Alginate supplement may fill you up for longer: Study

By Stephen Daniells

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Alginate supplement may fill you up for longer: Study
Supplementing meals with solutions containing alginates from seaweed may increase the feeling of fullness and decrease subsequent energy intake, says a new study from Denmark.

Five or ten grams of alginates consumed as a ready-to-drink beverage reduced subsequent energy intake by 10%, scientists from the University of Copenhagen report in Food Chemistry​.

The ingredients (all supplied by Cargill) are said to offer potential weight management effects by forming a gel that is slow to empty from the stomach and that the efficacy of the alginates is dependent on the ratio of mannuronic to guluronic acids – the building blocks of the alginates’ structure.

The new study is said to be the first to investigate how this ratio of mannuronic to guluronic acids affects satiety.

Alginate potential

Several groups and enterprises are exploring the potential of alginates-containing products to enhance satiety and offer weight management potential. In 2007 researchers from the University of Buffalo in collaboration with McNeil Nutritionals​ reported on the potential of an alginate-pectin product to reduce energy intake between lunch and dinner (Am. J. Clin. Nutr​., Vol. 86, pp. 1595-1602).

Scientists from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University​ have also reported the potential of a novel beverage containing sodium alginate to slow the emptying of the stomach and prolong the feeling of fullness (Appetite​, Vol. 51, pp. 713-719; Nutrition Research​, Vol 28, pp. 501-505).

Market potential

With the World Health Organization estimating that by 2015, there will be more than 1.5 billion overweight consumers, the opportunities for a scientifically-substantiated weight management product are impressive.

The market for food, beverage and supplement weight management products is already valued at $3.64bn (2009 figures) in the US, according to Euromonitor. In Western Europe, the market was worth $1.3bn in 2009.

New data

Led by Georg Jensen from the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Copenhagen, the researchers investigated the effects of three alginates – SatialgineS20, AlgogelDPG JO, and SatialgineDPT JO, all supplied by Cargill – to influence satiety and energy intake in eight test subjects.

Alginate solutions were prepared that had ratios of mannuronic to guluronic acids (M:G) of 2.5 and 0.8. Data showed that the M:G ratio of 0.8 produced the strongest gel.

The subjects were given an alginate beverage 30 minutes before breakfast and another one 2 hours before lunch.

Results showed that the stronger gel beverage decreased the self-perceived capacity for food intake and increased the feeling of fullness, compared with the beverage formulated with the alginate with a ratio of M:G of 2.5.

Moreover, energy intake decreased by 10% after consuming the alginate formulation with low M:G, compared with high M:G, said the researchers.

“These preliminary results form a basis for further investigation of this specific alginate within the nutritional science field of appetite regulation, conducted as larger scale meal tests and with appropriate control of preload.”

Source: Food Chemistry
Volume 132, Issue 2, Pages 823-829, doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2011.11.042
“Functionality of alginate based supplements for application in human appetite regulation”
Authors: M.G. Jensen, J.C. Knudsen, N. Viereck, M. Kristensen, A. Astrup

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