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Two Types of Brown Seaweed Shown to Lower Glycemic Response

Previous studies have suggested that brown seaweed may have anti-diabetic properties, specifically by lowering the post-meal blood sugar spike (also known as postprandial hyperglycemia). A study was conducted recently to determine if this is true and, if so, which brown seaweed have the highest anti-diabetic effects.

The researchers chose five brown seaweed species out of 15 to test. They found that two extracts in particular – Fucus vesiculosus and Pelvetia canaliculata – were especially good at inhibiting the enzymes ?-amylase and ?-glucosidase,. These two enzymes break down carbohydrates into individual sugar molecules so that they can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

The researchers believe that the brown seaweed extracts may limit the release of simple sugars in the gut by slowing down the carbohydrate breakdown conducted by the enzymes. This in turn lowers the post-meal blood sugar spike.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Teagasc Food Research Centre and the Irish Seaweed Research Group. It was published in the December 2013 issue of Food Chemistry.

Research has shown that brown seaweed may be effective for a wide range of health benefits including improving blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, alleviating joint pain, colon and liver health, and boosting the immune system.

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