Macroalgae in Nutricosmetics

May 1, 2008 | Contact Author | By: J.H. Fitton, PhD, and M. Irhimeh, PhD, Marinova
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Keywords: nutricosmetic | macro- and microalgae | anti-inflammatory | anti-glycation | tyrosinase inhibition

Abstract: Ingested macroalgae and its extracts can provide antiaging benefits such as inhibition of matrix enzymes, glycation, inflammatory activity and elastin calcification. Here, the authors investigated macroalgal extracts on insulin levels of test subjects to determine whether they could control glucose levels.

Nutricosmetics are specific macro- and micronutrients that are orally delivered to help provide positive changes in the quality of the skin and general appearance. Dietary intake has clear connections with skin health and can even limit UV-induced damage.

Macroalgae contains a number of components including micronutrients, carotenoids, fucoidan, vitamin K and omega-3 lipids that are known to provide inhibitory effects on skin damage.

There is a well-known disparity between skin aging in Japanese women who include macroalgae in their diet compared with Causcasian women of the same age who generally do not ingest macroalgae. Environmental factors responsible for these differences include sun exposure and diet.

In general, fucoidan and fucoxanthin products derived from seaweed are appearing more often on the market. As whole macroalgae and its extracts gain an increased presence in the nutraceutical sector, its untapped potential for the antiaging market as a detoxifying ingredient and micronutrient provider is being realized, in addition to its use in topical cosmetic preparations. In a previous article, the authors described the historical use and current applications of macroalgae and a bioactive extract, fucoidan, as ingredients in skin care and spa products.

In addition to its cosmetic role, macroalgae has long provided mankind with sources of food and medicine and offered certain specific benefits as nutricosmetics. This article outlines the nutricosmetic benefits of macroalgae and discusses the potential for these natural ingredients to be utilized in the development of novel formulations.