Many of us fall into a sobering pattern this time of year. We vow to lose weight during the new year. We hit the gym hard. We cut carbs, sugars and fats for a few weeks. Then, we skip a day and start a spiral that ends with a return to the familiarity of the living room sofa with a smorgasbord of junk food. It’s more than a minor blow to the ego.
What’s reassuring is that research suggests weight management was always going to be an uphill battle. Human bodies are meant to retain extra fat for the lean times when food sources are unavailable. Account for all the different factors that increase the difficulty of shedding those pesky pounds (age, gender, body size and genes), and it’s no wonder the process ends up in frustration.
However, there are natural remedies that can help to alleviate weight-management woes. In fact, a variety of seaweed species can offer some relief and enhance natural metabolic processes. Here is what you need to know about using a kelp diet supplement to lose weight this New Year.
Does Kelp Help with Weight Management? Let’s Look at the Science
As we mentioned above, some of the most significant barriers to weight management stem from biological or genetical factors. Yet on the inverse side, nutritionists and nutraceutical companies can use the same scientific approach to identify foods or supplement ingredients that maximize the potential of the body’s natural systems, especially if those raw ingredients have metabolic and anti-obesity properties.
Seaweed has both the above qualities in abundance. Brown seaweed generally contains higher levels of iodine, which the thyroid gland uses to accelerate metabolism. When calories are converted into energy rapidly, people will find less of a steep incline to keep off their extra pounds.
Another key element of seaweed’s weight management potential comes in the form of four organic compounds that behave as anti-obesity agents within the human body:
- Fucoxanthin – This carotenoid pigmentation found in brown seaweeds absorbs lipid, regulates metabolism and inhibits the differentiation of adipocytes (which are specialized cells storing fat).
- Alginates – Also known as alginic acid, this polysaccharide impacts the feelings of satiety that people have after they’ve consumed food. This is key when trying to suppress the urge to snack.
- Fucoidans – A polysaccharide found in the cell walls of brown seaweeds, fucoidan manages to inhibit lipid absorption and speed up metabolic processes in the human body.
- Phlorotannins – For anyone looking to prevent fat absorption, this organic compound found in brown seaweed does so by inhibiting pancreatic lipase, preventing lipids from accumulating.
All these factors combined have the potential to simplify the struggle against weight management, yet the question remains: how are they working in the real-world?
What the Studies about Seaweed and Weight Management Say
Nutritional researchers have been eager to test the abilities of seaweed as an anti-obesity agent, and there are a multitude of trials testing out their effectiveness. Here are two promising examples of their success:
Fucoxanthin and Weight Management
Xanthigen, a weight-management supplement made in part from the fucoxanthin in brown seaweeds, was tested on women struggling with obesity. Over the course of their sixteen-week, double-blind study, participants were either given the fucoxanthin-derived supplement or a placebo. The women who took Xanthigen experienced a statistically significant reduction in of body weight, waist circumference and liver fat content.
Alginate and Energy Intake
Hoping to explore the satiation promised by alginate, researchers conducted a study of overweight but otherwise healthy adult males to see the effect of this brown seaweed polysaccharide. Fed at breakfast a type of bread enriched with Ascophyllum nodosum, participants in the test group experienced a 16.4% reduction in energy intake during a test meal four hours later. Larger trials may reveal greater potential in the future.
Even with these early trials, there’s still more potential for nutraceutical companies to explore the full potential of kelp as a weight management supplement. If they do, people might be able to have their cake and eat it too without retaining as much weight – if they take a brown seaweed supplement.
Does kelp help with weight management? Slate some time to talk with our seaweed experts about using our Acadian SeaPlus products as a supplement for your customers.