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11.07.2013


Gelidium elegans, the slimming algae

You have probably never heard of the alga Gelidium elegans. Nevertheless, the food industry has been processing this alga for decades in countless products. If fat people ingest 3 pills with Gelidium elegans extract every day, they slowly but surely lose body fat - without having to change their way of life. South Korean pharmacologists at Yonsei University in Seoul write this in Nutrients.

Study
The researchers experimented with 94 test subjects aged 19-50. The test subjects were healthy, their BMI varied from 23 to 30. They were overweight.

For 12 weeks, a control group took 3 tablets without active substances every day. The experimental group also took 3 tablets daily, but contained an extract of Gelidium elegans. In total, the subjects used one gram of extract per day.

The extract was produced by the Korean health food ingredient company Newtree. [newtree.co.kr] However, Newtree did not pay for the study. The researchers were financed by the Korean government.


Gelidium elegans, the slimming algae
Gelidium elegans, the slimming algae


Gelidium elegans
Gelidium elegans is a red algae. It is found in the oceans around countries such as Korea and Japan. The food industry uses Gelidium elegans to extract agar-agar, a food thickener and an alternative to gelatin. Agar-agar mainly consists of polysaccharides, but also contains flavonoids such as rutin and hesperidin, and sterols such as fucosterol.

Korean scientists suspect that extracts of Gelidium elegans - in the form of supplements or functional foods - can help combat obesity. In animal studies, these extracts do indeed have a slimming effect. [Nutrients. 2018 Jan 6;10(1).] [Nutrients. 2017 Mar 30;9(4).]

That slimming effect is the result of inhibiting PPAR-gamma and sterol regulatory element-binding transcription factor-1 (SREBP-1) by Gelidium elegans compounds in the fat cell, the Koreans think.

Results
The Gelidium elegans group lost 1.17 kilos. Supplementation reduced their waist by 1.12 centimeters.


Gelidium elegans, the slimming algae


The researchers studied the fat in the subjects' abdomen using scans, and saw that the users of the Gelidium elegans extract lost a little belly fat and subcutaneous fat. That effect was significant - even when the researchers corrected for energy intake and exercise.


Gelidium elegans, the slimming algae


Gelidium elegans, the slimming algae


In the subjects' blood, the Koreans monitored the values ​​for glucose, insulin, HOMA-IR, HOMA-B and hs-CRP. Gelidium elegans had no effect on these parameters.

Conclusion
"In conclusion, our findings indicated that Gelidium elegans extract intake might have a beneficial effect in ameliorating body weight, total fat mass, subcutaneous fat, visceral fat, [...] in overweight and obese individuals regardless of whether these individuals change their lifestyle to reduce body weight", the Koreans summarize.

"However, to confirm the efficacy of Gelidium elegans extract against obesity or fat accumulation, further studies are necessary to investigate whether these effects can be obtained even over long-term administration."

Source:
Nutrients. 2019 Jul 3;11(7).

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