Seaweed and scallop capsules may aid weight loss: Study

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Omega-3 fatty acid Fat Adipose tissue

Bioactive capsules made from brown seaweed lipids and omega-3 rich scallop by-products may reduce body weight and fat mass, according to a new research in mice.

The effects of omega-3 from scallop by-products and fucoxanthin from wakame seaweed can be combined to produce significant reductions in body weight and white adipose tissue, suggests the study published in the Journal of Food Science.

“These results suggest that incorporation of wakame seaweed lipids into scallop-derived phospholipids by means of capsulation may lead to an additive increase in the anti-obesity properties of these bioactive lipids,”​ concluded the Japanese researchers, led by Tomoko Okada from Department of Food Science at Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine.

Fighting fat

The consumption of EPA and DHA are linked to several health benefits, including improving of lipid metabolism, preventing coronary heart diseases, and reducing inflammatory responses. In addition, omega-3s have been suggested to reduce fat levels in animals fed a high-fat diet.

Fucoxanthin, is a carotenoid found naturally in edible brown seaweeds like wakame (Undaria pinnatifida​) and hijiki (Hijikia fusiformis).​ Previous research has found that fucoxanthin isolated from wakame can aid the loss of abdominal fat in mice.

The authors said that since that both fucoxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids show encouraging anti-obesity activity, the incorporation of wakame seaweed lipids into omega-3 rich phospholipids could enhance the benefits for fat metabolism and weight loss.

Okada and colleagues reported that scallop by-products such as scallop viscera contain a high concentration of proteins and phospholipids, including a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which may be suitable for use as a weight loss supplement.

Based on previous research findings, the researchers developed a capsule containing omega-3-rich scallop phospholipids with an incorporation of wakame lipids containing fucoxanthin.

Study details

The new research reports to be the first to develop “a novel encapsulation technique utilizing scallop-derived phospholipids with subsequent incorporation of wakame seaweed lipids.” ​The researchers investigated the anti-obesity effect of these bioactive lipids in an encapsulated form using a mouse model.

Combinations of wakame seaweed lipids and omega-3-rich scallop viscera phospholipids were reported to have an additive effect when compared to single administrations of either lipid.

Significant reductions in body weight and total white adipose tissue, compared to the control group, were observed with supplementation of wakame lipids alone and wakame lipids plus scallop omega-3 phospholipids in a capsule.

The researchers suggested the observed reductions in body weight were likely due to the observed increases in uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) expression and higher levels of UCP1 mRNA in fat tissue. The authors noted that the increased expression UCP1 in adipose tissues “is linked to reductions in adipose tissue mass, leading to an encouraging antiobesity effect.”

Source: Journal of Food Science
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01878.x
“Antiobesity Effects of Undaria Lipid Capsules Prepared with Scallop Phospholipids”
Authors: T. Okada, Y. Mizuno, S. Sibayama, M. Hosokawa, K. Miyashita

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