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Brown seaweed emerges as a potent ally in diabetes control

In a recent study published within the journal Nutrients, researchers at Seoul National University of Science and Technology conducted a meta-analysis to analyze the professionals and cons of brown seaweed consumption (BSC) as a management intervention against diabetes. They collated and analyzed 23 prior publications on the subject and located that BSC is an efficient dietary complement against each type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk and as an intervention to regular blood glucose levels in patients affected by the condition. Glucose and T2D metrics, including hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), postprandial blood glucose, and HOMA-IR (fasting blood glucose × fasting insulin/constant), all depicted significantly improved outcomes on brown seaweed intake compared to regulate who didn’t eat the dietary component. These findings highlight brown seaweed as a natural, secure, and relatively inexpensive alternative to traditional T2D clinical interventions.



Study: Brown Seaweed Consumption as a Promising Strategy for Blood Glucose Management: A Comprehensive Meta-Evaluation. Image Credit: ChWeiss / Shutterstock

T2D and dietary interventions against the condition

Recent shifts in diets and reductions in physical activity levels have resulted in a significantly increased risk of chronic diseases, including cancers, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), and diabetes. Research has revealed that the mixture of poor dietary behaviors and sedentary lifestyles are the first contributing aspects in type two diabetes (T2D) risk, with over 90% of T2D cases occurring in individuals with abnormally high body mass indexes (BMIs).

Diabetes, characterised by an impaired ability of the body to process sugars, affects 10.5% of all adults, making it some of the prevalent chronic ailments on the earth today. T2D represents 98% of all diabetes cases and is estimated to affect 530 million people globally, with numbers rising by the yr. That is alarming, on condition that T2D is related to a number of doubtless lethal comorbidities, including cancers and CVD. While the condition can’t be permanently cured, T2D management involves the usage of insulin, metformin, and various oral sulfonylureas.

Recent research has increasingly revealed the advantages of dietary interventions in reducing T2M risk and treating the condition once acquired. The Mediterranean weight loss plan and its derivatives have proven particularly effective in enhancing the positive outcomes of clinical T2D interventions. Unfortunately, most oral anti-diabetics are expensive and have been related to a plethora of unwanted side effects. Bioprospecting for novel, natural anti-diabetics can have found success on the earth’s oceans, with recent research suggesting that a few of the hundreds of species of brown seaweed found therein may present natural and side-effect-free alternatives to traditional T2D therapy.

Consumed throughout history, especially in Asia, brown seaweed is hypothesized to have a number of health advantages, including anti-diabetic. Seaweeds are wealthy in proteins, dietary fiber, carotenoids, polysaccharides, and polyphenols, which the West is rapidly converting into powers and pills to combat various diseases or simply as a dietary complement. Hitherto, reviews and meta-analyses synthesizing the advantages of brown seaweed as an anti-diabetic stays lacking. A review would higher equip clinicians and T2D patients with the data needed to permit for the incorporation of brown algae into their regular health behavior routines.

In regards to the study

In the current study, researchers scanned and collated data from five online databases with the aim of analyzing randomized controlled trials (RCTs) testing the associations between brown seaweed and helpful T2D outcomes. PubMed, Google Scholar, ScienceDirect, RISS, and the Cochrane Library were perused from their inception till May 2023, revealing 15,137 potential publications for this meta-analysis.

Inclusion criteria followed PICO (Population, Intervention, Comparison, End result) principles, with ‘populations’ referring to participants at T2D risk (prediabetic) or those affected by the condition. ‘Interventions’ comprised the outcomes of brown seaweed or its extracts. The ‘comparisons’ included on this study were placebos. Finally, the ‘outcomes’ measured herein were the findings of including RCTs.

Title and abstract screening excluded 14,967 publications, further narrowed all the way down to 23 on full-text screening. Data collected from included studies comprised the writer’s name, yr of publication, RCT design, materials and methods, duration of intervention, and participant counts. The Cochrane Collaboration Risk of Bias tool was used to judge bias risk in included manuscripts and adjust analyses accordingly. The Comprehensive Meta-Evaluation (CMA) was used for quantitative meta-analyses of included studies.

Study findings

Regardless that brown seaweed didn’t significantly alter the fasting blood insulin (FBI), an almost 16.5% reduction in fasting blood glucose (FBG) was observed. Postprandial blood glucose levels (collected at 60, 90, and 120 min following exposure) depicted similar helpful outcomes, with a discount in blood glucose observed in any respect analyzed time points.

Analyses of the Homeostasis Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) and HbA1c revealed significant reductions in each, with results consistent for all subgroups consuming at the least 1000 mg/day of seaweed or seaweed extract.

“Specifically, for HbA1c, a considerable reduction was noted within the group that consumed each Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus (95% CI [−0.433 (0.652, −0.233)], p = 0.002, I2 = 35.63). Furthermore, significant reductions were observed in postprandial blood glucose levels at 90 and 120 min within the groups that consumed Ecklonia cava, Laminaria digitata, and Undaria pinnatifida compared to the control group.”

Journal reference:

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