|Image 1: The small amounts of sodium-alginate, aka E401 many chocolates and commercially produced foods contain is obviously not enough to ward off obesity. Otherwise the obesity rates should have fallen not risen with the increase in crappy foods.|
Contrary to the good old (and certainly not obsolete) stims, these new "fat burners" act on the gut-brain axis, instead of HPA (the hypothalamus-pituatary-adrenal axis), by stimulating the release of a whole host of peptides from the gut. Among those, the incretin hormones GLP-1 & co. (cf. "Eat More, Burn More and Lose Fat Like on Crack with GLP-1!?") are probably the best understood among these mis-understood "satiety hormones" with their profound downstream effects on overall energy expenditure, glucose and fatty acid metabolism (Mudaliar. 2012).
Is alginate, a polysaccharide from marine brown algae, a novel "fat burning fiber"?
Next to designer-starches such as WM-HDP there is also an increasing interest in the effects natural fiber / fiber extracts, such as the 15g alginate from brown algae the obese subjects (0–55y; BMI 30-45kg/m²) in a recent study from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark had to consume before each of their three meals in the course of a 12-week double-blind randomized parallel-intervention (Jenson. 2012), exert on the endocrine signals from your gut.
Lose more weight, more fat and do this at a constant rate beyond week 9!
Despite the fact that onlye the differences between the reduction in total weight and body fat percentage reached statistical significance, this and the absence of the "weight loss plateau" in week 9+ (see figure 1, right) in the alginate group clearly suggest that much contrary to what Jenson et al. had apprehended, the previously demonstrated short-term weight loss benefits of fibrous algae extract and other dietary fiber (Paxman. 2008; Odunsi. 2010; Peters. 2011; Wanders. 2011) did not disappear after an initial adaptation phase. On the contrary! The 40% greater reduction in body weight, as well as the 36% greater reduction in body fat percentage would be of little value if the body weight stagnated after only -6.78kg weight loss in week 9 and left the dieters with an average BMI of 32kg/m² well in the obesity / danger zone.
Bottom line useful for the obese, safe, well tolerated, but...
|Image 3: Duong Nguyen from the first installment of the SuppVersity Student Spotlight at the beginning and end of his amazing 12-week transformation!|
As usual we do however have to remember that the subjects in this study were more than just a little chubby, with body fat percentages in the >40% range a reduction of -5.8% (control) and -8.2% (alginate) is easier achieved than a (from a merely mathematical standpoint) equal -12% of the body fat content from 12% to 10%. So, while healthy dieters don't have to care about the minimal, but statistically significantly lower reduction in blood pressure in response to weight loss with sodium-alginate (the scientists ascribe this to the relatively high sodium content of the alginate supplement), the will probably not benefit in the same way as Jenson's obese subjects from the additional 45g of fiber per day. Well, unless, it exerts similar effects effects as they have been observed for hydroxypropyl-distarches (cf. "Waxy Maize Reloaded") on the expression of GIP, GLP-1 and the whole host of the initially mentioned incretin hormones, and adipokines (Sánchez. 2012) and don't just curb appetite and slow digestion.
If it had all those GBA (gut brain axis ;-) effects, seaweed derived sodium-alginate supplements could however make an ideal adjunct to a ~20% reduction in food intake, a reasonable fat loss workout (e.g. "Step By Step Guide to Your Own Workout Routine - Part V: Example Routines - Round 2: Fat Loss Support Routine") and a stimulant-based fat burner of your choice, whenever you strive to cut a few pounds of body weight. I mean, just imagine if Duong (see image 3), who likewise dieted for 12 weeks would have lost 35% more fat mass - yeah you're right, he would probably have been "disgustingly" lean, as Adelfo likes to call it ;-)
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