Quantifying the Effect of Supplementation with Algae and Its Extracts on Glycolipid Metabolism: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Nutrients. 2020 Jun 8;12(6):1712. doi: 10.3390/nu12061712.


Aims: The effect of algae and its extract supplementation on glycolipid metabolism has not been finalized. Therefore, the purpose of the meta-analyses was to assess the effects of its supplementation on glycolipid metabolism concentration.

Methods: We have systematically searched PubMed, Web of Science, the Cochrane Library and Embase to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that investigated the impact of algae and its extracts supplementation on glycolipid metabolism. Effect size analysis was performed using weighted mean difference (WMD) and 95% CI between the methods of the experiment group and the control group. Subgroup analyses were performed to explore the possible influences of study characteristics. Publication bias and sensitivity analysis were also performed.

Results: A total of 27 RCTs (31 trials) with 1221 participants were finally selected for the meta-analysis. The algae and its extract intervention significantly decreased glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c, WMD = -0.18%; 95% CI: -0.27 to -0.10; p < 0.001), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C, WMD = -0.22 mmol/L; 95% CI: -0.38 to -0.06; p = 0.008), and triglycerides (TC, WMD = -0.31 mmol/L; 95% CI: -0.37 to -0.25; p < 0.001) levels and increased insulin (WMD = 6.05 pmol/mL; 95% CI: 4.01 to 8.09; p < 0.001) levels. It did not significantly change the blood glucose, homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR), 2-h post-meal blood glucose (2hPBG) and other lipid profiles. Subgroup analyses based on the duration of intervention and subjects demonstrated that the intervention of algae and its extracts for 10 weeks or fewer and more than 40 subjects decreased TC levels (p < 0.05). Moreover, the intervention reduced TC and 2hPBG concentrations for East Asians (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Our findings provided evidence that algae and its extract interventions were beneficial for the regulation of human glycolipid metabolism. More precise RCTs on subjects are recommended to further clarify the effect of algae, seaweed polysaccharide, seaweed polypeptide, algae polyphenol and its products intervention on glycolipid metabolism.

Keywords: algae; blood glucose; glycolipid metabolism; lipid profiles; meta-analyses.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Asians
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Glycolipids / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Postprandial Period
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Seaweed / chemistry*
  • Stramenopiles / chemistry*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycolipids
  • Plant Extracts
  • Triglycerides