Is Limu for You?

A question was posed to me earlier this week: what exactly is limu and how can it benefit my health and/or weight loss goals?

Limu is a form of brown algae indigenous to the South Pacific. In Hawaii, it has been commonly used to perk up the flavor of otherwise bland dishes or enhance raw favorites like poke.

Limu is known to contain a compound known as fucoidan, a polysaccharide found in several different forms of seaweed and even some sea animals. Because limu is a rich and accessible source of fucoidan, supplement makers have bottled it and made claims regarding its numerous health benefits.

Although a 2005 study suggested that fucoidan induces cell death in human lymphoma cell lines in vitro (in a test tube/petri dish), results and continued efforts to identify the mechanism of action have remained inconsistent. Other studies have linked fucoidan to an increased risk of death following as infection, such as meningitis.

Supplement makers claim limu increases energy, improves sleep, lowers blood glucose levels and enhances immunity among other things. No research or scientifically proven evidence is available to support these claims. In fact,in 2003, one company made advertised limu to eliminate arthritis pain and induce self-destruction of cancer cells. The company could produce no evidence that these claims were true and the FDA forced the company to destroy $2.7 million worth of product.

In researching this product, limu supplements appear to be abundant among multi-level marketing programs. Many times, such pyramid programs are nothing more than a gimmick designed by truly talented sales people.

My recommendation based on the research I have done, albeit minimal, is to save your money – limu doesn’t have anything to offer you or your health. I could only locate advertisements by supplement makers touting a large number of health benefits, but could not find any scientific evidence proving the claims as true. Not to mention, there are plenty of respected health experts and doctors refuting these claims as well.


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