Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida) algae extract

Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida) is a type of edible brown algae that has been consumed for thousands of years, particularly in Asia 1. In Japanese and other Asian cultures, the ingestion of brown seaweed in the diet averages up to 3 g per day 1. It is used in condiments and soup bases or fresh in salads, rolls or stews for its nutritional content, flavor and texture. Undaria is also used in Chinese and Ayurvedic (Indian) traditional medicine 2.

Undaria pinnatifida is rich in fucoidans, sulfated polysaccharides that contain large amounts of fucose and other monosaccharides, including galactose, mannose and glucose 3,4. In addition to being largely made up of soluble carbohydrates and edible protein, Undaria also contains lipids; vitamins A, C and E; B vitamins; calcium and magnesium; and some trace elements (such as iodine) 5,6.

Undaria is partially digested in the human gut 7, and test tube studies have demonstrated that fibers from brown algae can be fermented by human fecal bacteria 8. The serum uptake of fucoidans has not been assessed to date. Undaria pinnatifida has been consumed as a food and traditional medicine in Asia for thousands of years, indicating a safe precedence for human consumption 1,9.

This ingredient can be found in the following products in United States:


  1. Fitton JH. Brown marine algae: A survey of therapeutic potentials. Alt Comp Therapy 2003;9:29-33.
  2. Mori H, Kamei H, Nishide E, Nisizawa K. Sugar constituents of some suplhated polysaccharides from the sporophylls of wakame and their biological activities. In: Hoppe HA, Levring T, eds. Marine Algae in Pharmaceutical Science. New York & Berlin: Walter de Gruyter 1982:109-22.
  3. Koo J-G. Structural characterization of purified fucoidan from Laminaria religiosa, sporophylls of Undaria pinnatifida, Hizikia fusirome and Sagassum fulvellum in Korea. J.Korean Fish.Soc. 1997;30:128-31.
  4. Luta G, Duncan C, Sinnott R. Chemical characterization of polysaccharide-rich ingredients from Aloe vera, Larix laricina and Larix occidentalis, and Undaria pinnatifida. Presented at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine's 6th Annual Natural Supplements Conference, San Diego, California.January 22-25, 2009.
  5. Simpson BB, Ogorzaly MC. Economic Botany: Plants in Our World. Boston, Mass.: McGraw-Hill, 2001.
  6. Gil MN, Torres AI, Commendatore MG et al. Nutritive and xenobiotic compounds in the alien algae Undaria pinnatifida from Argentine Patagonia. Arch Environ Toxicol. 2015;68:553-65.
  7. Yamada Y, Miyoshi T, Tanada S, Imaki M. Digestibility and energy availability of wakame (Undaria pinnatifida) seaweed in Japanese. Jap J Hygiene 1991;46.
  8. Michel C, Lahaye M, Bonnet C, Mabeau S, Barry JL. In vitro fermentation by human faecal bacteria of total and purified dietary fibres from brown seaweeds. Br J Nutr 1996;75:263-80.
  9. Aaronson S. Algae. The Cambridge World History of Food. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press 2000:231-49.