Seaweed: Weightoss Help From the Ocean

A seaweed-based fiber supplement, taken daily before meals, helped people lose weight in a newstudy funded by a Danish Company. The supplement is based on the seaweed extractalginate, a thickening agent and a common ingredient in foods like soups and jellies.

Seaweed is a wonder crop, with notable health benefits. For ages, the Asians have eaten foods wrapped in dried seaweed. The most popular edible seaweeds include deep green kombu, dried black hijiki, chewy red dulse, emerald wakame, bright, leafy sea lettuce, and dark, toasted nori.

Since seaweeds grows in the ocean, they contain essential amino acids, certain vitamins and minerals that aren’t as available in land-grown vegetables. This extra variety makes seaweed a good food to mix into your diet. They contain vitamins A (beta carotene) and C. Seaweeds are rich in potassiumiron,calcium, iodine and magnesium because these minerals are concentrated in sea water. They are also one of the few vegetable sources of vitamin B-12.

Seaweed & Weight loss:

The 12-week double-blind study, appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was completed by 80 obese individuals who were divided into two groups. Both groups consumed a calorie-restricted diet, but one group also consumed a placebo beverage three times daily before each meal while the other group consumed a beverage that contained the seaweed-based supplement.

At the end of 12 weeks, participants in the placebo group had lost an average of 5.04 kg (11.11 lb) while those in the seaweed supplement group lost an average of 6.78 kg (14.95 lb), for a difference of nearly 4 additional pounds lost in the seaweed group.

The seaweeds used in the supplement were Laminaria hyperborea and L. digitata. Both are species of a large brown alga and are found in the northern Atlantic Ocean. These brown alga contain a natural fiber called alginate, which is often used as a thickener and stabilizer in foods. Alginate has been shown to significantly reduce the amount of fat the body absorbs.

The seaweeds used in the supplement were Laminaria hyperborea and L. digitata. Both are species of a large brown alga and are found in the northern Atlantic Ocean. These brown alga contain a natural fiber called alginate, which is often used as a thickener and stabilizer in foods. Alginate has been shown to significantly reduce the amount of fat the body absorbs.

The Victoria Secret Model, Miranda Kerr banks on sea weed supplement. In the words of Miranda Kerr, “I like to start my day with a fresh pressed green juice with kale, cucumber, spinach, parsley and lemon. Half an hour later I like to make a smoothie with sun warrior protein powder, goggi berries, noni juice, viatmineral greens, chia seeds, bee pollen, raw cacao powder, macca powder and acai powder. I will then have organic eggs or oatmeal for breakfast. That works for me and is a great way to get my body started for the day. I believe breakfast is one of the most important meals in the day.”

Other Benefits of Seaweed

  • Amino Acid Booster:  Nori, a type of seaweed is composed of 30 to 50 percent protein. Most of the protein comes from the amino acids alanine, glutamic and glycine, which are also responsible for this seaweed’s distinctive flavor. Kombu contains approximately 10 percent protein.
  • Broadest range of minerals: Are an excellent source of the B-vitamin folate, andmagnesium, as well as a great source of iron, calcium, and the B-vitamins riboflavin and pantothenic acid. Brown seaweeds, such as kombu and hijiki, also contain iodine. Dulse is high in iron and also contains all the essential trace minerals known to be necessary in human nutrition.
  • Anti-cancerous: Seaweed contains significant amounts of lignans, which are plant compounds with cancer-protective properties. Lignans have been shown to inhibit angiogenesis, or blood cell growth, the process through which fast-growing tumors not only gain extra nourishment, but send cancer cells out in the bloodstream to establish secondary tumors or metastases in other areas of the body. In addition, lignans have been credited with inhibiting estrogen synthesis in fat cells as effectively as some of the drugs used in cancer chemotherapy. In postmenopausal women, fat tissue is a primary site where estrogen is synthesized, and high levels of certain estrogen metabolites are considered a significant risk factor for breast cancer.
  • Thyroid Health: The RDA of iodine is 150mcg for most adults. Large percentage of which comes from iodized salt, but as more people reduce the sodium in their diets, deficiencies could occur. That’s one important reason why seaweed is a great dietary addition — it’s one of the best food sources of iodine. Regularly including a variety of sea vegetables in your diet can help keep your thyroid working properly. An under-active thyroid can lead to weight gain, fatigue, cold sensitivity, loss of hair and slow pulse.
  • Anti-aging & Anti-cellulite skincare:  It can detoxify and cleanse, tone the skin, naturally smoothen and moisturize the skin. It has been known for a long time that seaweed is an emollient with smoothing, tissue renewal and anti-inflammatory properties that can have a positive effect on problems such as facial wrinkles. It acts as a moisturizer by its hydrating and protective action of forming a layer on the skin that reduces loss of skin moisture through evaporation. Essential Fatty Acids that are contained in Seaweed are a part of the lipid layer in your skin, and help maintain the suppleness and elasticity of skin.
  • Wound Healing: Seaweed Alginate is  used as a dressing for severe burns/wounds. The oils in seaweed have long been used to recuperate from illness, by detoxifying the body and helping the renewal of damaged skin cells. Seaweed was known as “Sailor’s Cure” by ancient mariners.
  • Reduced Cell Damage: Seaweeds contain Algal polyphenols & Carotenoids which have been proven to be powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that protect against cell damage inflicted by molecules called oxygen-free radicals, which are a major cause of disease and aging. Like beta carotene and vitamins C and E, polyphenols protects the cells in your body from an unstable form of oxygen called a free radical. The antioxidant combines with the free radical to prevent it from attaching to and damaging the cells in your body.
  • Reduced Birth Defects: Folic acid is abundant in sea vegetables and plays a number of other very important protective roles. Studies have demonstrated that adequate levels of folic acid in the diet is needed to prevent certain birth defects, including spina bifida.

The easiest way to eat seaweed is by using dried seaweed wrapper, the kind you find served in sushi restaurants. You can find packs of these wrappers (called “nori”) in most grocery stores.

Jensen MG et al. Effect of alginate supplementation on weight loss in obese subjects completing a 12-wk energy-restricted diet: a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2012 Jul


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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