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Seaweed and Weight Loss

A link between seaweed and weight loss has been discovered by Japanese researchers. This may help in the fight against obesity.

Scientists from Hokkaido University have isolated a pigment in brown kelp called fucoxanthin. Fucoxanthin has been proved effective in stimulating weight loss in rats.

The rats lost up to 10% of their body weight during the trial. They lost fat mostly from around the abdomen.

The findings have been presented to the American Chemical Society in San Fransisco. And the researchers are hopeful that fucoxanthin can be developed into a drug or supplement. This drug or supplement can aid in weight loss.

So, is this a significant breakthrough? Or is it just another premature research finding? We have to wait to see any further study and results on human kind.

Seaweed and Weight Loss – How Does it Work…?

Fucoxanthin is found in high levels in types of brown seaweed, but is absent from red and green seaweeds.

All are common in the Japanese diet. Brown seaweed is an ingredient in miso soup.

Now drinking lots of miso soup won’t have the desired effect according to the researchers. As fucoxanthin is not easily absorbed by the body in its natural state as it’s bound tightly to the seaweed’s protein molecules.

However, they isolated it, gave it to 200 rats and mice and then studied the effects.

The researchers concluded that in obese rats and mice, fucoxanthin stimulated the production of a protein called UCP1, which appears to stimulate fat metabolism and breaks down body fat.

They also found that fucoxanthin caused the liver to produce docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It is a fatty acid that is one of the active ingredients in omega-3 fatty acids.

As well as helping to reduce levels of LDLs, a ‘bad’ cholesterol – DHA is also thought to be partly responsible for the link between omega 3 and weight loss.

UCP1 is found in white adipose tissue. The fat found in the abdomen that when deposited is responsible for an expanding midriff. The most dangerous place to put on weight given the links between waist size and heart disease.

From a health perspective, not only may fucoxanthin aid with weight loss, but it might also reduce the risk of heart disease and other obesity related diseases like diabetes.

The researchers reported no side effects in the rats and mice studied. But the result in human body, still need further research.

Seaweed and Weight Loss – Does it Work…?

Firstly, this is a limited trial and whilst fucoxanthin may have produced weight loss in the lab rats. There’s limited evidence to prove that it will in humans.

The researchers were also clear that a further three to five years research was needed. It is important to investigate the weight loss benefits in people before any supplements or drugs could be developed, trialed and marketed.

It’s a long way from becoming the next anti-obesity pill!

Whatsmore, the weight loss of up to 10% produced in the test rats is similar to existing weight loss drugs like sibutramine (Meridia, Reductil)orlistat (Xenical) and rimonobant (Acomplia).

Whilst the link between seaweed and weight loss is far from certain, expect to see loads of supplements containing this latest ‘wonder weight loss ingredient’ to hit the shelves.

We tried our best to find out any valid link between Seaweed and weight loss for human. But no further research or development found. So, we wouldn’t recommend any supplement or drug to use as weight loss material. You can easily ignore if anyone or any company claims that their seaweed supplements or drugs help in weight loss.

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