Brown seaweed food supplementation: Effects on allergy and inflammation and its consequences

Simone E.M. Olsthoorn, Xi Wang, Berend Tillema, Tim Vanmierlo, Stefan Kraan, Pieter J.M. Leenen, Monique T. Mulder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleProfessionalpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Multiple health benefits have been ascribed to brown seaweeds that are used traditionally as dietary component mostly in Asia. This systematic review summarizes information on the impact of brown seaweeds or components on inflammation, and inflammation-related pathologies, such as allergies, diabetes mellitus and obesity. We focus on oral supplementation thus intending the use of brown seaweeds as food additives. Despite the great diversity of experimental systems in which distinct species and compounds were tested for their effects on inflammation and immunity, a remarkably homogeneous picture arises. The predominant effects of consumption of brown seaweeds or compounds can be classified into three categories: (1) inhibition of reactive oxygen species, known to be important drivers of inflammation; (2) regulation, i.e., in most cases inhibition of pro-inflammatory NF-κB signaling; (3) modulation of adaptive immune responses, in particular by interfering with T-helper cell polarization. Over the last decades, several inflammation-related diseases have increased substantially. These include allergies and autoimmune diseases as well as morbidities associated with lifestyle and aging. In this light, further development of brown seaweeds and seaweed compounds as functional foods and nutriceuticals might contribute to combat these challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2613
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding: This work was supported by Health Holland (HHINT Kickstarter #LSH17004), Alzheimer
Nederland (WE.03-2018-06 AN) and NWO-TTW (#16437).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


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