binding affinity for fucose? what would be the difference between the way they would bind to fucose?


Admin 28.11.2011. 15:36

We'd really need a lot more information to help you out here. What protein? Which trp?

I assume you're talking about either a fucose-binding protein or an enzyme that uses fucose as a substrate, and that you've modeled the protein or have an image of the active/binding site that shows how fucose is bound by the protein.

What you need to think about is how that particular trp residue is interacting with the fucose. Is it forming a hydrogen bond with something on fucose? If so, then mutating that trp to the smaller and non-polar phe will eliminate that bond.

That's about the best I can do for you without a lot more information.


chem 06.05.2010. 16:36

How to calculate the molecular weight given the boiling point grams of solute and grams of solvent? The boiling point of a solution made by dissolving 10.90 grams of L-Fucose in 100.0 grams of water is 100.340 degrees Celcius.


Admin 06.05.2010. 16:36

Kb, is the ebullioscopic constant for water is 0.512
T'-T is boiling pt elevation, due to presence of solute particles.
T is boiling t of pure water whish is 100degree celcius

molality=moles of solute/mass of solvent in kg
M is molecular weight of solute


chocolatecreme 24.01.2012. 19:30

What are some good natural supplements to take for cervical health? Herbs or vitamins are all welcome!? Also if you know of any foods that may be cancer preventative for women's reproductive organs, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time to look at my question!


Admin 24.01.2012. 19:30

A polysaccharide known as "FUCOIDAN" is extracted from marine brown algae and is known to contain large proportions of L-fucose and sulfate, along with low amounts of xylose, uronic acid, and galactose.

Fucoidan has been reported to possess antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anticoagulant activities. There is accumulating evidence to support the proposal that the use of fucoidan as a supplement provides protection against various cancers.

Clinical trials of patients with breast, cervical, renal, and hepatic carcinomas showed a significant improvement in tumor regression among patients who received an alternative medicine treatment regimen based mainly on fucoidan administration.


Martin 14.12.2009. 02:28

What is the best natural source of fucoidan? I found in lot of article on Internet that e.g. Kombu seaweed is fine, but absorbtion (or bioavailability) is low and Kombu contents made of fibre or celulose, which can not be processed by human body and therefor can be dangerous.


Admin 14.12.2009. 02:28

Kombu and certain other species of brown seaweed are the best sources. I disagree that fibre and cellulose are dangerous. Most people consider them beneficial - as they help cleanse your system and may help prevent colon cancer.

From the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center:

Clinical Summary:

Fucoidan is a sulfated polysaccharide found in the cell walls of many species of Brown seaweed. Preliminary data show that fucoidan has antitumor and antiangiogenic effects in vitro. These effects are brought about by stimulating natural killer cells and by down regulating AP-I involved in cellular proliferation. Fucoidan also exhibited neuroprotective effects, but human data is lacking.

In other studies, fucoidan demonstrated anticoagulant and antithrombotic activities, and can have additive effects when taken with anticoagulants.

Food Sources:

Several species of Brown seaweed

Purported uses:

Bacterial Infections
Viral infections

Alpha (1, 2) or Alpha (1, 3) 4-O-sulfated-L-fucose
Glucoronic acid


Because of its anticoagulant property, fucoidan may have additive effects with anticoagulants such as warfarin and heparin..


Wendy D 12.08.2009. 19:56

What is the difference between Aloe Ferox and Aloe Vera? I have been using capsules that contain 'Aloe ferox' and always thought it was the same as Aloe vera, just a different name for the aloe. I was just speaking to someone today who said they are both Aloe but they are by no means the same.

Why have we not heard more about the Aloe ferox and why does everyone and their uncle know about aloe vera?

Wendy D

Admin 12.08.2009. 19:56


This is a great question, I was using an aloe ferox capsule each day and like you, I thought it was another name for aloe vera. By the way, were you using the Prosit capsules from African Cures?

