The present study was carried out to evaluate the physiological effects of seaweed supplementation on blood glucose levels, lipid profile, and antioxidant enzyme activities in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Subjects were randomized into either a control group or a seaweed supplementation group. Pills with equal parts of dry powdered sea tangle and sea mustard were provided to the seaweed supplementation group three times a day for 4 weeks. Total daily consumption of seaweed was 48 g. We found that total dietary fiber intake was 2.5 times higher in subjects receiving seaweed supplementation than in the control group. Accordingly, fasting blood glucose levels (p<0.01) and 2-hour postprandial blood glucose measurements (p<0.05) were decreased significantly in those ingesting seaweed. Furthermore, the serum concentrations of triglycerides were decreased and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was increased significantly in seaweed supplement group (p<0.05). However, the concentrations of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol were not affected by seaweed supplementation. The level of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances in erythrocytes was significantly lower with seaweed supplementation compared to controls (p<0.05). Catalase and glutathione peroxidase activities with seaweed supplementation were higher than the controls (p<0.05), but superoxide dismutase activity was not affected. We, therefore, conclude that ingestion of seaweed influences glycemic control, lowers blood lipids, and increases antioxidant enzyme activities.
Keywords: Seaweed; antioxidant enzyme activities; blood lipid levels; glycemic control.