Unlocking the potential of seaweeds as nutritional supplements

Seaweeds are seen as a new source of superfoods and nutritional supplements. If you are looking into seaweeds as nutritional supplements your next product, you might have a few questions, and we have some answers!

Which seaweed should we choose?

Did you know that there are over 10 000 species of seaweeds?

They are divided in three main types:

  • Brown seaweeds (±1800 species);
  • Red seaweeds (±6200 species);
  • Green seaweeds (±1800 species).

Their distinctive characteristic is their color, resulting from specific predominant pigments: Fucoxanthin in brown seaweeds, phycobiliproteins in red seaweeds, and chlorophylls in green seaweeds.

Are you looking to explore seaweed as health ingredients?

A good starting point is searching specific seaweeds of interest on the website algaebase.org, where you can find images, references and distribution information about almost 160 000 species and subspecies of seaweeds.

Recent scientific articles on seaweed use as drugs, functional foods or nutritional supplements

Exploring scientific studies on the subject is another way to find your next product development opportunity.

Here are five articles that may trigger some interest:

  1. In vitro and in vivo anti-inflammatory activities of a fucose-rich fucoidan isolated from Saccharina japonica

A fucoidan (LJSF4) purified from Saccharina japonica was found to show a strong anti-inflammatory effect via activity assay in lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced RAW 264.7 macrophage cells and zebrafish. The authors research indicated that LJSF4 has the potential to be developed as an anti-inflammatory agent applied in the functional food and cosmetic industries.

To read this article…

  1. Acute Post-Prandial Cognitive Effects of Brown Seaweed Extract in Humans

Few studies to date have explored the effect of seaweed extract on cognition. This randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel groups study examined the impact of a brown seaweed extract on cognitive function post-prandially in 60 healthy adults (N = 30 per group). The authors findings provide the first evidence for modulation of cognition with a seaweed extract.

To read this article…

  1. Seaweeds as a Functional Ingredient for a Healthy Diet

Polyphenols, polysaccharides, and sterols, as well as other bioactive molecules, are mainly responsible for the healthy properties associated with seaweed. If seaweeds are compared to terrestrial plants, they have a higher proportion of essential fatty acids as eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) fatty acids. In addition, there are several secondary metabolites that are synthesized by algae such as terpenoids, oxylipins, phlorotannins, volatile hydrocarbons, and products of mixed biogenetic origin. Therefore, algae can be considered as a natural source of great interest since they contain compounds with numerous biological activities and can be used as a functional ingredient in many technological applications to obtain functional foods.

To read this article…

  1. Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus on glycemic status and on endothelial damage markers in dysglycemic patients

The aim of this study was to evaluate a nutraceutical combination containing polyphenols extracted from Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus and chromium picolinate on glycemic status; secondary outcomes considered changes on endothelial markers. A reduction of high sensitivity C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor-α was recorded with the nutraceutical. The administration of a nutraceutical combination containing A. nodosum and F. vesiculosus can be helpful in improving insulin sensitivity and glycemic status.

To read this article…

  1. Antidiabetic Potential of Marine Brown Algae-a Mini Review

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder and the third leading cause of death worldwide due to lifestyle changes associated with rapid urbanization. Due to the adverse side effects of currently available antidiabetic drugs, search for an effective natural-based antidiabetic drug is important to combat diabetes and its complications. The review focuses on the different antidiabetic mechanisms of secondary bioactive compounds present in marine brown algae.

To read this article…

Which of these areas are you finding more appealing to use explore seaweed as nutritional supplements?

Feel free to contact me if you are looking to explore some of these emerging uses of seaweeds!