I have found some sites which go into details about the differences between these two aloes but I guess I could just sum it up for you before I go into all the details. The aloe ferox plant is a great deal older than the vera plant, the aloe ferox has also been used for a great deal longer than the aloe vera plant. The aloe ferox can only grow in one part of the world which is a small range in South Africa.
The aloe ferox plant is about 20 times stronger then the aloe vera and it contains about twice to three times more the essential amino acids as its cousin the vera. So now for anti-aging, healing, cleansing we should all be using the aloe ferox plant, but it has not been available to us, only through the African Cures website. This is soon to change, a company in the USA, Alofe, will be importing over 100 aloe ferox products for inside and out.

Here is a study done on the Aloe Ferox vs. The Aloe Vera:
A comparison of the chemical composition of Aloe ferox and Aloe vera was performed based on values available in the literature (Femenia 1999, Mabusela 1990). It must be noted, however, that concentrations tend to vary seasonally and geographically (Grindlay

The different monosaccharide components of the polysaccharides present in the Aloe ferox and Aloe vera gel are compared (expressed as mol%).

Monosaccharide Aloe vera Aloe ferox
(gel) (gel)

Rhamnose 1.69 3
Fucose 1.94 1
Arabinose 1.92 5
Xylose 2.34 13
Mannose 46.07 35
Galactose 4.97 5
Glucose 27.03 46

Similarly, scientific tests comparing the differences between Aloe ferox and Aloe vera plants (whole leafs), growing side by side, were performed at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, South Africa.

The tests demonstrated the following:

1. The freshly cut leaf of Aloe ferox produced approximately 20 times more bitter sap,
weight by weight, than the Aloe vera.

2. Aloe vera has a much softer and more translucent inner gel. It is also notably more

3. After extraction, the juice of the Aloe vera leaves decolourizes and loses its viscosity
much more rapidly than does the juice of Aloe ferox.

4. The solids content of the juice in Aloe ferox were constantly greater in volume than
those obtained from Aloe vera.

5. The amino acid content of Aloe ferox is almost double that of Aloe vera (see table).

Amino Acids Aloe vera Aloe ferox
(Whole Leaf) (Whole Leaf)

Glutamic acid 4.7 2.8
Asparagine 3.29 14.47
Aspartic acid 1.75 1.41
Serine 1.27 1.69
Glycine 0.95 1.25
Alanine 0.91 1.04
Glutamine 0.83 3.82
Valine ** 0.36 0.56
Threonine ** 0.33 0.9
Proline 0.25 0.46
Lysine ** 0.18 0.08
Arginine 0.12 0.05
Leucine ** 0.09 0.12
Phenylalanine ** 0.08 0.07
Isoleucine ** 0.07 0.12
Tyrosine 0.06 0.05
Cystine 0.04 0.01
Histidine 0.03 0.02
Methionine ** 0.02 0.07
Tryptophane ** 0 0
Total Concentration
(nMol/mg dry mass) 15.33 28.99

Aloe ferox and Aloe vera contain 7 of the 8 essential (** in table) amino acids and all the
other 12 non-essential amino acids.
Similarly the mineral concentrations of Aloe vera (Femenia 1999) were compared to typical
concentration measured in Aloe ferox (expressed as % of dry matter).

Minerals Aloe vera Aloe ferox
(Whole Leaf) (Whole Leaf)

Calcium (Ca) 3.58 8.82
Magnesium (Mg) 1.22 1.68
Sodium (Na) 3.66 3.08
Potassium (K) 4.06 6.3
Phosphorus (P) 0.02
Iron (Fe) 0.1 0.54
Copper (Cu) 0.06 0.04
Zinc (Zn) 0.02 0.8

It is evident that Aloe ferox contains a higher concentration of these minerals, which can potentially ascribed to its harvesting in its natural habitat and not in domesticated fields. As can be seen the chemical composition of Aloe vera is comparable to that of Aloe ferox.


Student 04.03.2008. 00:34

What organic molecules have only c, h, o and in ratio of 1:2: <1? What organic molecules have only c, h, o and in ratio of 1:2: <1?


Admin 04.03.2008. 00:34

Most alcohols of cycloalkanes -- for example cyclohexanol [C6H12O or C6H11OH].

