|Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor|
When you consider weight loss options, algae probably doesn’t come to mind. In fact, most people in the Western world probably don’t think of algae as food at all, but recent studies have shown that alginate supplements can increase your feelings of satiety and potentially help you lose weight.
The latest in the growing list of investigations into alginate supplements and weight loss comes from researchers at the University of Copenhagen. To be published in the May 15, 2012, issue of Food Chemistry, this is purportedly the first study to examine what the exact ratio of different types of alginates produces the best results.
Alginate is a compound found in the cell walls of brown algae. The three alginates used in the study supplement form a gel that is slow to empty from the stomach. The effectiveness of alginate supplement is depends on the ratio of mannuronic and guluronic acids.
For the study, the researchers used two solutions with different ratios of mannuronic and guluronic acids; 70% mannuronic and 30% guluronic and 40% mannuronic and 60% guluronic.
Eight participants consumed one of the two beverages 30 minutes before breakfast and 2 hours before lunch. The researchers found that the drink that was 40% mannuronic and 60% guluronic produced increased feelings of satiety, lowered the amount that participants wanted to eat, and decreased calorie intake by 10% when compared with the other beverage.
The researchers hope that this study will encourage other institutions to examine the effects of alginate supplements as obesity becomes a worldwide epidemic.
Algae isn’t just good for weight management; research has also shown that it may be effective for a wide range of health benefits including improving blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, boosting immune system, alleviating joint pain, colon and liver health, and boosting the immune system.