Daily ingestion of alginate reduces energy intake in free-living subjects

Appetite. 2008 Nov;51(3):713-9. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2008.06.013. Epub 2008 Jul 4.


Sodium alginate is a seaweed-derived fibre that has previously been shown to moderate appetite in models of acute feeding. The mechanisms underlying this effect may include slowed gastric clearance and attenuated uptake from the small intestine. In order to assess whether alginate could be effective as a means of appetite control in free-living adults, 68 males and females (BMI range: 18.50-32.81 kg/m(2)) completed this randomised, controlled two-way crossover intervention to compare the effects of 7 day daily ingestion of a strong-gelling sodium alginate formulation against a control. A sodium alginate with a high-guluronate content was chosen because, upon ingestion, it forms a strong gel in the presence of calcium ions. Daily preprandial ingestion of the sodium alginate formulation produced a significant 134.8 kcal (7%) reduction in mean daily energy intake. This reduced energy intake was underwritten by significant reductions in mean daily carbohydrate, sugar, fat, saturated fat and protein intakes. The absence of any significant interaction effects between the main effect of preload type and those of gender, BMI classification and/or timing of preload delivery indicates the efficacy of this treatment for individuals in different settings. These findings suggest a possible role for a strong-gelling sodium alginate formulation in the future management of overweight and obesity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alginates / administration & dosage
  • Alginates / pharmacology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Calcium / chemistry
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / pharmacology*
  • Energy Intake / drug effects*
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / drug effects*
  • Gels
  • Glucuronic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Glucuronic Acid / pharmacology
  • Hexuronic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Hexuronic Acids / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Weight Loss / drug effects
  • Young Adult


  • Alginates
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Gels
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • Glucuronic Acid
  • Calcium