Some carbohydrates -- for example alpha-L-Fucose [C6H12O5].

Some aliphatic esters -- for example the methyl ester of 3-ethoxy-propanoic acid [C6H12O3].

Many carboxylic acids -- for example hexanoic acid [C6H12O2].

This is probably a very long list.


girly 26.01.2007. 21:56

How can a Type B blood be able to make Type A antibodies if it has not been exposed to it? Given that our body usually builds up a defense against something after it has been exposed to it.


Admin 26.01.2007. 21:56

that's a good question, i will answer it, but i hoep you will choose the best answer

yes the production of antibody do usually requires the host being exposed to the antigen, there one thing you might not know about the ABH blood antigen is that they are carbohydrate structure attached to protein on cell membrane with terminal structure being galactose-N-acetylglucosamine-galactose than fucose (H) or fucose with N-acetylgalatosamine (A) or galactose (B). although the person didn't expose this antigen from blood transfusion or other blood exchanging activity, but there is a source which is most likely to be the antigen source

in out guts, mouth, skin there are millions of bacteria for which their existence is benefical to us because it disallow the colonisation of other harmful bacteria, known as comensals, they dies too and digested by the blood and their dead part are released into the blood stream for which the B-cells, and monocytes, or macrophages in the tissue to phagacytose, and as you known their baterial membrane also comprise of glycoprotein structure, glycolipid, and pollysaccharide etc, of those hetergeneous antigens, there are some for which are similar to the ABH antigen that cause cross-reaction

thus the body did exposed to the antigen (but not exactly the same) from bacterium which lives on us such as staphylacoccus areus, streptococcus etc, or some fungus too.


marshmallow 03.01.2013. 12:21

How to answer this science question? I need the method as well as the answers thanks.
Question is a person has an accident and 10 cells of the flesh eating bacterium streptococcus pyogenes enter the wound. At human body temperature, the flesh eating bacterium can divide into two every ten minutes. For every million bacteria 1cm2 of flesh is eaten away. What area of flesh would be eaten after 3 hours of infection?


Admin 03.01.2013. 12:21

Thousands of different commensal microbial species populate Homo sapiens outer and inner body surfaces :

