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Question:
What Is Marine-D3 and does it live up to anti-aging claims?

Answer:
Marine-D3 is a supplement sold online by Marine Essentials which claims the product is effective at slowing down or reversing the main causes of aging and disease and will, among other things, reduce fat and increase energy. Unfortunately, no clinical studies have been published to back up these claims specifically for the Marine-D3 formula.

On the Marine-D3 website we were not able to find a list of the product's ingredients (i.e., its "Supplement Facts"), but a sales representative informed us through online chat that each capsule contains 1,000 IU of vitamin D3, 300 mg of EPA and DHA from calamari oil (Calamarine®), and 40 mg of an extract from brown seaweed (Seanol-P®). Two capsules daily are suggested. Each capsule costs 83 cents ($1.67 daily) based on purchasing four 60-capsule bottles at the "Private VIP" price of $199.80.

ConsumerLab.com has not tested this product to determine the amounts and quality of the claimed ingredients. Assuming it delivers what it claims, however, a daily dose of two capsules would provide a substantial 2,000 IU dose of vitamin D3 which could be appropriate for someone moderately deficient in vitamin D and could, for such a person, have a variety of benefits (See Vitamin D Product Review for more about vitamin D). Of course, if you are not deficient in vitamin D, this ingredient may be of no value. It is also important to note that this dose of vitamin D is much higher than the recommended daily intake for adults of 400 IU. Too much vitamin D (over 4,000 IU per day) may have negative effects.

The amount of EPA and DHA from calamari oil claimed in two capsules of Marine-D3 is also substantial -- 600 mg.  If you are not already eating fish twice a week, there are a range of potential benefits from these omega-3 oils (see Fish Oil and Omega-3 Product Review for more information).

The third ingredient in Marine-D3 is an extract of brown seaweed (an algae known as Ecklonia cava) called Seanol®-P. Many of Marine-D3's medical claims appear to relate to this ingredient. The extract has anti-oxidant effects and, according to its manufacturer, BotaMedi, has been authorized by the FDA for use as a dietary ingredient. A recent  12-week double-blind, randomized clinical trial of 97 overweight men and women in Korea showed that a daily dose 144 mg of this extract experienced significant improvements in body weight, BMI, body fat ratio, and waist circumference, compared to those who received placebo -- although this comparative benefit was not found for those receiving a lower dose of 72 mg.  However, both low- and high-dose groups showed significant reductions in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and increases in HDL ("good") cholesterol compared to people receiving placebo, with total cholesterol falling by 14.6 and 18.8 mg/dL in the low- and high-dose groups, respectively (Shin, Phytother Res 2012). The daily dose of Seanol-P in Marine-D3 (80 mg) is similar to the lower dose used in this study, suggesting that Marine-D3 may not reduce body fat but may improve cholesterol levels.

As for Marine-D's claim that it increases energy, one randomized, placebo-controlled study found that young men drinking a Ecklonia cava preparation before high intensity exercise had an increased time-to-exhaustion -- an extra 2 minutes (Oh, Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2010). This may suggest a benefit for exercise endurance but more studies are needed.

From a cost perspective, you can get the vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids in Marine-D3 from individual supplements at much less cost than the $1.67 per day for Marine-D3. Choosing the best priced, quality-Approved supplements tested by ConsumerLab.com, you can get 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 for as little as 1 cent from liquid drops or (4 cents from a capsule or softgel), and you can get 600 mg of EPA and DHA from calamari oil for 30 cents (or from fish oil for just 6 cents). The bulk of what you are paying for in Marine-D3 is Seanol-P. Seanol is available in several other marketed supplements, although these products use what is called Seanol-F, which is apparently a less concentrated ingredient than Seanol-P. The Seanol-F products are generally targeted at the treatment of fibromyalgia. Nutricology Fibroboost® for example, provides 1,200 mg of Seanol-F per capsule, with each capsule costing around 50 cents.

In short, Marine-D3 appears to be a clinically untested formulation and there is no evidence that it is effective as an "anti-aging" product. Its individual ingredients may offer selected benefits to specific individuals but buying this product means paying a large premium to get vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and relatively new ingredient for which there is only preliminary and limited evidence of potential benefit.


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