Influence on glycemic control

Dilution and slowing down the action of carbohydrases in the gut by seaweed fiber would have a positive impact on regulating the blood glucose level. Therefore, control of starch digestion in the diet can help to control blood glucose in type II diabetes. Five grams of sodium alginate administered daily to type II diabetic patients was found to prevent a postprandial increase of glucose and insulin, and to slow down gastric transit (Torsdottir et al., 1991). Hydrolysates of agar resulted in agaro-oligosaccharides possessing an activity against a-glucosidase (Chen et al., 2005). Moreover, Ascophyllum extracts at 50 mg/ml completely inhibited amylase activity. A meal supplemented with 5% alginates from brown seaweed decreased glucose absorption balance over 8 h in pigs, and much similar studies have been done on rats and humans (Vaugelade et al., 2000). The above findings suggest that seaweed fiber has an effective influence in inhibiting starch digestive enzymes at a very low level and maintains glycemic control in vivo.

Taking all the above discussed dietary functions of seaweed into consideration, it can be concluded that seaweed is a potential food to be added to the diet to enhance the human nutrition and digestive health.

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