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Brown Seaweed, a Highly Useful Element to Reduce Obesity and Related Health Disorders

I served the healthcare industry for more than 10 years, especially on herbal products. Here i am sharing my intakes to help readers.

Brown Seaweed is Useful for Obesity

Obesity is now a worldwide threat and its percentage is gradually increasing.

While some people around the world are adapting various diet methods and exercises, some are in search of a supplement.

By experiencing different adverse effects of these supplements a need is developed to find out an anti-obesity agent from natural sources.

Marine seaweed is experimented and scientists identified its 4 elements which have tremendous potential to help in reducing extra fat through mechanisms of developing food satiation and inhibiting lipid absorption.

These elements are .Alginates, Fucoidans, Fucoxanthin and Phlorotannin.



Mechanisms of Brown Seaweed to Reduce Fat

1.How do Alginates work

Alginates contain Dietary fibers which take time to get digested. So they suppress appetite and person does not feel hungry for long time. Thus frequency of food intake is well regulated. Regulation of food intake has a significant effect on controlling obesity.

2.How do Fucoidans work

Fucoidans are a kind of polysaccharides which inhibits lipid formation and decrease total cholesterol level which are extremely harmful for an obese patient.

3.How do Fucoxanthins work

In weight loss journey dietary antioxidants are “must-take” inclusion. Fucoxanthin is a marine carotenoid which has strong antioxidant and metabolite properties. It is highly active in lipid metabolism. Moreover a combination with Linolic acid, one of the constituents of brown algae lowers Triacylglycerols, Glucose and Leptin. Thus dietary fucoxanthin is highly beneficial for restricting and reducing obesity.

4.How do Phlorotannins work

Phlorotannins are a kind of polyphenol which do not directly act as anti-obesity agents but restricts the disorders arising out for obesity. They restrict lipase formation in pancreases and adipocyte differentiation. Another important role is to prevent protein tyrosine phosphate 1B which disturbs regulation of insulin secretion.

wakame food salad

wakame food salad

A Clinical Study on Humans

A study was conducted by Institute of Nutrition and Functional Food, Laval University, Canada with an objective to see the effect of brown seaweed extract on obesity and glycemic control.

In this study the participants’ daily intake was restricted to 500Kcal without a cut in regular weight loss program usually they do.

2 pills of 500 mg were administered 30 minutes before meal on daily basis. Meals means breakfast, lunch and dinner. After 12 weeks following results are noted:

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  1. Glucose metabolism has improved
  2. Insulin secretion level was improved
  3. Body weight is reduced
  4. Body lean mass is well distributed
  5. Fat mass distribution is improved

Other Health Benefits of Brown Seaweed

Obesity disrupts the happiness of life and incurs huge medical expenditure by inviting several other health problems like- type 2 diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver, dyslipidemia and even cancer.

Brown seaweed takes care of these major health issues:

  1. Type2 Diabetes: Brown seaweed produce very low sugar. Moreover its Polyphenolic compounds lowers glucose level in blood stream and helps body cell to absorb it.
  2. Liver Fat: Brown seaweed is highly useful in eliminating fatty liver syndrome. Polysaccharides, especially fucoidan, laminarin and alginate inhibit fat accumulation in liver through the mechanism of regulating food intake, lowering fat absorption and helping a healthy regulation of gut micro-biota.
  3. Cardiovascular Disease: Brown seaweed is rich in soluble dietary fibers which are highly beneficial for heart health, additionally content of its omega 6 fatty acid lowers BP, increases blood fluidity and resists oxidative stresses. Other minerals like potassium, sodium, Iron , which too takes care of heart health.
  4. Improves Immunity: Brown seaweed improves immunity through restricting formation of carbon molecules which give birth of microorganisms (bacteria). Its polysaccharides improves digestion and prevents intestinal micro biota to produce carbon molecule from undigested food particles.
  5. Cancerous Growth: Several clinical studies have observed that the lamiranin and fucoidan found in brown seaweed has magical effect in restricting the growth of colorectal and breast cancer cells.
  6. Hypo-Thyroid: Brown seaweed is very rich in iodine. So it can be beneficial for hypothyroid patients.
Dried kelp leaf

Dried kelp leaf

What are Brown Seaweeds

Brown seaweed is algae. They grow in coastal parts as well as under deep sea in large plant form. Their forms vary from filamentous to large plant. Often their slippery filaments and leaves are washed up and seen on beaches.

There are around 1500 species found worldwide and their nutritional values also differ from places to places. Their color vary from brown to deep green depending upon the concentration of Fucoxanthin or Chlorophyll. Concentration of Fucoxanthin gives it brownish color.

It is popular in many Asian countries like, Japan, Korea, China and Thailand.

Some popular edible varieties are:

Wakame, Nori ( green nori is called sea lettuce), Kombu (Kelp family), Umibudo, Ogonori, Hijiki, Sea spaghetti, Mekabu, Mozuku.

Sea Spaghetti under sea water

Sea Spaghetti under sea water

In which Form it is sold

Brown seaweed is sold in Asian supermarkets or online market in several forms.

It is sold as raw ( dried ) or processed with some other nutrients. There are different categories also, some of them are edible where as some are for agriculture or cosmetic usage. Out of the various forms some popular ones are

  • Powder,
  • Flakes,
  • Liquid,
  • Sheet,
  • Capsule and
  • Dried whole leaf.

How to Consume Brown Seaweed

There are ample ways to consume it. Each variety has its own way of useage.

Some ready made products are found in supermarkets in the form of Jelly, jam, pickle, beverages or it comes in raw form also.

Raw powders can be sprinkled over food staff, its leaves can be soaked in water, then it is boiled and used in salads.

Soup can also be prepared. Thin foils are also sold, foils too are used in salads or sandwiches.

One can consume its capsule also.

Brown Seaweed Element List

Basic NutrientsMineralsVitaminsBio-active Elements


Potassium (K)


Dietary Fiber


Manganese (Mn)




Sodium (Na)



Omega 3 fatty acid

Calcium (Ca)


Omega 6 fatty acid

Iron (Fe)


Magnesium (Mg)


Iodin (I)

Polyphenolic Compounds

Nori flakes

Nori flakes

Is Brown Seaweed Safe to Consume

There is no enough scientific evidence about its side effects except one.

Brown seaweed is very rich in iodine. So it can be beneficial for hypothyroid patients. Here one precautionary measure is needed as over consumption of brown algae adds excess iodine which may lead to hypo or hyper thyroids, in a nutshell thyroid balance is compromised. So, hypothyroid patients should undergo regular check-up and consume it judiciously.

Reference and Acknowledgement

  1. (PMC article no. 5192459, 4344602, 7281670)


Facts and figures are as per author's personal experience and knowledge through several journals and articles. Author never advise to substitute his opinion with any professional healthcare person.

For easy understanding some products are shown as example, author has neither any intention to promote the brands nor any connection with the brands.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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