in saliva 108 bacteria/ mL
in stomach 103-105 bacteria per gram or mL of luminal contents in mice, consisting mainly of acid-tolerant species (e.g. Lactobacilli spp., Streptococcus spp., Helicobacter pylori) unless patient is treated with antiacids (H2 antagonists, PPI), a risk factor for aspiration pneumonia
Boas-Oppler bacillus / lactobacillus of Boas-Oppler : a microorganism, probably a species of Lactobacillus, first found in the gastric juice of patients with stomach carcinoma
in gut 500-1,000 different species exist : their microbiome contains 100-fold more genes than human genome. Gut is colonized ~ 40 hrs after birth.
in small bowel :
in duodenum and jejunum : 102-105 bacteria/mL (Streptococcus spp., Lactobacillus spp., Enterobacter spp., Bacteroides spp.)
in ileum : 108-109 bacteria per gram or mL (Lactobacillus spp., Streptococcus spp., Bacteroides spp., Enterobacter spp.)
in colon : 1010-1014 bacteria/mL (> 400 species, each present at approximately 109 per gram : Streptococcus spp., Enterococcus spp., Enterobacter spp., anaerobes (Bacteroides spp., Bifidobacterium spp., gram-positive cocci and Clostridium spp., Fusobacterium spp., Peptococcus spp., and Peptostreptococcus spp. (very likely to cause IAI)). By contrast, aerobes and facultative aerobes, including enterobacteria and lactobacilli, are present at only moderate densities (106-108 per gram)
paracolon bacilli : microorganisms commonly found in the intestinal flora, distinguished by delayed (5?21 days) fermentation of lactose. Organisms of this type belong to the genera Escherichia, Citrobacter, or Klebsiella
in stools : 1012 bacteria / g (70% w/w)
There are 2 main difficulties in understanding and measuring these complex flora.
a comparison of 2 techniques used to assess faecal bacterial numbers - counting colonies of culturable bacteria and estimating numbers using smears - shows that < 50% of intestinal bacteria can be cultured. This is becaue of the precise oxygen requirements of some species and their fastidious (and largely unknown) nutrient requirements
although most measurements have been made using faecal bacteria, the intestine is not a homogeneous environment - groups of bacteria can also exist on the surface of the mucus layer or deep within it
Fortunately, there are ways of overcoming the difficulties in culturing intestinal bacteria. The 1.5-kb gene encoding 16S ribosomal RNA is present in multiple copies in bacterial chromosomes, and it is highly polymorphic. Therefore, the nucleotide sequences of this gene (obtained after amplification by PCR) can be used to determine the species of each organism, and the gene can serve as a target (in species-specific in situ hybridization) for studying the spatial arrangement of each bacterial group.
Bacteroides spp. decorate their capsular polysaccharides and surface glycoproteins with L-fucose, also abundant on the surface of intestinal epithelial cells, and stimulates intestinal epithelial cells to express fucosylated molecules : this molecular mimicry allows Bacteroides to be tolerated by the hostref.
The majority of 13,355 prokaryotic ribosomal RNA gene sequences from multiple colonic mucosal sites and feces of healthy subjects correspond to uncultivated species and novel microorganisms, with significant intersubject variability and differences between stool and mucosa community compositionref.
in vagina 108 bacteria / mL : Döderlein's bacillus : one of the gram-positive rods commonly found in vaginal secretions that may consist of mixtures of Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. casei, L. cellobiosisus, L. fermentum, or Leuconostoc mesenteroides. Said by some to be identical with L. acidophilus
in nose microbiota is dominated by Corynebacterium spp., Microbacterium spp., Rhodococcus spp., Staphylococcus epidermidis,Staphylococcus capitis, Staphylococcus hominis,Staphylococcus haemolyticus,Staphylococcus lugdunensis and Staphylococcus warneri. Under special circumstances, single species, including IgA1 protease-producing bacteria, may become predominant in a restricted area of the nasal mucosaref.
in skin commensals can be divided into
permanent (e.g. Staphylococcus epidermidis)
transient (Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter spp.) : they are a leading cause of nosocomial infections, being present on 31 % of physicians' hands (7.104 CFUs / hand) and 17 % of nurses' hands (4.104 CFUs / hand)


Chad S 04.12.2008. 23:54

Do different blood types taste different? I am working on a vampire novel, and I am looking for some detail to add. Other than variables such as disease, germs, etc, are there any discernable taste differences, no matter how minor, between blood types as a general rule?

Chad S

Admin 04.12.2008. 23:54

I'm not sure whether they actually do taste different to humans, but you could quite easily justify making them taste different to a vampire. Blood types have different carbohydrates and amino groups on the cells, so a blood connoisseur could maybe tell them apart.

For example, type B has more galactose than the other types. Galactose is a kind of sugar,
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactose )
so perhaps B is sweeter to a vampire. Bombay type doesn't even have fucose on it
(could be someone spared due to foul-tasting blood?)

Hope that helps.


rintin 14.04.2009. 22:35

how is blood typing tied in with chemistry? a lot of information in your answer would be appreciated.
help me understand the connection please
:] thankyou.


Admin 14.04.2009. 22:35

Well it depends what you need to know, but basically blood type is determined by antigens on red blood cells and corresponding antibodies in blood plasma. Antigens are molecules which the immune system uses to discriminate between things which are part of your body and things which aren't, mainly by making antibodies which attach to particular antigens. These antigens are bits of sugar or protein.

The 3 antigens which are most important for blood transfusion (and summarised in a blood type) are known as A, B and Rhesus D (+/-). You can see a little more chemical detail about the A and B antigens here:
Galactose and fucose are obviously sugars.

AB+ types have all 3 antigens, whilst O- types have none. Those without the antigens tend to develop antibodies against them. This happens automatically with the A and B antigens, whilst Rh antibodies in negative types often only develop after eg repeated transfusions of positive type blood.

Edit: Just noticed this is my 500th answer.


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