Kappaphycus alvarezii as a Food Supplement Prevents Diet-Induced Metabolic Syndrome in Rats

Nutrients. 2017 Nov 17;9(11):1261. doi: 10.3390/nu9111261.


The red seaweed, Kappaphycus alvarezii, was evaluated for its potential to prevent signs of metabolic syndrome through use as a whole food supplement. Major biochemical components of dried Kappaphycus are carrageenan (soluble fiber ~34.6%) and salt (predominantly potassium (K) 20%) with a low overall energy content for whole seaweed. Eight to nine week old male Wistar rats were randomly divided into three groups and fed for 8 weeks on a corn starch diet, a high-carbohydrate, high-fat (H) diet, alone or supplemented with a 5% (w/w) dried and milled Kappaphycus blended into the base diet. H-fed rats showed symptoms of metabolic syndrome including increased body weight, total fat mass, systolic blood pressure, left ventricular collagen deposition, plasma triglycerides, and plasma non-esterified fatty acids along with fatty liver. Relative to these obese rats, Kappaphycus-treated rats showed normalized body weight and adiposity, lower systolic blood pressure, improved heart and liver structure, and lower plasma lipids, even in presence of H diet. Kappaphycus modulated the balance between Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in the gut, which could serve as the potential mechanism for improved metabolic variables; this was accompanied by no damage to the gut structure. Thus, whole Kappaphycus improved cardiovascular, liver, and metabolic parameters in obese rats.

Keywords: Kappaphycus alvarezii; carrageenan; inflammation; metabolic syndrome; obesity; potassium; red seaweed; salt.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose
  • Body Composition
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena / drug effects
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / anatomy & histology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Liver / anatomy & histology
  • Liver / physiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Rats
  • Rhodophyta*


  • Blood Glucose