Alginate is a seaweed extract and thickening agent
April 24 2016

Alginate is a common ingredient in foods like soups and jellies. It's also increasingly used by the weight loss industry, marketed as an appetite suppressant .Packaged in powder form and mixed with liquid, alginate expands in the stomach to form a thick gel, mimicking the effect of a large meal.

Weight loss benefit, how it helps
Researchers divided 96 generally healthy but obese people, aged 20 to 55, into two groups. One group was given packets of the gel supplement, containing 15 grams of fiber, and the other got a seaweed-free placebo drink. For three months, study participants drank the supplements, dissolved in two cups of water, 30 minutes before each meal. They were also told to cut back on calories. By the end of the trial, sixteen people had dropped out of the study, including 10 out of 48 from the seaweed group, according to findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Among people who stuck with the trial, those on the fiber supplement lost 15 pounds, on average, compared to 11 pounds in the placebo group. But when all 96 original participants were included in the analysis, the researchers found no significant difference in weight loss between the two treatment groups.

Research
Pharmazie. 2014. Biopolymeric alginate-chitosan nanoparticles as drug delivery carriers for cancer therapy. Nanoparticulate drug delivery systems enhance cancer treatment by direct entry of nanometer particles into the fenestration in the vasculature of cancer cells. Nanoparticles for encapsulation of anticancer drugs are preferably prepared using natural polymers as carriers, with polysaccharides being particularly favorable. Alginate and chitosan polysaccharides have been widely used in nanoparticulate drug delivery systems because of their biodegradable, biocompatible, non-toxic and bioadhesive properties.