Effect of alginate supplementation on weight loss in obese subjects completing a 12-wk energy-restricted diet: a randomized controlled trial

Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Jul;96(1):5-13. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.025312. Epub 2012 May 30.


Background: Acute studies with alginate-based preloads suggested that these strong gelling fibers may induce increased feelings of satiety and reduce energy intakes. However, the long-term efficacy and safety of alginate supplementation on body weight regulation are lacking.

Objective: The primary aim of the study was to investigate the effects in subjects of alginate supplementation in conjunction with energy restriction (-300 kcal/d) on loss of body weight and fat and, second, on metabolic risk markers in comparison with in a placebo group.

Design: In a parallel, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, we randomly assigned 96 obese subjects to either an energy-restricted diet plus a placebo preload supplement or an energy-restricted diet plus an alginate-based preload supplement (15 g fiber). The preload was administered as a beverage 3 times/d before main meals for a period of 12 wk.

Results: No differences in loss of body weight and fat between groups were shown in the intension-to-treat (ITT) analysis (P > 0.1). However, in the completer analysis (n = 80), we showed a greater weight loss with alginate (6.78 ± 3.67 kg) than with the placebo (5.04 ± 3.40 kg) (P = 0.03), which was mainly attributed to a reduction in the percentage of body fat (P = 0.03). In the ITT analysis, a larger decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure was shown in the placebo group than in the alginate group (P < 0.05). Plasma concentrations of glucose, insulin, C-reactive protein, and ghrelin, HOMA-IR, and lipid metabolism did not differ between treatment groups in the ITT analysis (P > 0.1).

Conclusion: These results suggest that alginate supplementation as an adjunct to energy restriction may improve weight loss in obese subjects who complete a 12-wk dietary intervention.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01231178.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Adult
  • Alginates / adverse effects
  • Alginates / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Beverages / adverse effects
  • Beverages / analysis
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diet, Reducing*
  • Dietary Fiber / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use*
  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Dietary Supplements* / analysis
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Glucuronic Acid / adverse effects
  • Glucuronic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Hexuronic Acids / adverse effects
  • Hexuronic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / immunology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity, Morbid / blood
  • Obesity, Morbid / diet therapy
  • Obesity, Morbid / immunology
  • Obesity, Morbid / metabolism
  • Patient Dropouts
  • Risk Factors
  • Weight Loss*


  • Alginates
  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • Glucuronic Acid

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01231178