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  • Writer's pictureInfinitum Health Team

Dietary seaweeds and anti-obesity properties

Summer is upon us and we all want to get into beach shape! A few unique new studies seem to suggest one of our favorite marine plant species, seaweeds, have a complementary solution to regular diet and exercise.

Obesity is a major epidemic that poses a worldwide threat to human health, as it is

also associated with metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Therapeutic intervention through weight loss drugs, accompanied by diet and exercise, is one of the options for the treatment and management of obesity. New anti-obesity drugs are still being evaluated at different stages of clinical trials, while some have been withdrawn due to their severe adverse effects. There are four drugs currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for chronic management of obese adults or medically approved weight loss: orlistat, locaserin, phentermine/topiramate (extended release) and naltrexone/bupropion (extended release).

Marine algae, especially seaweeds are a promising source of anti-obesity agents that may help complement diet and exercise and have been proven safe and non toxic.

Four major bioactive compounds from seaweeds which have the potential as anti-obesity agents are fucoxanthin, alginates, fucoidans and phlorotannins.

The anti-obesity effects of such compounds are due to several mechanisms, which include the inhibition of lipid (fat) absorption and metabolism (e.g., fucoxanthin and fucoidans), effect on satiety "hunger" feeling (e.g., alginates), and inhibition of adipocyte (fat cells) differentiation (e.g., fucoxanthin).

Such compounds could be useful as nutraceuticals or dietary supplements for body weight and obesity management.


Chu Wan-Loy, et. al. Marine Algae as a Potential Source for Anti-Obesity Agents. Marine Drugs, 12/7/2016. (pdf below for download)

Marine Algae as a Potential Source for Anti-Obesity Agents
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Klaus W. lange, et. al. Dietary seaweeds and obesity . Food Science and Wellness. 3/8/2015. (pdf below for download)

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Xiaoqian Hu, et. al. Marine-derived bioactive compounds with anti-obesity effect: A review. Journal of Functional Foods 21 ( 2 0 1 6 ) 372–387. (pdf below for download)

Marine-derived bioactive compounds with anti-obesity effect_A review
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David Houghton, et. al. Method for quantifying alginate and determining release from a food vehicle in gastrointestinal digesta. Food Chemistry 151 (2014) 352–357. (pdf below for download)

Method for quantifying alginate and determining release from a food vehicle in gastrointes
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