Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Seaweed May Be Useful in Weight Loss

Obesity drugs may someday become the important weight loss tool many believe they can be. With their ease of use, obesity drugs have an inherent advantage. However, these drugs, so far, have had associated side effects. But a fiber, found in a certain type of seaweed, may provide the ease-of-use advantage of obesity drugs without the accompanying side effects.

Researchers at New Castle University in the U.K. have found that the fiber, called Alginate, is found in commercially used seaweed -- and that the fiber can aid in weight loss. The seaweed fiber's effect is similar to that of the obesity drug Orlistat.

Both Orlistat and the seaweed fiber cause fat in the food we eat not to be absorbed by the body. Indeed, the seaweed fiber, a natural fibre found in sea kelp, stops the body from absorbing fat better than most anti-obesity treatments currently available over the counter."

In the past, obesity drugs have caused negative side effects for various users. For example, the drug Fen-phen was felt to be a useful obesity drug. Fen-phen consisted of two drugs, fenfluramine and phentermine. However, because Fen-phen caused heart related problems in some users, in 1997 the FDA requested that fenfluramine be taken off the market by its maker, American Home Products. So, Fen-phen was essentially removed from the market.

And Meridia, another obesity drug which is manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, can cause side effects such as headaches, high blood pressure and constipation. And the consumer advocacy organization, Public Citizen, asked the FDA to have Meridia taken off the market.

Although in 2007, the FDA approved the GlaxoSmithKline obesity drug Alli, the over-the-counter form of Orlistat, the drug can reportedly cause side effects, including frequent stools and gas.

Therefore, obesity drugs have had their problems. So a dietary fiber that can be added to food could be an important weight loss tool. And research may show that the fiber has fewer side effects than Alli or other obesity drugs.

We believe this fiber should be monitored by those in the weight loss industry. Indeed, we believe that medical weight loss service providers should pay close attention to research associated with this fiber. A safe, effective, food additive could offer medical weight loss service providers an important weapon in the weight loss and weight management fight.

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